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Meeting with Wanderlust at WTM 17

St Helena at World Travel Market 2017

This week saw a delegation from St Helena fly from the island for the very first time to attend World Travel Market (WTM), London’s global travel industry event (6-8 November).

The tourism promotional roadshow team included recently appointed Director of Tourism, Helena Bennett, Chair of the Tourism Sub Committee, Giselle Richards, Tourism Officer, Melissa Fowler, Dr Niall O’Keefe from Enterprise St Helena (ESH) and Governor Lisa Phillips as well as the French Consul, Michel Martineau, Craig Yon of Into the Blue, Derek Richards of Island Images and Vince Thompson from the St Helena Independent newspaper. Not forgetting the youngest member of the group, Kelly Jonas from the tourist office, who experienced the joys of flying for the first time.

Excel London WTM 17

Busy WTM

Delegates were kept busy thanks to a regular stream of visitors flocking to the stand. Accompanied by a full schedule of meetings with the likes of media such as Wanderlust magazine, and tour operators including Discover the World and Voyages Jules Verne.

Reception at Westminster

On Monday night a reception was held at the Palace of Westminster to celebrate the launch of the scheduled air service. Hosted by St Helena Government, St Helena Tourism and the St Helena All Party Parliamentary Group, the event was attended by sixty-plus ministers, friends of St Helena and media.

Speaking to the assembled guests, the new Director of Tourism talked of her passion for St Helena, and her pride at being part of the delegation representing the island in London. “This would not have been possible without the flight service,” she said. Her sentiments were echoed by the Governor, who spoke of the honour of being the last Governor to arrive via the RMS St Helena and the first to leave the island by air.

Helena Bennett speaking at Palace of Westminster WTM London

Helena also took the opportunity to announce the launch of the Environmental Conference Programme 2018.

Spreading the news

Tuesday saw a chance for the news about the newest tourism destination accessible by air to be spread further afield, with the Governor interviewed on radio and by NBC TV. Meanwhile back on the stand Jonathan Clingham was broadcasting live on Saint FM, capturing impressions from delegates and show visitors.

Governor Lisa Phillips being interviewed in the radio studio at WTM


On Wednesday, while Melissa and Kelly continued manning the stand at WTM, the rest of the delegation took the roadshow to Paris. The French leg of the trip included a reception at the British Embassy to promote St Helena to the French market as well as a meeting with Musee de L’Armee and Napoleonic Foundation to discuss plans for the 2021 bicentenary.

Finally the group will attend an industry event in Cape Town on Friday before flying back to the island on Saturday morning.

Thanks to Vince Thompson for the header image.

2 Responses


    I have read much about your history ,and your recent developments , it seems if you are serious about expanding tourism a hotel of at least 100 beds need to be built plus smaller quality guest houses. planes that bring in tourist will be carrying at least 100, it seems you lack quality beds there, in the UK wooden 2/3 bedroom lodges are popular with hot tubs. and modern cottages , i’m sure you can sell the island on the back of your history. but travellers expect quality accommodation when they arrive.
    I am you will reach your goal , Good luck , hard work ahead , I am sure you’ll make it.
    Tony Bailey ,York England.

  • Edna Harmse

    The history and geography of St Helena has been an attraction for many over the years
    Your prospects to expand St Helena tourism is noted. PLEASE quality does not have to be modern and european
    Keep your authenticity.B / B YES .NO BIG hotels style to remain unique to the island
    Please do not offer the mundane packages that has on many islands cost smaller local people their business and in the long run loose the general appeal of the Island
    Cypres is an example of packages – D / B / B then you get typical american style breakfast and hotel dinner menu you can get anywhere in the world.. Appeal of the actual Island is lost and smaller local restaurants that keeps tradition etc has gone bankrupt


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