Tourism and Getting Around London

By | Category: Travel rumblings

You may have never heard of the World Travel Market,(WTM) ,but this week it has featured on BBC Breakfast, Metro, The Times and a host of other media Why? Because tourism ministers from around the world were in London and some of them have been held in massive queues as almost 50,000 people a day have headed for Custom House in London’s Docklands for WTM.
Barbara Follett, the new Minister forTourism has apologised to passengers for the delays caused by Docklands Light Railway and London tube problems whilst websites linked to the travel trade have been receiving vitriolic comments about the state of transport and moving vast numbers of people around London.
They are learning what most of us who visit London know. At peak times it’s difficult to get around and being jammed under some person’s armpit as you stand on a train, tube or bus isn’t fun. But it takes a host of visiting ministers to get it on news bulletins.
WTM is one of two huge travel trade exhibitions that take place each year. Here thousands or resorts, destinations, hotel companies vie to persuade travel agents that there’s is the best area to visit, the best hotels in to stay in or the best service providers for us, the consumers to have. And this year it seems bigger with more money being spent to persuade travel agenst that when they come to sell us their products they should promote to us their products. It could be that in these economic times they need to shout louder so that they get a share of what might be a decreasing number of tourists. It could be they committed money before the downturn hit.
What they now know is that, if they are going to hold events like WTM in Docklands the infrastructure has to be able to cope. Buses yesterday went up narrow streets to take delegates there but they had to wait while cars came down because there is room for only one lane of traffic at a time. Residents were bemused at the length of the queues and how much longer it was taking. At 9 in the morning it took me an hour and a half to get from Waterloo to Custom House and most of that was spent as a sardine at Canning Town whilst I read posters extolling how London was achieving integrated transport.
Anyone who goes to concerts, sports events and pop festivals knows the problems that occur in moving lots of people. Some media were saying, if we can’t cope with WTM crowds how can we handle the crowds for the Olympics? Thn answer is that they are building new transport systems to cope. We’ve heard it all before. Now overseas countries are wondering too, having experienced it at first hand. This time we better get it right or tourists- like some WTM delegates- will stay away in future.

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