World Travel Market (WTM) is to introduce free hotel coach transfers for the first time as part of a comprehensive strategy to avoid the transport problems of 2008.

The free hotel coach transfers for customers staying at eight central London hotels are one of a number of initiatives WTM is introducing – on its own as well as in co-operation with Transport for London – to help mitigate the poor transport experience of many visitors at last year’s event.

The 2008 transport issues were caused by a number of separate incidents on the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

In addition, WTM has also expanded its bus transfer operation from Canning Town Station to and from ExCeL to supplement the DLR. It is also planning to run a fleet of London Bendy Buses from Canning Town Station, increasing the number of passengers by 65 people per bus.

WTM is also introducing a clearly signposted walking route from Canning Town Station to give visitors an alternative route to and from the event.

The DLR has already promised to increase the frequency of peak trains for the full four days of the show from last year’s 3.3 minutes. It will confirm the train frequency for WTM 2009 in August.

The re-opening of Tower Gateway Station for WTM 2009 will help to ease congestion at Canning Town Station, by allowing people to commence their DLR journey from an earlier station.

River Thames commuter boat operator Thames Clippers is also increasing the frequency of its catamarans from every 15 minutes in 2008 to every 10 minutes for this year’s event.

WTM exhibition director Craig Moyes said: “WTM has done all it can to improve the transport experience of its delegates for this year’s event.

“From the moment the problems arose at WTM 2008, we were contacting influential people and organisations to solve the issues and to attempt to make sure they do not occur again.

“We have since set up a working party of stakeholders to closely monitor the local transport infrastructure. I am confident this will lead to an improved transport experience for delegates at this year’s event.

“Planned transport infrastructure improvements for 2009 and beyond will further reduce the chances of 2008’s problems being repeated.”

The free hotel coach transfer service will operate to and from:

• Millennium Gloucester

• Millennium Mayfair

• Quality Crown Hyde Park

• Radisson Marlborough

• Radisson Kenilworth

• Thistle City Barbican

• Mercure City Bankside

• Quality Crown Kensington