World Travel Market

And now for something completely different. Along with my fine colleagues from the USAID Serbia Competitiveness Project, I’m attending World Travel Market in London. According to the blurb, “World Travel Market is a must-attend four-day business-to-business event where the global travel trade meets, networks, negotiates and conducts business under one roof.” Last year, 187 countries & regions were represented, 5121 companies exhibited, and 14221 trade professionals participated.

We’re here to work on a City of Belgrade City Breaks program, that we’re producing in co-operation with the Tourism Organisation Belgrade, on the bright-and-white Serbia stand. Our goal here is to have direct face-to-face access to top European tourism professionals, be exposed to the latest developments in the travel industry (which will influence our activities in Serbia), build relationships with potential business partners to develop City Breaks Tourism in Serbia, and position Serbia for competitive advantage within the tourism sector. So there.

So far, we’ve met with Destination Management Companies, Group Travel Organisers, Tour Operators and Travel Agencies. Interesting though; there’s not a great deal of product differentiation in the European market. Whether that’s because they’re all basically selling the same product, or because that’s how the market likes to receive its information, is something I hope to discover over the next couple of days.