LONDON – Due to be held for the first time at on November 4th, GEM, a buyer-meet-seller event organised by the European tourism association ETOA, is set to break the 700-participant mark when it opens on November 4th. Recent growth has required it to find a new, larger venue so it will be held at the new InterContinental London O2, which has a 3,100sqm pillar-free ballroom which has a footprint the size of a football pitch.
According to ETOA’s CEO, Tom Jenkins, “Registrations had been running 10% up on last year’s record numbers, but that has accelerated recently to the pointGEM is now 15% ahead. This means there will likely be more than 700 people attending the workshop.”
ETOA’s workshop is unique insofar as it gathers professional buyers from all over the world who purchase accommodation, attractions and tourism services in Europe. This year it is anticipated that those on the selling side will have prescheduled appointments with nearly 300 buyers from companies that sell Europe to every continent bar Antarctica.”
Why has there been such consistent growth? “The ETOA team tries very hard to ensure that the right suppliers meet the right buyers”, says Tom Jenkins. “GEM showcases an extraordinary range of market segments, from Luxury and Cultural to Student, Youth, Value and Adventure; all are all covered. It is also an extremely interesting time to be involved as there is a great deal of change occurringEurope is appealing in different ways to our traditional markets of North America and Japan, and the growing markets of China, India and South America are demanding new products and new services. GEM is an ideal arena in which to discuss new needs and new ideas.”
“GEM is a great way to kick off WTM week” said Robyn Stencil from Rick Steves‘ Europe; “it offers a great variety of networking, new contacts, and latest information on the world of European travel.”
Linde Bijlhout from the Heineken Experience said: “It is always great to be together with so many buyers in one room. It’s buzzes with potential and new opportunities!”
“I am delighted by the success of this event” said Mario Bodini, ETOA Chairman. “It is evidence that the plan we are implementing to expand ETOA’s offering at a time when demand is flat, is working. We have series of actions designed to support our members’ growth ambitions which will be unveiled in the coming months.”
Attendees at GEM will be invited to take part in a Conference the day before, and can attend a glamorous Gala Dinner the following night.