– Nigeria absent as South Africa, Rwanda, Gambia shine
The world’s largest and most prestigious travel and tourism gathering opened today in London with a media blitz at the sprawling ExCel Exhibition Centre.
More than 50,000 stakeholders, a hundred countries and many other travel and tour companies, in addition to thousands of industry media organisations, are participating in this annual November fanfare of talks, exhibitions, networking, parties and business dealings around the multi-billion dollar global travel, tourism and hospitality sector.
It is the 40th edition of this event which for the first time is incorporating the London Travel Week.
But Nigeria is missing from this important fair that draws attention to each country’s tourism and culture assets.
At a gathering where South Africa, Rwanda, Egypt and Uganda, among a few others, are flying Africa’s flag, Nigeria’s absence is a telling reality about the huge work that is still required in promoting the country as a destination and a major player in tourism.
There are hush tones at home that Nigeria’s absence might not be unconnected with an alleged outstanding that is still owed the WTM from previous participation. This could not be confirmed though but TCN recalls that the leadership of both the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and Lagos State Tourism Ministry attended the 2017 edition but without a booth.
South Africa and Gambia have beautiful stands at the fair this year. Rwanda is throwing a major industry reception tomorrow while Uganda is promoting its ‘pearl of Africa’ appellation through Pega Tours, which is also marketing tourism assets from Kenya and Tanzania at the fair.
However, for Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director at the fair, “WTM London is the must-attend event where ideas are inspired and contacts are made, with more than 51,000 senior travel professionals expected to visit over the three days, including 9,000 buyers, 5,000 exhibitors and 3,000 media.”
This November is a landmark, he tells TCN, as the event celebrates 40 years of connecting travel professionals around the world. He is confident that this 2019 edition will be the event’s biggest year yet, predicting it will “beat last year’s huge £3.4billion generated from industry deals.”
The opening ribbon cutting took place at 9am at the West Entrance of the exhibition centre followed by an amazing display from Tourism Sri Lanka.