World Travel Market: From Saudi Arabia’s impressive shows to Ukraine’s act of resistance | Tech US News

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Peruvian ceviche, traditional Sri Lankan dances, hand-painted Egyptian silks, Thailand’s most famous boxer and the garlands of Saudi Arabia’s “Flower Men”. All this, plus the vibrant colors and exciting tastes of the world, are currently under one roof in East London..

The World Travel Market (WTM) is at London’s ExCel center for three days this week (November 7-9). The exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to escape to every corner of the world, while remaining within the four walls of a gray conference center.

Back in full swing for the first time since the pandemic, this year’s opening ceremony saw a throng of photographers and journalists following Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Minister HE Ahmed Al Khateeb and RX Global CEO Hugh Jones IV , through the center. Saudi Arabia is WTM’s premium partner for the second consecutive year and put on a show like no other country.

Saudi Arabia leaves its mark

The country is the fastest growing tourist destination in the world, and its positions at ExCel reflect that: Saudi Arabia appears to occupy half of the Middle East section. There is also much more on offer than anyone with a cursory knowledge of the country might expect.

Instead of luxury, Saudi Arabia is showcasing its diverse culture, from Saudi coffee (which isn’t actually coffee), to traditional music and flower crowns worn by the descendants of the ancient Tihama and Asir tribes, who live in the area of ​​the country. southern provinces of Jizan and Azir.

The Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific pavilions are also a feast for the eyes, with centuries-old dances, traditional costumes and skills reproduced for the curious eyes of visitors.

The Kerala stand is among the most impressive here. Two huge, colorful bulls glare at visitors, symbols of the traditional bull run that the Indian state celebrates each year during its world-famous Maramadi festival.

The European pavilion, on the other hand, is a little more subdued, a little more businesslike than the rest. Above all, it’s blue: from the stunning sea on the beaches of Greece and Croatia, to the sky above Paris, the color blue dominates the European stands.

The Canary Islands stand is the exception. A stone’s throw from an art exhibition, here you’ll find bubbles suspended above visitors’ heads, symbols of the islands’ promise to be a sustainable tourist destination.

Ukraine takes a defiant position

Not all countries, of course, are present at the fair: Russia, as expected, is absent, while Ukraine has a small and humble stand at the far end of the European pavilion. In its simplicity, it is the most powerful stand of the entire fair.

Although the Russian invasion of Ukraine is still unfolding, the stand invites people to visit Kiev when security returns to the capital.

Meanwhile, the stand invites visitors to see what really happens in the country, beyond the international news headlines. To find out how, as war ravages the southeastern regions of the country, life in Lviv continues for the hundreds of thousands of people who have moved to the city since the start of the war.

“We are trying to spread information about what is really happening, how we live,” Lidia Fedchuck of the Lviv Tourism Office told Euronews Travel.

“Lviv is very far from the front, so we have theater performances, we have opera nights, we have exhibitions. For people who have moved to Lviv [after the beginning of the invasion] it’s actually very hard to live just listening to the news, sometimes you have to clear your mind. So we do guided tours with these people, as sometimes it is their first time in Lviv”.

While a trip to Ukraine is not recommended at the moment, you can see most of its heritage sites through Pocket City, a project that brings the country’s buildings to life through AR, with the flick of your camera. The project was born from the desire to preserve the heritage sites of Ukraine from the war.

Stepping out of WTM into a busy and lively London, there is no doubt that the world is moving again, shaking off the memory of pandemic-related lockdowns and border closures, hungry for new experiences, for life. WTM gives you the opportunity to put together the perfect travel bucket list.

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