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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


The hosted Meridian Club (now known as ATM Buyers Club) was launched, an exclusive club for senior travel buyers.


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.


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 first WTM Speed Networking session was introduced, matching buyers and exhibitors for quick business meetings on the first day of the event.


WTM Latin America was launched at the Transamerica Expo Centre in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It's a three-day B2B event which brings the world to Latin America. The show now attracts over 6,500 influential visitors and 700 exhibiting companies.


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.


WTM London revamped as a three-day event following exhibitor and visitor feedback and an unprecedented period of growth.


WTM launched Travel Forward, the most exciting tech event in travel, as a platform to inspire the travel and hospitality industry with the next generation of technology.


Also launched in March 2018, WTM Insights is a brand news quarterly magazine to connect and inform the WTM community year-round. This new print and digital publication, in collaboration with TTG, is packed with essential reading for the global travel industry including trends, data and analysis, interviews with industry leaders and destination news. 


BorderlessLive was launched in 2019. It’s the number one event for digital content creators, influencers and industry professionals who are at the forefront of industry trends, as well as those just starting out. Full of featured guests, conferences, brands and networking opportunities, it’s an innovative way to delve into the world of digital content and influencing.

What is World Travel Market

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