This year’s March Marketplace (MAMA), the second annual gathering of Britain’s travel trade at Wembley Stadium will take place on 18th and 19th of March. It comes as Britain witnessed its best year for inbound tourism since 2008, including what is a record year for visitor spending.
MAMA features two days of business ‘dates’, where buyers can meet suppliers in pre-arranged appointments. On the first day at the Hosted Buyers Marketplace (HBM), Visit Britain is bringing over 200 hosted buyers from all the main origin markets. On the second day, at the Britain and Ireland Marketplace (BIM), there is a gathering of tour operators who specialise in selling the UK and Ireland throughout the world.
For both these days there is a significant growth in the number of buyers attending. “At the end of January, over 320 people had committed to attend, 50% up on a year ago.” said Tom Jenkins, Chief Executive of the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), the organiser of the event. ”These include many leading purchasers of UK travel product so suppliers have a unique opportunity to discuss what they do with people they know can deliver substantial business.”
The event operation is underpinned by ETOA’s appointment system, which allows for up to 36 meetings per delegate in one day. “Most of the suppliers attending can expect more than 40 appointments over the two days,” said Jenkins. “The event is not restricted to appointments: there are networking breaks, lunches, drinks parties and a dinner organised by VisitBritain at the end of the first day.”
VisitBritain is forecasting that the volume of international tourism to Britain will grow by 3% in 2013, meaning almost one million extra visitors will come to the UK this year.
MAMA is jointly organised by ETOA and VisitBritain, together in partnership with London & Partners, Visit Scotland, UKInbound, BHA, CTC, BETA and ALVA.