The history of World Travel Market...
The World Travel Market story begins in 1980 when World Travel Market London was launched. The show took place at Olympia London and was opened by the Duke of Kent and Miss World, Kimberly Santos of Guam. The show was attended by 350 exhibitors and 7,753 trade visitors.
In 1992 the show moved to Earls Court and the Meridian club was launched. This was an exclusive club for the industry’s senior travel buyers, designed to aid negotiations with exhibitors, Meridian Club launched with almost 7,000 members. In 2013, WTM Meridian Club changed its name to WTM Buyers’ Club.
In 2002, WTM London moved from Earls Court to ExCeL London. Visitors were welcomed by the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. The opening was performed by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan. The world-famous Irish dance group Riverdance provided the entertainment, underlining ExCeL’s dockside location by the River Thames.
In 2010, the first WTM Speed Networking session was introduced, matching buyers and exhibitors for quick business meetings on the first day of the event.
In 2016, WTM London revamped as a three day event following exhibitor and visitor feedback and an unprecedented period of growth.
Arabian Travel Market first opened its doors in 1994 at the Dubai World Trade Centre with 52 nations, 300 exhibitors and 7,000 trade visitors. In 1995, ATM moved to Bahrain International Exhibition Centre - this was the only time the show was staged outside Dubai.
In 2002, the hosted Meridian Club (now known as ATM Buyers Club) was launched, an exclusive club for senior travel buyers.
In 2003, ATM celebrated the 10th anniversary edition of show with 783 exhibitors and 12,111 visitors. A total of 695 journalists covered the show along with 982 VIP guests arriving onsite.
In 2005 the New Frontiers Award was launched to recognise efforts made to rebuild tourism in destinations that have faced a natural disaster. In 2007, ATM featured a host of initiatives, including an expanded seminar programme, an upgraded media centre and a new dedicated area for travel technology. The launch of the ATM and UNWTO Industry Forum took place in 2012.
ATM now facilitates $2.4 billion in industry deals and attracts 2,800 exhibitors from 86 countries and over 26,000 influential visitors.
The International Golf Market joined the World Travel Market portfolio in 1998 and is the only annual business-to-business event dedicated to the global golf tourism market. The event is organised together with IGTM’s event partner IAGTO, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators. Over 600 golf tourism suppliers join 350 pre-qualified buyers and 100 international Press for four days of pre-scheduled appointments, networking opportunities and industry updates.
In 2012, WTM Latin America was launched at the Transamerica Expo Centre in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It's a three day business-to-business event which brings the world to Latin America. The show now attracts over 6,500 influential visitors and 700 exhibiting companies during the three day event.
Then in 2014 WTM Africa was established as part of Africa Travel Week. The three day event is held in Cape Town’s International Convention Centre (CTICC) and it is the only inbound & outbound B2B Travel show on the African Continent.
More recently in 2016, WTM Connect Asia was launched at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang, Malaysia. Staged annually in South East Asia, its unique 1-2-1 format brings together 120 suppliers of SE Asia and international travel product to meet with 130 South East Asian and international buyers.