As the WTCE and AIX doors open at last, April Waterston talks to event director Polly Magraw to find out what’s in store this week.
It’s show time! How does it feel to be back in Hamburg?
It’s brilliant to be back at the Hamburg Messe. I think I speak for everyone here when I say that meeting in-person again is something we’ve longed for and so to be able to reunite at WTCE is something we’re all very excited about.
Walking the show floor on day one, I’ve already seen so many great innovations from our exhibitors. Nonna Lab have brought their new drink which promises to fight jet lag, 2Wine has had me sampling their delicious, canned wine and Tyra Banks’ SMiZe Cream stand has injected a little Hollywood glamour into WTCE this year!
What are you most excited for?
Aside from exploring the latest product launches and innovations on exhibitor’s stands this year, the Taste of Travel programme has a really impressive line-up that I urge everyone to check out while they’re here. Expert speakers are gathering on the stage each day to discuss the onboard trends of the future and this year’s speakers are some of the most inspirational yet.
Today we’ll have Marc Warde from Libero Special Meals on the stage for his discussion on the dietary needs of special meal passengers. He’ll be joined by a panel of experts who will contribute to a really thought-provoking discussion which no will with no doubt inspire the audience.
Tomorrow I’m really looking forward to the 10:00am session with Foodcase where a team of expert panellists are going to present the results of the research report that WTCE collaborated with them on. We worked with Foodcase on the report to try and identify unique ways that airlines are making their passenger’s experience more sustainable, and also break down the challenges that airlines are facing in terms of food and packaging waste, and reducing C02 emissions. It’s definitely a session not to be missed for all the latest findings into onboard sustainability. The report is also available on the WTCE website to download and read in full, which I’d highly recommend.
What’s new this year?
This year we’re celebrating WTCE’s 10-year anniversary and we’ve introduced a host of new initiatives to mark the occasion. One way we’ve been celebrating is with our Onboard Icons campaign. The show has gone from strength to strength since it started in 2012 and what a perfect opportunity to recognise the top 10 most influential people in the sector who have helped shape the industry into what it is today. After months of nominations and hundreds of votes flooding in during the lead-up to the show, yesterday we congratulated those 10 individuals who were crowned winners and I was delighted to host the session and present their awards.
We’re also marking the occasion by highlighting the forty companies that have exhibited at WTCE every year since 2012 and shining a spotlight on those who have joined us on every step of the journey. Look out for floor signs by those exhibitors who are our longest standing and make sure to congratulate them too!
Do you have any advice on how to get the most from the show?
With so much to see and do at the show, we have launched our new planning tool which can be used by visitors and exhibitors to make the most of their time at the event. The WTCE Connect tool helps to easily discover new contacts and arrange meetings with exhibitors or buyers at the show, with a built-in calendar planning function that allows users to create a personalised schedule specific to the responses they filled in during the registration process. We know that making up for lost time post-COVID is really important to attendees and the WTCE Connect tool provides everything needed to reconnect with existing contacts and build new relationships.
If anyone is looking for advice and assistance in booking meetings, they are welcome to stop by the WTCE Connect Lounge in Hall A4 and the team will be happy to help!