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Is ETOA setting a trend for WTM and goes virtual

ETOA is a major exhibitor at WTM and this event always occurs on Friday before. Is ETOA setting a trend for the World Travel Market to follow suit?

Following the success of the City Fair in July, ETOA’S Flagship event, The Global European Marketplace (GEM), is moving online for 2020, which this year takes place on 30 October.

GEM has become the largest European tourism workshop of its kind, attracting hundreds of trade buyers and suppliers doing business with tens of thousands of pre-set matched appointments.

This year’s wholly online event is set to be the biggest ever with the format enabling buyers to join from throughout the world.

For the first time, in addition to buyers from Europe, those from global origin markets like China, Japan, North America will be logging into pre-set appointments with suppliers across Europe.

Celestina, ETOA’s appointment management system, performed really well online at City Fair in July and delegates agreed that it was an enormously efficient way of networking. The GEM event will build on this with more than two people from each company being able to join meetings simultaneously.

Tom Jenkins, CEO of ETOA said “Nothing can replace the interaction and chance meetings that are gained in a real meeting. Tourism is built on the validity of live experiences. Mass live experiences are not feasible in the current situation.  We look forward to the time when such events can take place, but what we are offering online is of unique value. And it can be done without any of the players incurring the time or cost of travelling to London.

“There is much to discuss. 2020 will go down as the industry’s Annus Horribilis. But it is in such circumstances that intermediaries add value: they help sell when sales are hard.  2021 will be a year of recovery: a huge proportion of the clients who had to cancel have rescheduled into next year. And 2022 – for which GEM is the start of the planning process – will be the year of real returns to volume. All the surveys we have conducted indicate that the desire to holiday in Europe remains as strong as ever in both European and origin markets. The buyers attending GEM have a long record of converting such impulses into billions of Euros of spending. GEM will be the place to plot that recovery.”

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