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November 9, 2012

How to be Small Fry at the World Travel Market

Written by Kirsty Barnby

I entered the hustle and bustle of the WTM Excel Arena event shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of billion dollar companies such as: Virgin Travel, Emirates, Trip Advisor, Best Western and the like.

We were all bees to a honey pot and to say I felt like small fry was a slight understatement! But none-the-less, I held my head high in my bright island dress alongside all the other dark coloured, suited-and-booted and did my thing!

World Travel Market

The Fiji Tourism team strutting their stuff!

What did I (little me) get from the event? Well, a couple of major things:

  1. Responsible travel is big and is growing really fast. I could see that even those from a generation who don’t understand the business benefits are starting to feel the pressure. There was an entire day dedicated to responsible travel, WTM World Responsible Tourism Day which provided inspiration, hope and kick in the right direction. Well done to all those who won the Virgin Responsible Travel Awards, great work! It became very clear during this particular day that I am not the only one out there (believe me, sometimes I feel like that!) and that there are people who really do want to help.
  2. I also gained some valuable insights in the routes to European markets. It is a constant priority for me to build my databases and spread the word (with a teeny-tiny budget) so it’s challenging. Thanks to ECEAT Projects for taking the time out to give me some of their secrets. Here’s what they do:

ECEAT-Projects – your partner in sustainable tourism

ECEAT-Projects is an NGO that supports touristic development that contributes to:
– Nature protection
– Regional development
– Environmental protection
– Empowerment of the local population

– Plays a key role by filling in the missing link between project development (starting from idealistic motives) and the market. 
– Co-operates (has a network) with a large number of organizations.
– Helps and advices to solve the gap between small-scale rural tourism and the market.
– Helps local governments and NGO’s in marketing tourism destination management more sustainable.
– Functions as broker between organizations with idealistic motives/local products, consumers and tour operators.

World Travel Market

One of the ‘larger’ stands!

I’ll definitely be going next year. For those who haven’t been, my advice would be to plan each day before the event starts, know exactly where you are going and why, who you are seeing and what you are going to say. Otherwise you’ll find yourself being whiffed along in the river of global tourism!

Moce for now.