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WTM: Exhibitor updates from Day Three in London

WTM: Exhibitor updates from Day Three in London

World Travel Market (WTM) audiences today (Wednesday 6 November) heard how Malta has successfully repositioned itself as a youth travel destination, by embracing experiential tourism, driven by the power of live entertainment.

In a thought-provoking session on WTM’s Global Stage, called How the Power of Live Entertainment Can Put a Country on the Youth Map, Malta’s Minister of Tourism Konrad Mizzi explained how the destination partnered with MTV and Nickelodeon to achieve its aim.

As a result, holidays to Malta amongst MTV viewers increased 70% over the last five years.

Visit Jersey has hailed the success of a marketing initiative with fitness app Strava that drove an increase in visitors to the island.

A WTM London panel session entitled New Tech, Audiences & Channels: The Shifting Landscape in Digital Brand Engagement yesterday, (Tuesday 5 November) heard how Visit Jersey was the first destination management company to partner with the social fitness network, which is aimed primarily at runners and cyclists.

The initiative, the Jersey Runcation Challenge, in which participants signed up to run a marathon distance in 26 days, attracted nearly 31,000 participants. The prize was a two-night ‘runcation’ and place in the island’s marathon.

“Sports tourism can be a compelling reason to visit a destination,” said Meryl Laisney, Visit Jersey’s head of product. She said sports tourists spent an average £785 per visit to the island, compared to £483 from other visitors and stretched Jersey’s shoulder season appeal.

The island receives three-quarters of its visitors during the April-September period and the marathon, in October, is seen as one vehicle for Jersey to increase its off season visitor numbers.

Visit Wales highlighted its Year of Outdoors 2020 at WTM London with a panel of adventurers including former Wales rugby international Richard Parks.

Parks was the first to climb the highest mountain on all seven continents and stand on the North and South Pole in the same calendar year. He told how the Welsh natural environment had helped him overcome “the darkest period in my life” when his career ended through injury.

This, he said, had made him an advocate for the outdoors and wellbeing. He told how younger people could particularly benefit from spending more time in the natural environment. He spoke of the challenges for his children that “I did not have, and my parents did not have”, which arose from technology and told how the outdoors could bring relief.

“It’s that sense of respite it gives you from the unique stresses and strains of the 21st century. I see it as critical as a parent.”

Tourism to the Bahamas is showing signs it will recover quicker from the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian two months ago than other Caribbean islands that have also been affected by huge storms in recent years.

Joy Jibrilu, Director General of Tourism for the Bahamas, told An Audience with The Caribbean Tourism Organization that Grand Bahama Island – one of two main islands most badly hit – is now 80% open, although the Abaco Islands will take longer to bounce back.

She described Dorian as “unprecedented in terms of strength and length of time that it stayed over the Bahamas”.

She said: “Dorian approached as a Category 2 storm and was projected to grow to a Category 3. We went to bed and woke up the following morning to a Category 5, reaching 220-mph-strong winds. The Abacos looked apocalyptic. ”

Immediately after the storm, the Bahamas got word out “to the world at large, to the industry and to the Caribbean” and received “unprecedented support”, she said.

However, much of the outside world thought the whole of the Bahamas was closed and people became afraid to visit, she added.

A campaign ’14 islands welcome you’ was launched, but “people felt guilty coming over on holiday and being seen to have a time on the beach while people were suffering”, Jibrilu recalled.

“But our message was that you can help us best by coming and contributing to the economy so that we can help those impacted. You will see the biggest smile from the people who know your money will be going to help them.”

Furthermore, China wants to encourage more influencers and bloggers to visit lesser-known parts of the destination through new social media channels.

China National Tourist Office London, which promotes tourism to China in the UK, Ireland, Norway, Finland and Iceland, has set up social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube to increase awareness of the “spectacular, diverse land of China”.

The social media channels were soft launched at the BorderlessLive two-day festival in London during September.

As part of its strategy, CNTO London has also launched a China Creators Pod (CCP) to encourage social media influencers to visit less well-known parts of the country.

CCP includes a “match making” service to “marry up the right creator with the right project”, as well as organising fam and press trips for all types of content creators.

The platform will also provide cultural advice for influencers, including “dos and don’ts” when travelling in China, as well as giving European influencers the chance to interact with their counterparts in China.

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