News and Insights

World Travel Market – a look ahead

October 13, 2021

From 1st to 3rd November 2021 the WTM takes place in ExCel London as a live event and the week after from 8th to 9th as a virtual event.
With this event being one of the first physical ones in the industry, one can be curious how many participants will be on site.

What can be expected? The theme already gives a foretaste with three meaningful words: Reconnect. Rebuild. Innovate.

Reconnect: We have not been really disconnected over the last month in our sector, especially when we all faced the same challenges, had to deal with setbacks again and again. We bonded on a different level and experienced how important lasting connections and partnerships in the industry are. And with this event being one of the first physical ones, it´s even more important to reconnect. But of course, the acing truth is also that a lot has changed due to insolvencies, furlough, short-time work or employees leaving the sector. It goes without saying that reconnecting with the sector and all participating partners from the entire value chain is essential and, looking back, has brought lots of industry players through many difficult times.

Rebuild: According to the Oxford Languages dictionary the opposite of rebuild is demolish.
In the industry, we are kind of used to a state of uncertainty and unexpected course of events. That is what makes this industry so challenging and interesting at the same time. To always be prepared for whatever is to come, to depend on things and happenings that are outside of our influence but also to find solutions and innovations to drive change.

In the past, the industry had to prove its resilience often. But as some countries are in the process of slowly getting back to pre-crisis level, others are just opening their borders and are cautious. According to the Deutscher Reiseverband (engl. German Travel Association) the Netherlands, France and Austria reached a traffic volume in midsummer that corresponds to around 80 per cent of the travel volume in 2019, for example. It is challenging to reconcile the differing progress and related needs in this regard, but also a chance to learn from each other.

Innovate: We are now facing a lot of challenges and changes and we will continue to do so in the future. What is the best approach to move successfully with these changes? It is very positive during a pandemic and global crisis that affected the travel industry throughout, that the desire to travel remains. Looking into some regional stats from Germany at this point, a holiday is in second position in terms of consumption priority, the same as it was in 2017 and even higher than in 2015. That might not be very surprising, considering that we Germans were world traveler champion for many years… Now, of course, consumers are different in their booking behaviour, the way they search for information, their motivations and demands. Not only because younger generations and target groups are now pushing into the market, but also because of personal skills, technical developments and the economic situation. To meet all different types of demand, build a future-proof way and protect our world in a sustainable and responsible way while travelling it, innovation is an indispensable part.

Here are a few highlights of the WTM conference programme:

Monday, 1st November:

‘Building Back Better’ for Destination Resilience

Harold Goodwin, WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor

WTM Global Stage

17:00 – 17:30


Tuesday, 2nd November:

UNWTO, WTTC and WTM Ministers’ Summit 2021 – Investing in Tourism’s Sustainable Future

Zeinab Badawi, Presenter, BBC World News, David Lavorel, CEO, SITA AT AIRPORTS & BORDERS

WTM Global Stage

10:30 – 12:30


Wednesday, 3rd November:

East Meets West: Restarting Travel and the Lessons Learned Along the Way

Rajan Datar, Presenter, BBC’s The Travel Show, Liz Ortiguera, CEO, PATA, Alan Elliot Merschen, Partner, International Insights, Myriad

WTM Global Stage

10:30 – 11:15

May this be a successful event for everyone to build new and rebuild old connections and exchange with experts of the industry for a sustainable way to emerge from the pandemic. The WTM might also give a foreshadowing of future developments and live events.

POSTED BY: Luisa Schmidtke