This autumn was full of "travelous" wisdom.
October ended with the unique TBEX Athens, during which I lived and shared unique moments. And in case you were wondering HOW MUCH could have happened during this conference, alongside the world’s amazing Travel Bloggers, and what a huge experience and opportunity this was for me, I’ve got all you need to know about my TBEXperience right here.
November, on the other hand, caught me traveling to London, for the World Travel Market 2014. This exhibition took place on November 3-6, at the huge conference center Excel.
Oops again! What is WTM?
WTM is a leading global event for the travel industry; a must-see exhibition for the travel industry professionals. The numbers are impressive (more than 50.000 industry professionals and more than 5.000 exhibitors from 186 different countries) and the experience even more impressive. The 2013 numbers had made it evident that the exhibition was a success, with 98% of the visitors stating complete satisfaction with WTM13 (and with a turnover of more than 2,5 million euro from deals).
If they ask me about WTM14, I will certainly cast my positive vote.
The exhibition started on Monday, November 3rd, but on the first day entrance was by invitation only. You know, those formalities that we dislike. I packed my suitcase, put on my boots and raincoat, grabbed my iPad, and with one click I found myself flying to London with Aegean Airlines. I arrived late at Hammersmith, at my beloved friend Lucy’s, who’s also a Travel Blogger (and whom I will be mentioning many times since she was an amazing companion), and I had an early night so that I could recharge my batteries.
(So don’t ask me about London’s Nightlife. That’s another post).
Early Tuesday morning, I punched my card, I printed my pass, I hung it around my neck, and that’s where my trip began.
In all honesty, this exhibition is one big trip around the world.
Each country had marked its territory and had set up a small theme park, with uniforms, colors, aromas, food, dancing, music, advice, and virtual tours. You chose Cuba, and started dancing. You chose Ecuador, and you tasted hot chocolate. You wanted Europe, so you hopped to Brussels for some beer. And there’s so much more. This is how my three days at WTM14 unfolded, with in-between breaks of knowledge at the Travel Blogging Sessions on the floors upstairs.
The Sri Lankan crew, ready for the show!
In Cuba, we dance Ruba!
Live Bollywood Show in India and I must say, it was simply amazing!
Incredible live performances of dance and music!
If you are following me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably witnessed throughout the week my social media buzz from WTM14. On Instagram, in particular, I’ve uploaded two small but amazing videos from the Indian Bollywood Show, on Tuesday afternoon, and the Caribbean Street Party on Wednesday afternoon. If you are not following me yet, know that they’re still there for you to see.
Have a look! In one corner you had India, in the other Thailand, somewhere in between Sri Lanka, on the other side Korea and China. Can you possibly imagine how incredible it was for each country to make you travel like that, through its music and its food, and how with one single step to the adjacent stand you could travel anew to different destinations?
This is, I think, one of the great successes of this exhibition: The opportunity for the visitor to travel to each country, through the unique presentations, and not simply by collecting brochures and emails from the stands (because there were countries with stands like that).
Follow me on this trip!
In Ecuador I ate delicious chocolates with pistachio and passion fruit and
I have also been told that the Orchids are their national flower (more than 4.000 different kinds)!
I have also tasted their fantastic hot chocolate. I couldn't leave without trying, that's for sure!
In Jordania I got this gift from an artist, who wrote Maryhop in gold and silver.
Check more info about this artist on my Instagram feed.
So, here we are with my girl Lucy and our Faraon-friend.
You guessed right, we are in Egypt!
I wandered around the Greek blue section (what else!) and tasted the delicious "dolma".
Food, wine and Opa!
View from the second floor. Isn't it amazing?
Anyone for the Fiji islands?
Simple as that!
Well, in Dubai they served us arabic coffee and in case you would me to describe the taste, I would say:
it looks like tea, it smells like flower, it tastes like coffee.
Sounds like a puzzle game, I know...
Even though I do not agree 100% with the bird attraction, still I am giving you a hint about Qatar here.
Plus, I think this man was a very intresting personality.
Plus, I love the Arabic countries.
I didn't ask for more info, I just ate the surprisingly tasteful Korean noodles they served me, I posed for a photo with this emperor and
my Korean wanderlust ended up in a perfect way!
Somewhere in the Caribbean section!
Hello Trinidad and Tobago!
Travel Bloggers and World Travel Market
Having lived the ultimate Travel Blogging experience at TBEX in Athens, last month, I must admit I had similar expectations from this event as well. But the reality was different. There were not as many travel bloggers (there were less than 100, I think) and the sole opportunity to meet with them was during the Blogging Sessions, since the exhibition was chaotic and it was hard to bump into one of “your own.” On the other hand, only a few exhibitors were interested in communicating with the bloggers; several didn’t even know how this whole thing works, anyway. I can understand that, since it's more a business-to-business event, but again I was a bit surprised.
Of course there was Speed Networking on Thursday morning, during which the exhibitors come in contact with the bloggers, but that’s about it. The rest were a tough issue, but to tell you the truth I enjoyed sitting at the desks of every country or section (even if they didn’t know what travel blogging meant). The Blogging Sessions, however, were so useful, that I would place them in the same category as those of TBEX. It’s as if I had gathered 85 questions in a box and I had them all answered.
It couldn’t have been more useful, I think.
Combined with those at TBEX, it feels as if I’ve been a full time student at the University. The advice and the case studies are so customized on a given travel blogger, that wisdom is plentiful, I’m telling you.
Session 2: Looking beyond travel blogging
Session 6: Turning experiences into succesfull experiments & the Social Travel Summit White.
And this is how I finished my trip to London.
Thanx to Lucy, I ate the most delicious Fish & Chips in my life.
Have you ever been to WTM?
Did you like it? Was it useful for your business?
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