Pandemic recovery, recruitment issues and sustainability take centre stage on Day 2 of WTM London

Pandemic recovery, recruitment issues and sustainability take centre stage on Day 2 of WTM London

Day 2 of WTM London hosted dignitaries at this year’s Tourism Ministers Summit, while Responsible Tourism subjects included ‘green hushing’ and offered an alternative interpretation on space tourism and all-inclusives. Elsewhere, the youth market’s contribution to Covid recovery and recruitment issues were discussed – while the youngest-ever Dragon shared the secrets of his success on the Future Stage.

  • Tourism ministers from around the globe say supporting local workers and small businesses is a vital element of the sector’s sustainable recovery from the pandemic.

The politicians joined private sector bosses at the Ministers’ Summit at World Travel Market, in association with the UNWTO and WTTC. They agreed sustainability and tackling the climate crisis must be top of their agenda but highlighted how training tourism staff and encouraging entrepreneurs and SMEs will boost local and regional economies, helping them to be more resilient.

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organisation, told ministers the sector must “urgently” rethink tourism as it can be a solution to the climate emergency and need for jobs.

Julia Simpson, CEO and President at WTTC, urged closer cooperation between the private and public sectors.

Tourism ministers who shared their ideas for reshaping the sector came from countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Maldives, Egypt, Portugal, Bahrain, Mauritius, Mexico, Ecuador, Philippines, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Croatia, Ethiopia and more.

  • Tour operators need to step up and make a positive impact with their holidays if they want future customers to continue booking with them, says the boss of G Adventures.

Brian Young, EMEA Managing Director, said the industry is seeing more “conscious travellers” following the pandemic.

“They want to know they’ll have an amazing holiday but are still doing good and having a positive impact on that destination and those people,” he said.

“Tour operators have to step up to make a positive impact. Rather than educating customers, the customers will expect it and want it as a given. There will be a turning point, with customers saying if you don’t do these things we won’t book with you.”

  • Elsewhere, some companies making good progress are scared to shout about less-than-perfect sustainability credentials for fear of a backlash, a session heard.

“Smaller businesses tend to be ‘green hushing’, bigger businesses tend to greenwash,” explained Xavier Font, Professor of Sustainability Marketing at the University of Surrey. But he advised that it is better to communicate progress with honesty and help consumers make positive choices than to not talk about it at all.

  • An expert panel heard how hundreds of thousands of vacancies were not being filled because travel brands, post-pandemic, could not afford salaries offered elsewhere, while staff let go during Covid had found better pay and conditions outside the industry.

The Travel and Tourism Council estimates there are 128,000 unfilled vacancies in the travel and hospitality sector in the UK, but Alessandra Alonso, founder of Women in Travel, described this as “a gross underestimation”.

  • A WTM London audience heard how younger travellers were the first to return after Covid and collectively had the most disposable income. Sally Cope, Tourism Australia’s regional general manager, UK & Northern Europe, said Australia had long seen the value of younger travellers, backpackers and those taking a working holiday.

Long-stay visitor spend often exceeded that of luxury travellers, she said, with the average at around AUS $10,000. Recognising this, Australia has extended its working visa scheme to those aged up to 35 and for three years. The requirement to do farm work in the second year has been removed.

  • EasyJet Holidays CEO Garry Wilson attacked the “snobbery” of people who dismiss all-inclusive holidays as being bad for the local economy. He told Harold Goodwin, WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor: “I hate the snobbery that’s attached to the idea of all inclusives and I hate the attitude that, for some reason having an all-inclusive destination destroys local communities and business.

“There’s not a business case to show that. The hotel probably would employ a good few thousand of people. That hotel would be sourcing tons and tons of food, creating wealth,” he said.

  • Entrepreneur Steven Bartlett, the youngest-ever investor on Dragons’ Den and host of The Diary of a CEO, shared his story of how, although he dropped out of university at 18, he is still “passionate about educating myself”.

He urged the travel industry to be more innovative, saying: “It’s like the whole industry has read the same book – how to run a travel business and how to market it. It’s just the way it has always been.”

  • Commercial space travel will prompt a new industrial revolution that will far outweigh the environmental damage it causes, Will Whitehorn, Chair of Seraphim Space Investment, claimed.

He said the space industry’s image of the rich joyriding was misunderstood despite the estimated 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted for each flight. “People think it’s for scientists and billionaires – space is the only way we are going to get to net zero with a population of nine billion.”


To see press releases about these sessions and more from WTM London, click here.



Photography from WTM shows is available to download via the following link:

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.

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

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.

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.


RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

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