December 10, 2023

Back to business at WTCE

World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) returned to the world stage this month welcoming 4,909 visitors to its first live, face-to-face event for the onboard hospitality sector since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Marking the 10-year anniversary of the event, this year’s focus was on how the industry can accelerate post-pandemic recovery, while developing sustainable solutions and enhancing the passenger travel experience.

More than 250 exhibitors from across the catering and onboard services industry welcomed attendees from 138 leading global, regional and low-cost airlines such as Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet, as well as rail companies and international caterers including dnata, Newrest, SATS Catering and LSG.

Robin Padgett, CEO, dnata, reflected the comments of many when he said: “This is the best show we have ever had, and we’ve been coming since inception. We have always enjoyed it, and this year has passed our expectations. It’s a huge commitment for most of the industry and the show has generated a years’ worth of work for us. WTCE provides us with great leads, and we have had the chance to rebuild and rekindle relationships.”

More than 1,000 meetings were set up using the new meetings tool which matched onboard buyers with products and suppliers, based on their registration responses, and allowed them to search for and invite relevant industry associates to connect.

With sustainability remaining high on passengers’ agendas, this year’s three-day show included the ever-popular Taste of Travel programme, with a line-up featuring sessions focused on sustainable catering. Curated in association with Onboard Hospitality magazine, Taste of Travel’s educational content was delivered by a line-up of top passenger experience professionals and sustainability experts. The programme also featured cookery demonstrations by some of the industry’s leading chefs and numerous sampling opportunities.

WTCE Event Director Polly Magraw commented: “We’re absolutely blown away by the sheer level of industry enthusiasm and support for this year’s show following what has been a very challenging few years for travel.

“It’s clear that while passengers and stakeholders were forced to stay at home and shut down, innovation was still very much top of mind, so we’ve been hugely excited by the new products, services and technologies showcased this year. If this year’s support for WTCE is anything to go by, global travel is well on its way to a fantastic recovery.”