The number of visitors to Travel Forward – held alongside WTM London – already made it the “UK’s most visited travel tech show”, organisers said, overtaking Travel Technology Europe, which is held at Olympia every February and attracts about 6,000 attendees.
Travel Forward hosted 135 exhibitors, including major travel technology suppliers Travelport, Sabre and Amadeus, as well as hosting a conference programme at ExCeL London.
The unaudited visitor figures also showed WTM London as a whole enjoyed a “blockbuster year” in 2018, with numbers rising 6% to 32,700, including Travel Forward.
There was also a significant increase in the attendance of senior executives, up 39% during the show’s opening day compared with the previous year.
Richard Gayle, Travel Forward event manager, said: “We are blown away by these initial findings, and they reinforce the anecdotal evidence from exhibitors who told us they were delighted with not only the quantity but also the quality of visitors to their stands.”
Among the speakers at Travel Forward’s inaugural conference programme were Travelport’s chief architect Mike Croucher, general manager of Oracle Hospitality Greg Webb, and Hotelplanner chief executive Tim Hentschel. Other speakers and panellists included representatives from Expedia, Booking.com, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Klook, AccorHotels, Air France and Hotelbeds Group. Google Cloud and Facebook for Work also shared their technology insights.
“The challenge now is to improve on what has already become the most visited travel tech show in the UK. The team and I are already working on Travel Forward 2019 and are confident this year’s event will confirm our market leadership,” added Gayle. Travel Forward 2019 will take place alongside WTM London at ExCeL from November 4-6.
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