After 40 years of being held in London, the 41st World Travel Market stepped into the virtual world, bringing the international travel event to the doorsteps of tourism players, with the Seychelles Islands making an appearance from Monday, November 9, 2020, to Wednesday, November 11, 2020.
The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and several industry partners including Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA), Mason’s Travel, 7° South, Creole Travel Services, and Hilton Seychelles, represented Seychelles.
The STB Team consisted of Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis; Regional Director for Europe Mrs. Bernadette Willemin; Marketing Directors Mrs. Lena Hoareau for Russia, CIS & Eastern Europe, Ms. Karen Confait for UK & Ireland, Scandinavia and Ms. Judeline Edmond for Switzerland. SHTA representatives included Mrs. Sybille Cardon, Mr. Ash Behari and Mr. Eddie D’Offay.
The Destination Management Companies teams included Mason’s Travel represented by Sales Manager, Ms. Amy Michel; Senior Sales Executive, Sheila Banane and UK Representative, Ian Griffiths. 7° South represented by Managing Director, Mrs. Anna Butler Payette; General Manager, Mr. Andre Butler Payette and Director Marketing & Products, Ms. Corinne Delpech; and finally Creole Travel Services represented by General Manager, Mr. Eric Renard; Junior Sales and Marketing Manager, Ms. Melissa Quatre and UK Representative, Mrs. Dendy Walwyn.
On the accommodation side, Hilton Seychelles was present and represented by Cluster Commercial Director, Mr Anthony Smith; Cluster Director of Sales, Mrs. Thabang Rapotu and Cluster Sales Manager, Ms. Serena Di Fiore.
Speaking about the importance of Seychelles participation at WTM Virtual, Mrs. Sherin Francis emphasized on the importance of consistency in the marketing tactics.
“Tourism marketing is a continuous business. You cannot take a pause and hope to pick up several months after. The day Seychelles disappear from the scene, another destination is quick to replace you. Therefore, it is very important that even though people are not travelling that we keep the destination visible and we remain in communication with our existing partners and within reach of new potential partners. The virtual WTM has been ideal in that sense,” said the STB Chief Executive.
Over the three days, the Seychelles delegation attended live conference sessions and forums tackling some of the major issues the industry currently faces, as well as speed networking sessions, one-to-one meetings, and virtual networking opportunities.
The agenda for this year’s WTM centered around restoring and developing business connections, growing one’s network, one’s brand and learning how to make one’s comeback. The event made recognition of the travel industry’s critical state intending to aid the recovery, rebuilding and shaping of it.
Speaking about the global event, Mrs. Willemin said, “It is important that we keep the global travel conversation alive. The delegation used this platform to tap into a wide range of online business opportunities. STB participants alone attended to over 150 meetings with professionals from different parts of the world, from Generalist Tour Operators to Island Specialists, Special interests specialized operators, Travel Designers to name some and members from the press and the media. In this new virtual space, one could also capture news, discover the latest trends, and hear the opinion from the industry’s leading executives.”
Mrs. Willemin further emphasized how the event was an opportunity to address the impact the global health pandemic has had on the travel and tourism, brief the partners on the different sanitary measures in place in the country to safely accommodate the visitors and discuss recovery plans, identify the trends and innovation shaping the future of the industry.
Despite moving to the virtual stage, the event was as successful as it had been in the previous years, attracting a large crowd of exhibitors from all corners of the world as well as international journalists seizing the chance to keep up with travel industry news and network.
WTM London has been shaping the future of travel by facilitating the connection of people within the travel industry, bringing their global experience to local markets.
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