World Travel Market 1

What am I doing, going to the World Travel Market today rather than the 1pound40 conference? I don’t know, but I did find out rather swiftly once I got in – which was a troubled affair, as I had spent a lot of energy convincing J to come with me on his free day, but then he wasn’t allowed in as he’s under 16.

So once he was somewhat consoled and safely dispatched to his dad’s, I went in and immediately had my senses assaulted by the mostly really tasteful displays of the various tourist associations, tour operators, airlines etc. Unbelievable. I love travelling. And this was like going around the world in 80 minutes.

The first continent I stumbled onto was Asia, with beautiful displays by Thailand and Indonesia and of course India.

A real priority for me was to meet with the people at Sixt – I like that company. They are one of the steady employers in my hometown of Rostock, with their call centre based there, and being in London without owning a car I like the fact I can go on the 91 bus and pick up a Smart car for £9.50 a day. Have done that many a time (am in fact a platinum card holder with them).

So I wanted to talk about their social media thinking – it wasn’t really a salesy chat, as I really wasn’t in the mindset, it was more a “So what do you guys do” thing. I think the result was really promising as well – collaboration is the key.

The next stop was the general German tourist board, as my home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania wasn’t represented. 3 companies advertising Rhine river tours, but no Baltic beach. Huge marketing failure. So I’ve made an appointment with the general marketing person of the German tourist board to talk about this. (as you do.)

The next stop: Africa! I (if you didn’t know) spent a couple of years in Nigeria, and I have lots of ideas around tourism there (most of them involving music and culture), so I talked to a few people and got to meet the head of the tourist board, Otunba Runshewe, who I have high regard for and who I had wanted to meet for absolute ages. Again, interesting chat, Nigerian party is tomorrow.

Then talked to the marketing man of the Nicaraguan government about what I think they should do. I like that little country, they are absolutely crazy (and managed to scare the US into investing a lot of resources into a war with them in the 80s. That’s gotta be commended.)

What did I say to him? Think about what sets this place apart. Get people around the table – local bloggers, the Germans who work for the local NGOs, the tour operators, some artists, etc – and figure out how you’re different with countries you might be competing against, and how you can talk about yourself in a unique way. Anyways it made sense when I said it 🙂

Since there was no Nigerian music I ended up dancing at the Venezuelan stand – I’ve always wanted to spend time in Latin America, I’ve got that spirit in my blood as well somewhere.

When everyone was leaving I saw my Gambian Kora player friend Jally Kebba Sisso – I couldn’t believe I had missed him playing, especially as the Nigerian and Gambian stands were right next to each other! And he had been playing all day. I do love Kora music.

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