WTM London and its co-located travel and hospitality technology event, Travel Forward, will be hosted virtually this year.

The 2020 live shows had been set to take place at ExCeL London from 2-4 November 2020, but ongoing travel restrictions, quarantine requirements and lockdowns across Europe have necessitated that both events be held online without a live component.

“We have worked tirelessly to organise a physical show, but the increasing number of travel restrictions and the uncertainty around the world means it will be impractical for many overseas visitors to attend in person.”

WTM London’s Senior Director, Simon Press, said, “Sadly, this year will be the first time since we launched WTM London in 1980 that there will be no live event. We have worked tirelessly to organise a physical show, but the increasing number of travel restrictions and the uncertainty around the world means it will be impractical for many overseas visitors to attend in person. Additionally, there remains uncertainty around business events and conferences being allowed to take place in the UK. The official deadline for this decision being the 1st October.”

He continued, “However, thousands of travel trade professionals from around the globe will still be able to meet and do business in an extensive range of virtual sessions, to help the industry recover, rebuild and innovate.”

WTM Virtual will take place from 9-11 November, with conference sessions and roundtables, virtual theatres to host webinars and debates, speed networking, one-to-one virtual meetings, as well as an investment summit in partnership with International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC) and a new Marketing Forum and masterclass workshop in partnership with The Five Percent.

The virtual version of Travel Forward will combine a virtual exhibition, free virtual conference sessions and speed networking for start-ups to meet investors.

With the theme “Resilience, Innovation, Response”, Travel Forward Virtual will add a technology-based approach in supporting the recovery of the travel and tourism industry.

“This year, running Travel Forward virtually will allow us to connect even more with global travel tech companies wanting to promote themselves to the world.”

Richard Gayle, Event Manager for Travel Forward, said, “Travel Forward is the event that embraces fresh concepts and innovative projects to inspire delegates. This year, running Travel Forward virtually will allow us to connect even more with global travel tech companies wanting to promote themselves to the world. We are confident Travel Forward Virtual will offer delegates all the support and ideas about how the industry recovery and more solutions to overcome the biggest challenges facing the travel industry.”

London Travel Week will also run virtually in the week leading up to WTM Virtual (30 October-5 November), giving attendees a chance to learn (with summits on Wellness, BAME Tourism, LGBT Tourism as well as Destination Briefings and Press Conferences), network (during six speed networking sessions), and celebrate the achievements of those in the sector through the World Travel Leaders’ Awards and the Responsible Tourism Awards (both of which will also be held virtually).

“2020 has been a challenging year, but we pledge to do everything we can for the travel industry in 2021 and bring you the best live version of WTM London from the last 40 years.”

Simon Press concluded, “We made the decision to transition to a virtual-only event after a great deal of consultation with our industry partners, sponsors, delegates and staff. We know this will be a disappointment to all those who were planning to attend the live show. However, our main objective has always been to deliver a global show bringing travel professionals from the seven continents, and we are now channelling our energies into the creation of an outstanding, large-scale digital gathering that will enable the travel industry to connect, to network, do business and learn about this new consumer environment.

“2020 has been a challenging year, but we pledge to do everything we can for the travel industry in 2021 and bring you the best live version of WTM London from the last 40 years.”

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