Happening in Hamburg: WTCE 2024 returns to Hamburg
World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) is set to return to Hamburg for the 12th edition of the show from May 28 to 30, 2024. The show will take place at the Hamburg Messe across three days, uniting buyers from the world’s leading air and rail operators with exhibitors showcasing the very latest onboard product innovations and services. WTCE tells PAX International that 2024 is expected to be an even more inspirational event than usual with an array of new companies, visitors and features present.
It is gearing up to be a significant year for air travel with more than 9.4 billion passengers expected to take to the skies, an increase from 9.2 billion in 2023, according to Airports Council International. Set to the biggest year for air travel since the pandemic, the anticipated surge comes as the Chinese market reopens, alongside an increase in domestic travel, subsiding supply chain disruptions and inflation starting to slow.
The year ahead also presents a positive outlook for the global inflight catering services market. The sector is expected to hit US$21.5 billion next year, as reported by Simple Flying.
WTCE provides a space for operators to showcase offerings and meet together to prepare for this expected demand. This year will also welcome first-time vendors and exhibitors to the show floor, along with the most popular ones returning from previous years.
“We are very excited about WTCE 2024. The outlook for the travel industry next year–and beyond–is extremely positive and we look forward to playing a key role in this upwards trajectory,” said WTCE Event Director, Polly Magraw. “As we approach 2024, the future is looking very bright; passenger numbers are growing significantly again, and travellers are looking for the excitement in the experience rather than simply the functionality of travel. WTCE is the perfect place for air and rail operators to uncover ways that they can reinvent the services they offer to their passengers to help them stand out from the competition.”
Magraw added, “To align with these trends, there will be a strong focus at WTCE 2024 on creating memorable experiences, helping airlines meet their sustainability targets and wellbeing solutions to match the ever-evolving needs of travellers.”
Sustainability and the planet
As part of its promotion and support of protecting the planet and creating a sustainable future in travel, WTCE will be launching its new “Steps to Sustainability” feature in 2024. The event feature will include a curated range of onboard products from organic food and drinks to amenities and tableware items, all celebrating the accomplishments and innovations of eco-friendly companies.
Improving passenger wellbeing
The “Wellbeing Walk-through” feature was popular at WTCE in 2023 and is making its return to the expo in 2024. The feature includes a range of exhibitors showcasing wellness products from health foods and beverages to amenity products. All exhibitors participating in this feature contribute to the mental and physical wellbeing of passengers.
Innovation in the cabin
Another returning feature in 2024 is “What’s New Onboard” which showcases a variety of newly launched products to the onboard market. This feature is a great place for industry members to discover new products in the space and learn about available offerings.
WTCE is welcoming a large number of exhibitors who have already signed up for the 2024 show, with 80 percent of the floor space currently sold out. Some noteworthy exhibitors Magraw highlights are Linstol, FORMIA, dnata, LSG Group, Cuisine Solutions and Buzz Products.
Opportunities for buyers
Airline, rail and travel catering company buyers can participate in WTCE’s exclusive VIP Buyer Programme which allows upgraded attendees to experience a range of benefits before and during the event. Perks include access to the VIP Buyer Lounge, receiving a digital gift bag with exclusive deals and promo items from SMiZe Cream, Manna from Heaven and more. Buyers in this program can also collect a VIP sample bag containing more than 20 products from Nutty Nuts, Bamboovement, Gut Springenheide and more.
“WTCE is the perfect event for buyers from the airline, rail and inflight catering sectors to unite and get ahead of the game,” said Magraw. “The show brings together industry professionals to connect, share insights, and discover the ‘next big thing’ when it comes to the onboard experience.”
The VIP Buyer Program also offers participants a discounted rate for attending the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) at the Hamburg Messe on May 27, 2024. Delegates at PEC are afforded additional networking opportunities and insight into the passenger experience.
WTCE will be co-located with the industry-renowned Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in 2024, at Hamburg Messe. The two shows will come together to provide passenger experience professionals with the opportunity to network and explore new products, services and solutions.