Welcome to Yorkshire Attends World Travel Market 2021

04.11.2021

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Welcome to Yorkshire Attends World Travel Market 2021

The World Travel Market London (WTM London) is the leading global event for the travel industry to meet industry professionals and conduct business deals. Through its industry networks, unrivalled global reach, WTM London creates personal and business opportunities, providing customers with quality contacts, content and communities.

Thousands of travel industry professionals from more than 140 countries visited WTM London this week making it the largest industry gathering since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Exhibitors from more than 100 countries signed in, while representatives from more than 141 countries and regions have signed up to WTM London’s Buyers’ Club. This gives a clear indication as to how many countries see the UK as an important source market in their recovery roadmap – and that WTM London is perfectly timed for 2022 inventory.

Welcome to Yorkshire sent two representatives to attend this year’s event, Carolyn Nicoll Head of Communications, Editor of ‘This Is Y’ and Talkshire Podcast, and Liz Smailes, Area Manager.

Visiting the event for the first time, Carolyn said, “It was great to attend WTM London, the leading global event for travel. Seeing international exhibitors, as well as listening to inspiring talks from industry experts was particularly interesting after such a restrictive time for the sector during the coronavirus crisis.

"Yorkshire’s tourism was worth a staggering £9bn to the county’s economy pre-pandemic and employed almost 225,000 people. Its impressive offering of breathtaking countryside, spectacular coastline, vibrant cities, amazing attractions, astounding arts and heritage, wonderful wildlife, as well as fabulous food, drink and so much more means Yorkshire holds its own as a destination on the world stage. Often described as a country within a county it attracts visitors from far and wide.”

The continuing relaxation of travel rules in the UK and overseas in recent weeks prompted a surge in exhibitor bookings and buyer registrations because travel to England is now easier. Reflecting on this year’s event, Liz Smailes said, “Speaking with operators, destinations and hotel sales teams highlighted some key challenges and trends for the tourism industry recovery. Panel discussions elaborated that after 18 months of no travel, customers are looking for upgrades to rooms, willing to pay more for itineraries and booking trips for longer.

“There is strong momentum in the market, especially in Europe which is opening up faster than other areas such as Asia. Pent up demand is driving momentum and suppliers are coming to the table with strong offers in response. Bookings are expected to be 60-80% of 2019 levels by the end of 2021 and 90% by summer 2022.

“Industry transparency and customer flexibility are here to stay and investment in digital technology over the next few years is essential to manage bookings efficiently and cost-effectively.”

Investment was the theme of the annual UNWTO, WTTC and WTM Ministers’ Summit (November 2nd) which provides a practical platform for tourism leaders of the public and private sectors to share best practices and explore investment opportunities.

UK tourism minister, Nigel Huddleston, said: “It’s been a challenging period for the travel and tourism sectors, but the huge international attendance at the World Travel Market is testament to the resilience and hard work of those in the industry.

“This landmark event in the travel sector calendar is once again offering brilliant opportunities to reconnect, innovate and build back better for the future.

World Travel Market press office released a number of survey results and announcements during the event, indicating that travel industry professionals are almost equally split over whether only the wealthy will be able to afford holidays in the future.

Some 1,000 professionals from around the globe were asked about the impact of the widely anticipated price increases as a result of the pandemic on the overall market.

Just over half (51%) were concerned that travel will become the preserve of the rich, with 49% disagreeing.

The WTM Industry report also asked about the scale of the increases, with the net result confirming that prices are set to go up in 2022.

More than one-in-three (35%) of the sample said prices were likely to go up by between 1% and 20% compared with the current year.

However, intense cost pressures and the need to recover revenues lost during the pandemic mean that more than one-in-ten (12%) are expecting to put up prices by more than 20%.

On the other hand, some are anticipating prices to drop with 15% predicting a modest drop of between 1% and 20%, while 9% said their company’s prices would fall significantly, by more than 20%.

Around one-fifth (22%) expect prices to be the same. UK consumers are also aware that the twin impact of COVID19 and Brexit on prices has the potential to impact the affordability of travel, with 70% admitting this is a concern for the future.

Simon Press, WTM London, Exhibition Director, said, “In the UK, the total cost of overseas travel for summer was skewed by having to pay for testing, while the demand for staycations led to supply shortages and price hikes. These specific pressures may or may not still be applicable for next year, but the results from the industry are unequivocal – prices will rise in 2022.

“Many sectors in travel were moving their consumer messaging towards ‘value’ rather than ‘cost’. The challenge for the industry is to ensure that they can provide a product and experience which justifies the price increases to the traveller and which retains their margins, but without pricing themselves out of the market.

The WTM London 2021 took place earlier this week from 1-3 November at ExCeL. For press releases, reports and surveys issued by WTM visit: https://hub.wtm.com/category/press/wtm-london-press-releases/

 

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