This year's Caribbean section at WTM didn't disappoint with plenty of gimmicks and special motives recreating the fun-loving aspect of carefree island living at its best and most colourful. We stopped at various stands to get into the quintessential island spirit and warm up with the tropical vibe. This was, of course, enhanced by the striking visual effect of some strikingly beautiful ladies from the region donning full carnival costumes in full feathery splendour.
Our biggest destination deserves a space all of its own and as such the gallery reflects the diversity of this very peculiar Caribbean island: Cuba - the largest of them all and also the most different and unique. With its signature stand recreating a traditional colonial house like those found in Trinidad (the Cuban city not the Caribbean island) Cuba's place at WTM couldn't be more evocative of all that this country represents. From the station where a skilled roller craftily cuts some aromatic cigar leaves and rolls them to create the finished product to a live band playing traditional Cuban music; it all contributed to creating the perfect image of Cuba's many different sides.
Central and North America
Always full of vibrant colours and home to amazing cultures as well as some of the most virginal natural landscapes and most riveting history, the piece of land that spans from Mexico to Panama certainly packs a powerful punch. We were there to witness its full bloom, from the exuberant verdant shrubbery of lush Costa Rica, famous for its wild rainforests to Panama's eclectic mix of modern attractions and ancient tribe cultures and, of course, the biggest one this year: Mexico! The North American country certainly made an impression with a full set of mariachis serenading an eager audience to celebrate The Year of Mexico in the UK - officially sponsoring this year's World Travel Market.
Big, rich, exotic, wild and often controversial the vast expanse that makes up the South American territory spans not only different landscapes, intriguing cultures and ancient civilisations that date back centuries, but also vibrant and exciting communities, each of which has a very unique charm and character. You'd be wrong to label South America with a single name that encapsulates it all, and boy, they let you know it at WTM this year, with the differently arranged stands that went from heralding Ecuador's strong chocolate-making culture to Colombia's many different faces and Brazil's lively allure.
India and the Indian Ocean
A country as diverse as India deserve an equally big portrayal and nothing quite reflects the philosophy inherent to a large portion of this nation than its yoga lifestyle and their many holistic approaches to preserve the condition of mind and body. From expert yogi masters performing some impossible-looking poses to beautiful girls dressed in the most eye-catching and elaborate of saris. Not to be cast aside, the beautiful islands that dot the Indian Ocean were also justly represented with large posters and animated screens showcasing the idyllic island paradises of Mauritius and the Maldives, to name just two.
The Far East
Always captivating and with that somewhat mystical allure that poses an enigma you're not sure to want to resolve but definitely would like to explore, the mysterious Far East stretched before us at WTM in a flurry of spring colours and cherry blossom trees. On one hand you had Indonesia's myriad cultural landscapes (300 languages coexisting in just one country!) perfectly represented with various wooden artefacts and a very dramatically dressed lady in the most flamboyant of costumes. Elaborate masks and oversized images completed the visual display for Far Eastern cultures, always so distant yet so inviting.
Always wild and exciting, raw and rhythmic, resounding like the beat of a tribal drum, Africa cries out to you like the longing call of Mother Nature. It revives that urge of getting back to basics in the place where they say it all started. The African representation this year was just as evocative, with two giant giraffes pointing to Tanzania, a leopard symbolising Kenya and stands made out to look like wooden huts or rustically made abodes. As the most different of African countries with a history that's all too different from the rest, stood Egypt with an eye-catching stand made to resemble the entrance of an Egyptian palace or tomb with the two ends of a traditional Egyptian boat sticking out from it.
The Middle East
From its most modern side to its nomadic Bedouin tribes, its incredible ancient civilisations and overall fascinating magnetism; the Middle East doesn't leave anyone indifferent and neither did this year's stands at WTM. From the colossal fortress-like arrangements put together by Oman to Dubai's more futuristic outlook and Jordan's very recent links to a very well-known Hollywood film still out in cinemas everywhere; it all couldn't be more instantly enticing and drawing. There was even a fill-in for Matt Damon as Jordan brought in its very own astronaut (a nod to The Martian, seeing it was all filmed in Jordan's Wadi Rum after all).