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Published on Friday, July 10, 2020

WTM attempts to address exhibitor fears

World Travel Market organisers say they will be confirming their final terms and conditions for this year's show in the coming weeks after concerns were raised by potential exhibitors.

Demands are now being made for final balances for the November event, but some travel companies and tourism organisations say they are worried they will be left out of pocket if WTM doesn't go ahead, with the current contract terms not guaranteeing refunds.

When contacted by TravelMole, a WTM spokeswoman said: "We fully understand that companies are facing challenging times due to the current crisis and are looking for a more flexible contract with their booking conditions. Therefore, our sales teams are always in contact with our exhibitors, answering any questions and sharing any essential updates from WTM.

"We appreciate that companies and destinations attending WTM this year are finding planning more complicated than usual, and we are working with the industry and with individual companies to make it is as easy as possible.

"This includes offering some flexibility around deadlines and T&Cs as well as assisting with everything from stand build to catering more than in prior years. Again, we are still working on it and will be confirming our final T&Cs in the coming weeks as we depend on external decisions as well."

Organisers say social distancing measures will be in place

TravelMole has learned that some exhibitors, particularly from the US, have already pulled out of the show this year.

When asked if this makes the show still viable, the WTM spokeswoman said although the US is a 'pivotal' exhibitor, it was only one of 182 countries represented.

She said a survey in May, carried out by Sentiment Research, showed travel professionals are very keen to attend WTM London at ExCel this year.

She said 76% of those interviewed said that meeting face to face is equally, if not more important than before.

"Those taking part in the physical event will also have the opportunity to take part in the virtual element, which means the exposure, brand awareness and opportunity to meet buyers will be equivalent if not higher than to previous editions," she said.

"We're also aware that travel bans can impact the presence of some exhibitors/visitors at WTM. Therefore the virtual show taking place on the following week after WTM London will be a valuable platform for the industry to carry on with the conversation."

Organisers say social distancing measures will be in place, with WTM and ExCeL both committing to following Public Health England directives and government guidelines.

More details will be revealed at an online press conference on July 29.

The event is due to be held on November 2-4 at London ExCel, which was transformed into a temporary Covid-19 hospital earlier this year.


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  • Holding WTM 2020 - just crazy

    With the global situation as it is currently it is sheer stupidity to hold WTM 2020. We read that international travel will be very curtailed in 2021 - so why the need for WTM 2020. We have phones and internet to use instead. Also if anyone does attend WTM are they going to be able to get back into their home country after visiting London ??? Everyone's health is far more important than WTM 2020.

    By Ken COULTER, Tuesday, July 21, 2020

  • Exhibitions and social distancing - a contradiction

    Exhibitions and social distancing are a contradiction. A WTM London in November 2020 can therefore only be a failure. The idea of bringing tens of thousands of exhibitors and visitors from all over the world together in a limited space from a few exhibition halls is irresponsible - these prerequisites are a guarantee for countless virus transmissions. By the way: 1.Covid-19 will not have disappeared from the world in November 2020 either. 2. Nobody knows whether there are sufficient flight connections to bring the hoped exhibitors and visitors to London. 3. Nobody knows whether the current travel restrictions still exist or have been lifted by November. A lifting is hardly to be expected given the extremely high number of infections in many parts of the world. - The organizers of the WTM should set up a preliminary exhibition - that will be the future anyway.

    By Helmut Mochel, Saturday, July 11, 2020

  • No refund for WTM2020 in SA

    People are correct in being concerned, as in South Africa we have still not been refunded for WTM2020 by the organisers, and we will think twice before committing so easily again to their payment terms.

    By Edna Fick, Saturday, July 11, 2020

  • Social distancing!!

    Of my experience of WTM, social distancing would be an impossible ask, unless the size of the event was seriously reduced and attendance numbers were also reduced by at least 50%, even then a tough ask.

    By Keith Standen, Friday, July 10, 2020

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