The World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) welcomed 4,909 visitors to its first live event since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The show, which took place in Hamburg, also celebrated its 10-year anniversary as the leading global event for in-flight catering, onboard services, and passenger comfort, with more than 250 exhibitors from across the catering and onboard services industry welcoming attendees from 138 leading global, regional and low-cost airlines such as Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet.

Abdulrahim Aljneibi, Procurement Manager, Etihad Airways, said: “I came to WTCE to meet up with suppliers face to face and expand our portfolio and build up relationships. We want to discuss and see how the new market is growing. I have really enjoyed the environment here. Everything has been really organised.”

This year’s show included the ever-popular Taste of Travel programme, with a line-up featuring sessions focused on sustainable catering. The programme delivered educational content by passenger experience professionals and sustainability experts and featured cookery demonstrations by some of the industry’s leading chefs and numerous sampling opportunities. Jetvine showcased products from its portfolio, including Fruits for Drinks and MOTH cocktails in a can, while Marc Wade from Libero Special Meals opened the first day of the programme, discussing the dietary needs of special meal passengers.

Visitors were also able to explore technological advances, with subjects ranging from pre-ordering and in-seat ordering to personalised meals and the supply chain. Among the speakers were Maryann Simson from Jetway Communications, Job Heimerikx, CEO of AirFi, Nils Taubert, CEO of Retail in Motion, and Michael Raesch, CEO of Omnevo.

WTCE Event Director Polly Magraw said: “We’re absolutely blown away by the sheer level of industry enthusiasm and support for this year’s show following what has been a very challenging few years for travel.

“It’s clear that while passengers and stakeholders were forced to stay at home and shut down, innovation was still very much top of mind, so we’ve been hugely excited by the new products, services and technologies showcased this year. If this year’s support for WTCE is anything to go by, global travel is well on its way to a fantastic recovery.”

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