Our experience at the WTM 2014
It is almost dark when we finally get to the apartment on Sunday. We feel pretty tired after a long busy week, but we cannot stop: we both want to go and see the ExCel London Centre by night, get into the WTM venue, a huge building by the Docklands, really close to London City Airport. On our way to the ExCel from our apartment we have to cross beautiful (and really high) Royal Victoria Dock Bridge, from which we enjoy a great night view of the London skyline.
Everybody is busy inside the building, some look stressed. Without any doubt Spain offers one of the biggest stands (adding up Tourspain hub, Catalonia, Basque Country, Andalucia and Canary Islands exhibitors) in the whole WTM.
Our little corner looks perfect. And there we decide to keep it this way: Cantabria is our beloved home region, where we live, and the key to green northern Spain. Northern Spain is a hidden gem in the 3rd most visited country in the world.
This is the message we will humbly try to share for the next 4 days. No borders. We will look up for creative and responsible travelers, tour operators, journalists and bloggers around the world aiming to discover new inspiring places and cultural diversity.
FOUR DAYS AFTER
We are happily exhausted and impressed with all that has happened since our arrival. Yes, it is our first time, and, even though we’re sure the hardest work is yet to come, we are enjoying it to the fullest:
At the WTM we have had the pleasure to meet some great professionals of the Spanish tourism sector (Tourist Boards representatives, other tour operators, official guides, hotel owners, new bodegas,…)
In London we have met more than 25 tour operators from the UK, US, Ireland, Netherlands and Norway. Also talked with some from Italy, India, China, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, The Philippines and Georgia!
We have had the opportunity to attend over a dozen conferences on creative, responsible, active tourism, trends and techonology; a couple of press conferences, contacted travel or lifestyle mags, journalists, photographers and bloggers from the above mentioned countries.
Before the show, all the people and firms contacted had one thing in common: they have heard of “the beautiful north” and did trust Spain as a destination, BUT, all of them were looking for something different, undiscovered in Spain and also for gastronomy, active or creative ideas.
Our home-made map (and logo) has helped us a lot, since Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao (Guggenheim), Santiago de Compostela (Way of St James) San Sebastian (gastronomy related issues) and Pamplona (San Fermines) where the northern spots they all knew.
Then, when they looked at the map and asked “Where are you based and why?” they all heard the same answer “We live and are based close to Santander, in Cantabria, our home, and the key to green northern Spain. We could not be in a better place.”
LEISURE & VIEWS
Monday night we were invited to the annual WTM cocktail at the Spanish Embassy, a gorgeaus place by Hyde Park in Central London. And it was there where we finally met Mr. Santiago Recio, Director, and Mr. José Ramón Álvarez, Social Media Manager, from the Cantabria Tourist Office who were also very kind to come and say hello to our standuco next morning.
On Wednesday we strolled a bit around Oxford St, almost ready for the official “lighting up” of their street Christmas lights. We did not see them on, but we enjoyed a full moon and some great rock´n´roll!
And, of course, the Royal Victoria Dock Bridge, that we crossed every morning, despite being afraid of heights, just hoping to learn and to talk about our region.
Hope to see you soon, London bonito.
To Mr Paco Gutiérrez, Social Media & Events Executive at Spanish Tourist Office in London, who has helped us and guided us throughout the whole WTM adventure.
To Miss Ana María, Cantabria Tourist Office representative at the WTM, outstanding professional and our Cantabrian fairy-angel smile every day.