- COVID-19 and a new AY.4.2 sub-variant are taking over news headlines in the United Kingdom, two weeks before the World Travel Market in London.
- The World Tourism Network today issued an urgent appeal and an important question to Reed Exhibitions, the organizer of World Travel Market.
- Tourism professionals from around the globe are expected to meet at Excel Exhibition Center November 1-3.
How safe is the World Travel Market in London?
World Travel Market is ready to showcase to the world that trade shows are possible, tourism is getting back to normal, and investments for tourism are expected to bring this sector on track.
In London and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, pubs and restaurants, as well as event venues are open. Wearing masks is not required except on public transportation. Hotel rates are at their highest, and visitors are coming back.
At the same time, the United Kingdom recorded yesterday 49,139 new COVID-19 cases and 179 deaths. According to a report on CNBC, UK doctors are calling for bringing back restrictions to England. A new strain of the virus the UK has now seen is even more contagious.
The world of global tourism can’t wait to meet and shake hands with old friends at the upcoming WTM. This publication is a media partner for World Travel Market and Publisher, Juergen Steinmetz, is packing his suitcase.
Saudi Arabia only this week confirmed its partnership as the main sponsor for the World Travel Market taking place at the Excel Exhibition Center in London from November 1-3 next month.
The 3-day WTM agenda is packed with events and meetings. WTM 2021 is the first truly major global travel exhibition since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the tragic cancellation of ITB Berlin in 2020.
Canceling the World Travel Market London last minute now would most likely create discouragement and shockwaves around the globe. It is important for WTM to take place for a very much needed recovery of the sector.
Today, World Tourism Network President and travel security expert, Dr. Peter Tarlow, raised two important questions and concerns. Dr. Tarlow will also be a speaker at the virtual part of World Travel Market.
Here is what visitors can find on the WTM website in regards to safety and security during the event.
Safety measures for attending World Travel Market
WTM says on its website: Your safety and your business are our priorities. At WTM London, you can be confident that both are in safe hands. As well as carefully following the latest advice and guidelines, we are working with local authorities and under our own strict precautions to put new measures in place to deliver a safe event for you to meet, learn, and do business.
This means our event will look a little different this year, but these changes will allow you to enjoy the experience whilst keeping yourself, and others, safe.
All attendees will need to demonstrate proof of COVID-19 status to enter our event. On arrival you will need to present a text, email, or pass to verify your COVID status is one of the following:
- Proof of completion of a full course of vaccination 2 weeks prior to arrival.
- Proof of a negative lateral Flow Test or PCR result taken within 48 hours of arrival.
- Proof of natural immunity shown by a positive PCR test result for COVID-19, lasting for 180 days from the date of the positive test and following completion of the self-isolation period.
Attendees will also be asked to check in each day via the venue NHS Test & Trace QR code. Please note neither physical lateral flow test strips nor physical vaccination cards will be accepted as valid proof of status. For further details on COVID passes, click here.
Reed Expo, the organizer of World Travel Market, WTM, tells visitors:
WTM: We strongly recommend that you wear a face mask when you are in indoor spaces with individuals that you would not normally mix with.
“The World Travel Market as a leading global travel trade show is setting trends not only for its own event but for the world. Allowing participants to participate without a mask would not only be a safety concern for WTM, but it would send the wrong message during these still uncertain times,” said Juergen Steinmetz, Chairman of the World Tourism Network.
WTN: The World Tourism Network is urging Reed to go a step further in making face masks mandatory for the event. This is standard procedure at most indoor events around the world. It would be irresponsible for WTM to allow its attendees to make it their own choice to wear masks.
WTN is making it even more clear when suggesting that all visitors should be vaccinated. This is a requirement for the upcoming IMEX America in Las Vegas, November 9-11.
Reed Expo, the organizer of the World Travel Market, WTM, assures visitors:
WTM: Ventilation at EXCEL Exhibition Center will be increased, improving fresh air circulation in line with the latest guidance.
WTN: The World Tourism Network is urging EXCEL Exhibition Center to conduct an immediate study, and share results on how effective the ventilation system is against all variAnts of COVID-19 including the latest and just detected AY.4.2 sub-variant.
This coronavirus offshoot of the Delta variant is now spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom and is rated to be 10-15 percent more infectious than its “parent” which now dominates Covid-19 infections globally.
Scientists are studying this AY.4.2 sub-variant, but do not think that it will be catastrophic for the UK. All the same, it is at its highest level since July.
Outside the UK, this subtype remains “exceptionally rare” with only 2 strains found in the US so far.
Today, Morocco already closed its borders to the UK, making it the first country to relaunch severe travel restrictions against Britain.
In September this year, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced a coronavirus variant known as “Mu” which may be cause for concern.
In the past 2 weeks, the United Kingdom has reported a lot more new COVID-19 cases than France, Germany, Italy, and Spain combined.