Tuesday, 8 November 2011

World Travel Market 2011

Well, isn't this grand.  Sometimes the press are directed to a back door, or a hole in the wall, or requested to just not come at all. But clearly we are welcomed at World Travel Market.  I am afraid I didn't use this entrance but I may do so today, just for fun.  Because World Travel Market is the biggest travel trade fair in the UK and one of the biggest in the world, and most people connected with the travel trade try to go. Some hate it, but I love it, because it's so colourful and entertaining. And, although it's very much about business, the business is also about dreams and fantasies and being happy. 

It's all so unreal that you are constantly coming across picturesquely dressed people exactly like the ones you imagine seeing when reading the brochures.....



OK, the magic is a little dimmed by the ambience of the great big exhibition hall and the dreary rail trip on the DLR but there's usually some music going on and the stalls usually offer free gifts, competitions and free food, some of it utterly delicious, some of it a shade weird. (Sorry for the blurry pictures, these are all taken on my phone)

There are also some truly wonderful examples of photographic skill.  This picture of a Spanish horse is life sized, and I spent a lot of time examining every detail of the horse. How skilfully lit it is, too.  Although it looks lifelike at first, this is no casual snap.

I also loved this picture, which I imagine shows a Diwali scene - it was displayed above the Indian pavilion, anyway, with a beautful decorated canopy.

Each year, a few of the stalls stand out for their ingeniourness or the care that has been taken with them.  The delegates from Japan looked rather small against the fierce warriors decorating their stand

This year my favourite stand belonged to Burundi. Not only were the people on the stall charming, but the girls were happily dancing around with pots on their heads, just to amuse themselves, a lot of the time, and they seemed to be really having fun.

I was also very impressed by this elegant looking person from Panama - which also had some good movies on the stand - interesting looking place which I'd never considered visiting before.

Here's a cosy scene as the Cruise America guy has his lunch

And a spot of gold-plated luxury from an Arab airline.

This is the way to do long haul travel (sorry, the actual seat - or bed - is not in view, this is just the in-flight refreshments, entertainment, grooming etc.

A hotel with a pearl fishery had brought along some real pearl oysters in an aquarium 

And the arguable star of the whole show was a magnificent white Arabian hawk. 


And then there was the jolly man from Booking.com - not quite sure what he was supposed to represent.

And I got some free icecream from Hertz

I had to talk with people from Egypt, Rodrigues, Spain and Sardinia, and so I didn't get round all the other stalls.  But I'll do that, I hope.  I have a couple of seminars to attend today, and a visit to the dentist first - urgh! So, maybe tomorrow.
And I shall definitely go to the Chile stand. and learn more about it. I want to go to Chile. It's a difficult work destination for me, outside my area of expertise -  but I hope I make it there some day.    Even if I have to go on an actual holiday there, and not work. Now that would be a change.


  1. Hello Jenny:
    We are enthralled with the magic of this entire trade fair as shown here in your splendid images and from what you say. Such a great pity that we cannot pass ourselves off as 'Ministers' for we should be right in there. We hope that the seminars go well and that the visit to the dentist will not prove painful.

  2. Oh, I love trade fairs and shows - both as a work place (it is hard work, yes, but I enjoy it) or for visiting. And this fair would be just my kind of place, too! Maybe I should ask the German tourist board whether they have use for me next year :-)
    Did you try any of the coloured sweets?

  3. Awesome selection of photos. Just looking at them makes me feel intrigued to visit each country that was featured there.;)

  4. Wow! Like traveling the world in one building! The people and the art are fascinating. I'm so glad you took pictures to share. :)

  5. These looks like so much fun! A poor man's way to travel, if you will.

    Good luck at the dentist. Hope it's nothing serious!

  6. Thanks so much for this. Not that I needed any reminders of why I love travelling, but it was just the thing to cheer this gloomy November day.

  7. Although I’ve never quite thought of it in that way, the business of travel really ought to be the business of fulfilling “dreams and fantasies and being happy”. Otherwise, few people would venture out on their journeys. I think there is also a huge educational component to travel, as people are curious about the world around them. However, the staff having his lunch in a quiet corner reminds me that when revisiting the same places the novelty can wear off. Good luck at the dentist!

  8. Traveling around the world without leaving home! That's brilliant for those who have no spare time! :) Love the effort and ingenuity each country gets into to attract visitors!

  9. Great post today.... Looks like way too much fun to fill dreams. Out of all the exotic places to see and visit it cracks me up that America has a "Cruise America" in a RV.
    I kind of feel sorry for the beautiful hawk and the people who wear the summery outfits. Hope the place was warm.

    cheers, parsnip

  10. Well, this just makes me want to get on a colorful hot air balloon to explore the world! (Actually, a magic carpet would be really nice too.) And what a hoot to be mentioned FIRST ahead of VIPs and Ministers in your special entrance! Clearly, the Travel folks know who the important people really are.

  11. It's a great idea to travel around in a smaller space, and then to go the country after having leaned something. Thank you for invite us to the grand stalls.

  12. It sounds (and looks) great fun Jenny. And as the weather outside is a dreadful cocktail of damp, dark and cold, it is a timely reminder to book another holiday. If, once I have booked, I get one of those feedback questionnaires with a question like "why did you book this holiday" I will be sure to mention your name

  13. Funny how Africans, and some others, spend so much time laughing! Just look at any street near you now and few can manage a smile.
    Great pictures and I am ready for anywhere with sunshine and possibly a white hawk. (If others pay of course!)

  14. Oh, I read on Twitter that a couple of friends were attending this expo but did not realise it is in London. As a trade fair, does that mean it is aimed at travel writers and travel professionals? Not for me then!

  15. where there anyone from mexico?

  16. I was expecting to see an artificial beach complete with snoozing sunbathers. I liked the Arabian hawk though.

  17. As always, I appreciate your comments, it is so interesting to hear your points of view. @Jane and Lance, I'm thinking constantly about some of the points raised in the seminars - they were very good. @Librarian, I did NOT try any of the lurid sweets although I had a nut. Actually I have indigestion from sampling so many strange and wonderful foods! @Jo, glad it brightened your day! It's always a nice thing to attend in grim November. @akaPenelope, I think people do expect to have fun when they travel. But when travelling for its own sake, there are all kinds of ups and downs which also have their good moments (in retrospect) and anchor the experience in the memory a lot more. @angryparsnip, you have a kind heart to think of the people, but actually it was quite warm. I was more concerned at a woman whose national costume seemed all fur (I may post a picture later) @Alan - thank you - if I ever try to make money off this blog I will remind you of your promise @Emm, no, it's a trade fair, but there seemed to be some bloggers there. @Tony - Yes, loads of Mexico. But strangely, not very photogenic. @Jazz Bazooka - yes, there were Lithuanians who had a beautiful stall I should have photographed like a great big tree. (Not quite sure WHY mind you. ) @Nick, do you know sunbathers was one thing they did not have. But they had a wonderful frozen swimming costume... yes, I will have to post some more images...

  18. I've not been to a trade fair for 7 years and until this moment I'd not even thought about one. Now you've made me recall some of the wonderful times and friends made as an exhibitor. Oddly I can't remember the bad times - I'm sure there must have been plenty.

  19. Always interesting Jenny. The way countries present themselves in contrast to what happens in the background. We all have things we are less than proud of - or what we want to discuss in public.

    ps the idea of rebirth wasn't depressing - it was the thought if it was only a repetition of previous expereinces ...

    thanks Isabel x


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