By Paul Tavner
Monday November 9 marks the beginning of the 2009 World Travel Market, one of the travel industry’s most important annual events. While many people from around the world will be descending throughout the week on London’s ExCeL centre to meet, greet and do business, an increasing number will also be making a beeline to the Fringe RT Network Event – 6:30pm to 11pm in the Pavilion End Bar, close to the heart of the city – to meet, engage and inspire.
Developed by a group of like-minded individuals keen to bring together people with a passion for locally focussed responsible tourism that protects and enhances destinations for the benefit of host communities as well as visitors, the Fringe Network event was first held in 2007. In the two years since, attendees have met regularly, both in person and online, to discuss the challenges they face, share their experiences and promote the progress being made by the sector as a whole.
“It becomes ever more important that grassroots organisations and initiatives around the world continue to exert their independence, innovate and come together to network,” observed Stephen Chapman, founder of Make Travel Fair after the 2008 event.
Keeping Good Company
For the third year in a row, the Fringe evening is organised by the team at Tripbod (active in past years as YourSafePlanet). This year, however, whl.travel is proud to be a media partner, along with Make Travel Fair and Social Tours. The event sponsors are Intrepid, Rough Guides, The Blue Yonder and Travel to Care.
Despite inclusion of a speed-networking event that follows the speed-dating model, the evening is expected to be as relaxed and informal as in past years, an ideal environment in which to make new connections and reconnect with old ones.
This is my first time attending a Fringe – or indeed any – event of this kind, so I’m excited to be bringing a fresh perspective to the proceedings. I’m also hoping to convey some of the enthusiasm and optimism expressed by attendees on the night and, in advance, will be delivering some insights from Fringe veterans about what to expect. On 9 November you can follow me live via Twitter @whltravelBlog or keep up with what are sure to be multiple streams through the #rtnet hashtag.
Of course, if you’re in London on 9 November, I’d highly recommend coming along to meet some friendly faces. Register your interest via the Fringe Network page on Ning or Facebook. Alternatively, stay tuned here for updates.
If there’s a particular topic you’d like to see discussed or would be interested in hearing about, drop me a line and I’ll do my best to make sure I cover it on the night. If you’d like to contact the organisers directly, begin at the Tripbod website.