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The Ultimate Guide to WTM London

Imagine going to work one day to find out you aren’t allowed to do your job anymore. That is what happened to thousands of businesses when the coronavirus outbreak swept the globe.

Furloughed employees have been left unsure about the future of their careers. Some companies haven’t taken any revenue for months. Although we are seeing places gradually reopen, other industries remain very much in the dark.

We are talking about the travel, tourism, and events industries. The first to close their doors as our governments frantically battled to protect a population. And the last to reopen, still without any clarity as to when that will happen. It looks like without a vaccine or a huge drop in the number of global cases it is going to be a long time before it is ‘business as usual for us.

This year, all the live shows of WTM London are canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it will be fully virtual. The virtual events date: Monday 9 to Wednesday 11 November 2020.

Click here to Register now for World Travel Market London to be conducted from 6th  November to 8th November 2023.

Guide To WTM London

Quadrant2Design supplies custom modular exhibition stands to businesses with busy trade show calendars. Finally, we have a restart date for business events. However, a lack of consumer confidence in live event marketing is still affecting business.

Businesses operating in the travel and tourism industry are in the same boat. Travel restrictions and air bridges dominate media headlines and people are reluctant to book 2020 holidays for fear that the government will do a U-turn.

With that being said, our businesses are beginning to reopen. People are inquiring about events and contacting suppliers. They’re booking holidays and taking advantage of the deals that travel providers are offering. The relaxed social distancing measures came with a warm welcome. Those of us teetering on the edge have a chance. Unfortunately, for many others, the situation and lack of clarity mean it is too late.

Social Distancing

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the show will be fully virtual in 2020. Presently, it is decided that WTM London and Travel Forward will be virtual in November 2020. Reed Exhibitions, who organize the event, insist that the virtual show will take place from 9th  November to 11th November 2020.

Industry experts agree that WTM London is the leading global event for the travel industry. Go through this ultimate guide to WTM London 2020 to learn more. Thousands of delegates attend every year, with the hope of doing business, building relationships, and closing deals. This year the World Travel Market will be a lifeline for many businesses operating in the travel and tourism market.

The event organizers were adamant that WTM London would go ahead, despite the lack of government advice. When travel, tourism, and events were up in the air, they continued planning the event. Of course, this resistance paid off. A few weeks ago Boris Johnson announced a restart date for business events.

Not only that but Reed Exhibitions has promised that WTM London will offer as much value as it has done for 40 years. To do this they have launched a virtual event, WTM Virtual, to run alongside the physical show. WTM Virtual is due to take place on 10th – 11th November.

Already, over 200 countries have confirmed their attendance. WTM London will be the event that the travel industry needs it to be. Between the physical and the virtual event, it is set to be one of the biggest and most successful World Travel Markets to date.

The Culture Impact

World Travel Market London
World Travel Market London 2019, ExCeL London – Party on the Brazil Stand at WTM

 Image Source: WTM Media Library

In 1980, Kimberly Santos of Guam won the Miss World title. Little did she know at the time that she would be opening the most important event of the year for those in the travel industry. Miss World and the Duke of Kent opened WTM London in 1980 to 350 exhibitors and 7,753 visitors. It was held at Olympia.

Over the years, WTM London has invited many influential characters to open the event. Princess Alexandra faced a near right when she opened the second WTM London in 1981. There had been a problem with a promotion in the Sun newspaper and visitors swamped the event.

Since then, the event has attracted the likes of Princess Diana, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, and Princess Anne. Boris Johnson marked his 30th birthday by opening the event.

Moving Houses

World Travel Market London 2019
World Travel Market London 2019

It has been 40 years since the first WTM London opened at Olympia. During that time the event had made a significant impact across London. Olympia is rich in history, featuring outstanding domed ceilings and the venue of choice for P.T Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth in 1880. However, as WTM London grew it was time to find a bigger venue.

In 1992 the show moved to Earls Court which had twice the capacity of Olympia at 20,000. Again, it wasn’t long until they needed more space. On WTM London’s 21st birthday, ExCel London opened its doors. With enough space for 68,750 people, the organizers knew that they had found their forever home.

WTM London has been held at ExCel London since 2002 and continues to grow. In 2018, the three-day event welcomed 93,000 visitors and 750 exhibitors. Tourism ministers from 120 countries across the world traveled to London to attend the event.

It is clear to see that the World Travel Market is no ordinary trade show. It has become part of London.

The Ultimate Guide To WTM LONDON 2020

ExCeL London
World Travel Market 2015, ExCeL, London – General view, ExCeL entrance area

WTM London 2020 is going ahead as a physical event at ExCel London on the 2nd and 4th of November. This year it will be companied by a virtual event that will take place on 10th 11th November. Travel restrictions make it difficult to attend international events, but the World Travel Market takes place on four different continents each year. You don’t have to be at WTM London to get the full experience, you could visit:

  • WTM Dubai
  • WTM Sao Paulo
  • WTM Cape Town

WTM London is a meeting hub for the global travel industry however this year it promises to be more than that. Sustainability and responsible tourism have been key themes in the past. This year, WTM London will focus on helping recover and rebuild the travel industry.

This year, WTM London will be compromised of networking events, cultural showcases, seminars, and inspiration zones. Visitors and exhibitors will have the opportunity to see industry innovations and support each other.

WTM Virtual ensures that the event remains the best event for the travel industry. Despite reduced visitor numbers at the live show, particularly from the USA where the number of cases is still high, organizing a hybrid event means that every country can attend.

Travel restrictions and health and safety precautions make it impractical to encourage the same level of attendance as WTM London recorded in 2008. But spreading visitors across 4 physical events and an online event means that everyone can be there.

Guide To WTM London

The show must go on so they say. As we have seen over the past six months, it is possible to host relevant and informative industry events entirely online but we miss events! Particularly in the travel, tourism, and events industry. We are great communicators and bounce off other people. That’s why it’s so important to make a WTM London hybrid.

WTM Virtual will feature all of the sessions from the live event as well as live conference sessions and roundtable debates. The aim is to help those who have struggled to tackle the issues within the industry. There will also be virtual speed networking and meeting platforms for all attendees. Nobody misses out.

What Not to Miss

The Ultimate Guide To WTM London 2020

The Ultimate Guide To WTM London 2020_Jamaica Exhibition Stand

If you are planning to attend, register your interest early. Many of the seminars and sessions that WTM London holds will fill up quickly because capacity has been reduced to accommodate social distancing.

Here are three things that you don’t want to miss if you are visiting WTM London 2020:

Tourism Investment Summit 

The theme of WTM London 2020 is to recover, rebuild, and innovate. As we all know, the travel and tourism industry has been one of the worst affected by the pandemic. The event organizers have teamed up with the International Tourism & Investment Summit to deliver the Tourism Investment Summit to support businesses as we awaken from the pandemic.

200 Countries already confirmed

According to the organizers, more than 200 countries have already confirmed their attendance between WTM London and WTM Virtual. This shows that the public hasn’t lost faith and is ready to fight back together. As promised, attendees and exhibitors will get just as much value as they’d expect from the World Travel Market.

Speed Networking

Trade shows are the best places to network and meet other important people in your industry. Whilst following social distancing guidelines, the organizers have been able to bring back these sessions to give you more opportunities to meet prospects, build relationships, and close deals. The speed networking sessions will take place at ExCel during the physical event as well as online during WTM Virtual.

And finally, a thank you…

WTM London 2020


There is a second industry that has a lot to thank WTM London for. That industry is the events industry.

Since the lockdown was imposed back in March, the travel and tourism industry has been significantly impacted. So has the events industry and the 700,000 full-time staff employed by venues, event organizers, and suppliers. As one of the first industries to close, the events industry will be the last to reopen.

Despite having an open date, we are still seeing large events canceled or postponed because public confidence isn’t there. People don’t want to invest in trade show marketing in case nobody turns up.

WTM London is going to change that. They insist that the leading global event will go ahead alongside a virtual show aiming to increase visitor numbers and add value for exhibitors. Once this show has taken place and the thousands of visitors from across the world see that it is possible to run a successful and safe event public confidence will be restored.

So a huge thank you from our industry to yours.


How do I get to WTM London?

WTM London is taking place at ExCel London which is located on the Royal Victoria Dock. Its central location means that you can travel to the venue by train, plane, bus or car. The nearest train stations are Custom House and Prince Regent. London City Airport is just five minutes away. And there are over 3,000 parking spaces within a five-minute walk of the venue.

Where is the World Travel Market held?

The World Travel Market has become so popular that each year they now hold four events. This includes WTM London (held at ExCel), Arabian Travel Market (held at Dubai World Trade Centre), WTM Latin America (held at Expo Centre Norte), and WTM Africa (held at Convention Square). The largest World Travel Market is WTM London which attracts over 93,000 visitors a year.

What time does ExCeL London open?  

WTM London takes place at ExCel London between the 2nd of November and the 4th of November. Doors will open to visitors at 10 am on Monday.

Does ExCeL London have parking?

ExCel London has over 3,000 car parking spaces within a five-minute walk. You can also travel by train if you don’t want to take your car through London. To park your car at the venue for the full day will cost you £20.

Does ExCeL London have a cloakroom?  

Yes, ExCel London does have a cloakroom. However, due to the ongoing epidemic and social distancing policies, the venue has decided to close its cloakroom for the foreseeable future.

Natalka Antoniuk

Natalka Antoniuk

Author Bio: Natalka Antoniuk is an exhibition blogger for Quadrant2Design who uses her industry expertise to teach business owners the benefits of the trade show floor. She has developed a unique insight into the world of exhibiting, having spent time working alongside exhibitors, event organizers, and exhibition stand contractors.

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