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Published on Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Brand USA plans to permanently abandon WTM and ITB

Brand USA has confirmed that it is 'likely' to permanently pull out of World Travel Market in London and ITB in Berlin.

Speaking during Travel Week Europe, a US travel trade show taking place online for the first time from 26 to 29 October, Tom Garzilli of Brand USA said other destinations were likely be rethinking their attendance at WTM and ITB too.

Brand USA, a public-private partnership, had already planned to reduce its presence at both WTM 2020 and ITB 2021 prior to Covid-19 but Tom said the pandemic had 'speeded up change'.

"Big global trade shows like WTM and ITB for US tourism are just not as efficient and not as necessary," said Tom, Brand USA chief marketing officer. "A lot of money gets spent on those things that we would like to see spent in the market, with tour operators, with consumers, driving business."

The company launched Travel Week Europe, the business-to-business event in London last year and, after this year's virtual event, which has attracted 115 US exhibitors and 150 buyers from across Europe, it plans to stage it in continental Europe in 2021.

Tom said Brand USA will 'likely not be going to be at WTM and ITB moving forward'. Many other destinations will also be rethinking their presence at the trade shows, he said.

On the other hand, he said IPW, a long-established US trade show, was vital to Brand USA. He said it was 'the single most important event that we do'.

"It is the only time that the world comes to the USA," he added.

IPW will move to September next year. "We are looking forward to that and the timing will hopefully be right to get the world back together again," added Tom.

WTM will take place virtually this year, from 9 to 11 November.

A spokesperson for WTM London said: "WTM London has been running for 40 years, and since the launch of WTM Global Hub back in March 2020, our database has seen a massive increase in new users and subscribers.

"The USA will be showcasing its destination via the USA Pavilions with other important main stand holders such as Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, Visit Orlando and NYC & Company.

"The CEO of Visit USA (UK) is also joining the USA Pavilion as an attendee on WTM Virtual.. along with the main representative from US Commercial Services.

"We have many USA companies using the WTM Virtual to promote their events, plans and marketing strategy.

"USA exhibitors are also taking advantage of the national and international media confirmed to the virtual show including consumer media such as BBC, CNN, The Telegraph, etc.

"Many USA exhibitors have signed up and are bringing many others companies with them, to add value to the shared experience.

"The USA Pavilions organised by WTM in conjunction with B-FOR have brought even more partners and only last week, we had over 4,500 buyers registered and interest in the USA is high with over 30% citing interest in North America."

Watch TravelMole's full interview with Tom Garzilli here.


By Linsey McNeill, Editor (UK)

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  • Virtual WTM 2020

    If Brand USA feel they don"t see a return on their investment as a participant at WTM then their decision is justified. However The quote from WTM about individual states participating is accurate. I see Las Vegas, New York, Philadelphia listed & a few more are also listed in the USA pavilion.

    By Usha Rao, Monday, November 2, 2020

  • Not True

    I question the quote from WTM re both US Exhibitors and buyers. Clutching at straws it seems. No Las Vegas, Orlando or New York unless they are exhibiting under another name. US Pavilion has hardly any exhibitors. Buyers very hard to find.

    By , Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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