From the show: Exhibitors at WTM largest in event's history By David Cogswell / November 17, 2005 Share 1 -- Britains tourism minister opens eventJames Purnell, Britains minister for creative industries and tourism told attendees at the opening of the World Travel Market that despite the London bombings of July 2005, visitor numbers have kept up very well and the latest figures indicate that 2005 numbers will exceed those of 2004.Britains winning of perhaps the greatest prize, the 2012 Olympics, make it a particularly exciting time to be involved in tourism in Britain, Purnell said.The minister said he was hugely impressed by the scale of the event and expressed gratitude to international visitors who have not been deterred coming to Britain by the bombings.He called the tourism industry absolutely key to the world economy for its effect on job creation, economic growth, national friendship, peace and understanding.Purnell, whose grandparents ran a bed and breakfast in Devon, England, said Britain is looking forward to joining the World Tourism Organization this year in order to play our full part in promoting tourism. -- D.C.LONDON -- The World Travel Market, held Nov. 14 to 17 at ExCel London, broke records for the fourth consecutive year with a 4% increase in exhibitor space. The total of 5,194 exhibitors, including national tourism offices, industry organizations, tour operators, hoteliers, cruise lines, airlines, technology companies and media from 202 countries, represented an increase of 126 over the 2004 event, and the largest number in the events history.Reed Exhibitions, the organizer of the trade show, estimated that $57 billion worth of business would be transacted during the event between exhibitors and visitors. According to Fiona Jeffery, the groups exhibition director, the event drew an estimated 45,000 participants.The increase reflects the growth of the global travel industry, Jeffery said, which grew by 5.9% in the first seven months of 2005 over the same period in 2004, based on international arrivals figures of the World Tourism Organization (WTO). The WTO estimated 460 million international tourist arrivals during the seven-month period, 25 million more than in the same interval during 2004.Several former exhibitors returned to the WTM after absences, including the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and the Colorado and Massachusetts destination marketing organizations. Among the first-time exhibitors were Africas Ivory Coast, Texas, Macau, Cox & Kings, Kuoni Travel and Cendant. To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to email@example.com.