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Tourism bosses from across the Costa and Andalucía arrive in London for World Travel Market

The Costa del Sol stand at this year's WTM.
The Costa del Sol stand at this year's WTM. / SALVADOR SALAS
  • The annual event is the most important in the marketing calendar; this year it takes on special significance with Brexit looming, the collapse of Thomas Cook and new names in power

The eyes of the tourism industry are on London's ExCeL centre this week with the annual World Travel Market. The huge trade fair from 4 to 6 November is one of the most important globally and is especially important to the Costa del Sol and the broader Andalucía region because of the importance of British visitors to the local economy.

This year, the trade fair takes on extra significance. With Brexit approaching and the recent collapse of Thomas Cook, industry bosses and local politicians remain nervous as to what the effects will be of both events on the area's economy.

New faces on the Junta stand

This year, a change in the parties governing the Junta de Andalucía regional government, that is responsible for overall tourism strategy, sees many new faces on the large regional stand at the exhibition.

On Thursday this week, Juan Marín, regional vice-president as well as regional Tourism minister, outlined the Junta's objectives for the three energetic days in London.

He said the team aimed to have 3,500 business meetings as well as welcome 18,000 visitors to the 500-square-metre regional stand.

"In the 40 years since the trade fair started, what is done or decided there has never been so relevant as now," said Marín, briefing journalists ahead of travelling to the UK.

He added that the regional tourism team was also planning 15 important promotional activities in the British market before the end of the year.

Provincial representative for the regional tourism ministry, former Mijas councillor Nuria Rodríguez, said last week, "It's a great time for the Costa. There's more than 50 hotel projects in the pipeline."

Costa del Sol Tourism

Representing all Malaga province is the Diputación provincial authority's Turismo Costa del Sol with its own 200-square-metre stand. They will also be sending a large delegation to London and carrying out promotional activity, including advertising on the Underground with the slogan, "Now more than ever".

"We are going to consolidate this market, which we feel very close to, with an unprecedented presence and with the aim of moving forward with seasonality and presenting a renewed, attractive and quality destination, strengthening golf and low season," said Francisco Salado, president of Turismo Costa del Sol.

Individual town halls from along the Costa will also be taking part as usual, including Malaga city, which will also have its own separate stand again.

SUR in English plays its part

This year the SUR in English team returns to the World Travel Market with its own stand as usual. The biggest local newspaper for English-speaking readers will be distributing a special edition to attendees as well as publishing a supplement in London's morning paper, City A.M., on Monday 4th.