I’d heard that World Travel Market was huge, but I really had no idea how massive it was until I got off the District Light Rail and walked into the ExCel Centre by London’s Canary Wharf. It’s massive. A little overwhelming, really, and not half intimidating. It’s hard to know where to begin...
But I did get a few fun tidbits as I ran around...
* The London Pass has just added Westminster Abbey to its list of included attractions. This brings the total of sites (and sights) to 61, so if agents get a six-day pass for their clients (yes, it’s commissionable), the visitors can see 10 attractions per day for one price. Passes are also available for one, two or three days.
* St. Paul’s Cathedral has a new exhibit in their crypt called “Oculus: An Eye into St. Paul’s.” Two audio-video programs present a day in the life of the Cathedral, and then the history of the buildings that have been on the spot for the past 1,400 years. (The current one is only 400 years old.) It also incorporates a “fly-through” feature to the top of the dome for a bird’s-eye 360-degree panorama. Nice touch: Audio iPod Touch-style guides are included in admission to present not only information about the Cathedral, but videos of famous moments there (think the wedding of Charles and Diana).
* Genealogy tourism has become a notable trend, so much so that the Shelbourne Hotel has hired Helen Kelly as their Genealogy Butler. Kelly can work with agents and clients to help them plan trips to their ancestral homelands, and even assist in the actual research. If your clients have any interest in learning about Irish heritage, Kelly is a fantastic resource.
* Near Glasgow, Glengoyne Distillery offers whiskey-themed tours. This isn’t terribly unique— plenty of distilleries will show visitors around and have tastings— but here’s the cool part: For a genuine enthusiast, the Glengoyne offers whiskey-blending workshops that can last for an hour or a full day. (And yes, they are commissionable to agents.) Bonus: Visitors can write down the exact composition of their blend and bring a bottle home with them. It’s certainly a fun way to learn about the art of whiskey-making, and gives a new appreciation of how hard it must be to create a unique taste. (The Fox Blend, I must say, is delicious.)
Much more to come!!