CN joins judges panel for World Travel Market 2013 Best Stands Awards

Conference News’ (CN’s) Deputy Editor, Sarah O’Donnell, was one of three guest judges for this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) 2013 Best Stands Awards, in which Catalonia, Abu Dhabi (pictured), Korea Tourism Organisation and South Africa are among the exhibitors to be honoured.

Chosen during the first day of the tourism tradeshow at Excel London (4 November), the best stands needed to communicate what the exhibitor was, why they were there and create a space designed for doing business.

The Best Stand Awards judges included:

  • Sarah O’Donnell, Deputy Editor, Conference News and Conference and Meetings World
  • Bill Richards, Partner, Tram Research
  • Beryl Preuschmann, Managing Director,

Catalonia (EM1640) won the award for Best Stand Design, thanks to its eco-friendly, carbon-neutral approach, and the way its green message reflected the region and its ambitions. Judges said it was innovative and offered good spaces for business, as well as being cosy and practical.

The honour of the Best Stand for Doing Business went to Abu Dhabi (ME300), which was praised for its effective use of lighting and drapery. The stand’s structure featured TV screens describing what each exhibiting partner offered.

Korea Tourism Organisation (AS550) scooped the award for the Best Stand Feature, thanks to its ’sand drawing’ demonstration, which drew a great deal of attention from delegates at WTM.

The Best Stand Personnel award was given to South Africa (AF300), where staff were hailed as very polite. The stand was also described as interesting, with a circular design that drew delegates in.

The award for the Most Innovative Stand in the Travel Technology Section was given to FLIP.TO (TT487). The exhibitor employed a robot, which moved around the exhibition floor offering a conference link to its MD in the US via an iPad. Judges commended the way that visitors could understand exactly what the company was offering very quickly.

The judges also made special commendations to two exhibitors – Rwanda (AF230) and Just a Drop. Rwanda was commended for its circular design which created a welcoming atmosphere, while Just a Drop had two stands which outlined what the charity did in an attractive and clear manner, allowing the visitor to “understand the concept and the essence of the charity through how the stand was presented”.

In other show news, The Employment in Travel and Tourism: the Responsible Tourism opened the World Responsible Tourism events for 2013, with lively discussion and disagreement on the second day of WTM (5 November).

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, said that in the UK, one in every four new jobs in the recession generated was in tourism. She went on to tell people about a scheme called the Big Hospitality Conversation which seeks to match young people with job vacancies in tourism. “Our target is to create 60,000 opportunities for young people by the end of 2014,” she explained.

However, Kevin Curran, Chair of the Unite Union Central London Hotel Workers Branch, said the London hotel sector was one of most profitable in world, yet he claimed that there was not one collective bargaining agreement between any hotel and employees in London, and that none of them are paying London Living Wage. Curran said the sector was “not accessing potential to earn even more”, adding that there is a “huge gap between brand’s CSR reports and workers daily experiences.”

Ufi Ibrahim later challenged Curran’s views, saying all members of industry pay national minimum wage as law obliges them to, and the London Living Wage is a voluntary scheme.

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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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