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Hard-hit travel industry gathers in London to boost tourism

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By Damon Embling
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World Travel Market in London.
World Travel Market in London.   -   Copyright  Euronews

The World Travel Market trade show has just started in London, an event billed as the biggest gathering of the travel industry since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The event, running from November 1 to November 9, is all about survival for a sector that was devastated by the health crisis.

"People are doing business, they are providing opportunities for that consumer to go off and explore those wonderful places that they've seen via TV, or Zoom, or social media over the last 19 months," exhibition director Simon Press told Euronews. "And this is what it's all about, rebuilding that confidence within the industry and then pushing that out to a consumer audience as well."

While there has been an easing of some restrictions on travel, global tourism numbers were still down by 67% in July, compared to the same month in 2019, according to recent data by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

But amid the climate emergency, professionals in London know things cannot go back to the old pre-pandemic ways.

"There is a commitment already from the government to make Mauritius a plastic-free island, and we also commit to increasing renewable energy to 60% by 2030. So, I think this is a major message we send out there. As far as tourism is concerned, we already have hotels offering carbon-neutral stays,” said Nilen Vencadasmy, chairman at the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority.

The gathering comes as world leaders meet for the COP26 climate summit – thus further ramping up the pressure.

"Travellers are leading the way, they ask for less or zero-carbon. Together with security and safety in travelling, it’s going to be a top priority for travellers all over the world for this season and the seasons after," Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias noted.

Watch the full report in the video player above.