History of WTCE

Eight editions over nine years

Since its launch in 2012 read how the show has gone from strength to strength with exhibitor and visitor numbers increasing year on year.


Launched in 2012 adjacent to Aircraft Interiors Expo, WTCE attracted 194 exhibitors, 971 visitors, including 330 airline & rail representatives. Michel Quissac, Servair, opened the Taste of Travel Theatre treating the audience to a taste of First-Class fine dining. The 2012 event gained industry recognition and was nominated for an AEO Exellence Award.


The show continued to grow increasing to 200+ exhibitors, attracting 1,140 visitors including 350 airline and rail operators. The introduction of the Drinks Reception proved popular with both exhibitors and visitors, giving everyone the chance to relax after a busy day at the show. The Taste of Travel Theatre expanded to include wine tasting and the popular brand comparison session.


The show attracted over 60 new suppliers, to accommodate the growth we extended into the upper hall creating a focal area for new exhibitors. With 245 exhibitors, 1,460+ visitors including 450+ airline and rail operators the show exceeded expectations. The Taste of Travel Theatre grew to include presentations alongside the popular onboard chefs, the new Networking Lunches also proved popular with visitors.


Due to the success of WTCE with exhibitors increasing to 300+ the show relocated to the A Halls of the Hamburg Messe. New features were introduced including: What's New Onboard showcasing products newly launched to market and the Travel Retail Zone & Trail further expanding the shows content. Visitor numbers increased to 1,750+ including 600+ airline and rail representatives. WTCE will stay in the A Halls where it can showcase the very best products and services to the widest international audience possible.


In 2016 WTCE celebrated it's 5th Anniversary, attendees at the annual drinks reception enjoyed taking part in the selfie competition and indulging in specially created celebratory cakes! Over 300 suppliers showcased a fantastic array of products for the onboard industry, which kept the 1,900 visitors including 750 airline and rail buyers very busy over the 3 days. The Taste of Travel Theatre was popular with attendees enjoying live demonstrations and sampling delicious culinary creations.


The 6th edition of the show returned 4-6 April 2017 with a new Focus on World Travel Retail. Showcasing a wide range of luxury Duty Free and Travel Retail goods for sale onboard the aircraft. Providing a one stop shop for all the airline's onboard requirements! There was also an improved Taste of Travel programme, a spotlight on travel Apparel and the popular What's New Onboard feature area.


2018 saw the show expand into 4 halls with over 350 international suppliers. Each hall had a New Exhibitor Village attracting over 100 suppliers new to the show. 2,000+ visitors attended including over 800 airline and rail buyers looking to source the latest new and innovative products to help differentiate their brand. The Taste of Travel Theatre returned with a great line-up of future orientated presenters and world-class chefs. There was also a new Business Meeting Hub, expanded What's New Onboard feature and new look Spotlight on Travel Apparel.


The 8th edition attracted over 4000 attendees all looking to network, exchange ideas and stay up to date with industry developments. With many new and innovative products on display in 2019 airlines, rail operators and onboard  caterers attended the show with the knowledge they would find new suppliers and new products to excite and delight their customers. Education was also key at the 2019 event with many hot topics up for debate including, sustainability, free-from dining and the reduction of plastic onboard.


2020 was an unpreceded year, and for the first time ever we had to cancel the event due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst we weren’t able to meet face to face, and we all had to adjust to new ways of working, we were fortunate to be able to run two successful PEC Virtual Series of webinars covering all the hot topics which would have been at the event. A total of 14 webinar sessions took place across the summer and autumn of 2020, with fantastic participation and feedback as we continued to support the industry.

For any airline or customer that wants to be doing what the top five airlines are doing then this is the place to be.

Sajad Nazir
Senior Manager for Sales and Marketing , Qatar Airways