Filmmaker and adventurer Levison Wood says more people want to feel their travels will give them a “spiritual, emotional connection”.
“They want to feel good about what their journey has achieved; it is about giving back,” he told delegates at WTM London.
Wood has visited 120 countries over the past two decades and told delegates about his many adventures, from meeting the Dalai Lama in India to tracking elephants in Botswana.
He talked about going off the beaten track in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan, and how he is now highlighting the need to protect wildlife in destinations that he visits.
His work has featured on C4, Animal Planet, Discovery, CNBC and National Geographic and he is known for epic walks – along the Nile, the Himalayas and in South America.
“When I go on these extended walks, I find that when you put yourself in the same vulnerabilities as the communities you meet, you’ll see less as a tourist and more as a fellow human being,” he said.
“Humans are all explorers; it is deep in our DNA. Everyone here has an explorer’s mindset.”
He told the audience how he wants to “shine the spotlight on places that may need more attention”, where tourism can be an important bridge between communities.
Wood also recalled how he set up an adventure operator in 2010 called Secret Compass, which opened up tourism in Iraqi Kurdistan and now offers trips to other off-the-beaten-track destinations.
“I entered travel with no experience or background,” the former soldier said.
“It was a sense of optimism that there is a desire to look beyond the headlines and go to places that people would shy away from.
“We sold out immediately: people wanted a sense of adventure.
“Experiential and meaningful – that is the future of travel.”
He added: “The travel industry plays such a huge part in bridging communities.
“We are all ambassadors; we have a duty to show what the world can be like.”
Photography from WTM shows is available to download via the following link: https://wtm.mediafiler.net/wtm/start/index
World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents. The events are:
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. Senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating travel industry contracts.
Next live event: Monday 7 to 9 November 2022 at ExCel London and 6-8 November 2023 at ExCel London. http://london.wtm.com/
Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 30th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2022 attracted over 23,000 visitors and hosted over 30,000 participants including 1,500 exhibitors and attendees from 150 countries, across 10 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai
Next in-person event: Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May 2023, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai
Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2023. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, ITIC, GBTA Business Travel Forums, as well as ATM Travel Tech. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country forums.
WTM Latin America takes place annually in the city of São Paulo and attracts around 20,000 tourism professionals during the three-day event. The event offers qualified content together with networking and business opportunities. In this its ninth edition – there have been eight face-to-face events along with a 100% virtual one, which was held in 2021 – WTM Latin America continued to focus on effective business generation, and achieved the advance booking of six thousand meetings that were held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors in 2022.
Next event: Monday April 3rd to Wednesday 5th April 2023 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil
WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019 and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019.
Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town http://africa.wtm.com/
About ATW Connect: Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.
WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub. https://hub.wtm.com/
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