WTM will remain a four-day trade-focused event despite criticism over stands being unmanned on the Thursday.

Some in the trade voiced their dismay and anger over the number of stands which were left empty on the last day of the event. Many took to Facebook group Travel Gossip, with some asking whether they would be given a refund for travelling the distance to WTM only to be met with unmanned stands.

A spokeswoman for WTM said exhibitors were always encouraged to make the most of all four days and that they receive letters if their stalls are unmanned.

Organisers said exhibitor research had shown overwhelming support for WTM to remain a four-day event.

More than 50,000 delegates attended this year, and while the Monday to Wednesday period saw attendance grow by between 5 and 12%, Thursday figures remained almost flat with only a 1% increase on 2012.

When asked whether the event might open up to the general public, the spokeswoman said: “World Travel Market is a travel trade event focused on facilitating business deals between exhibitors and buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club.

“WTM 2013 is anticipated to facilitate more than £2 billion in industry deals, which is an increase on last year’s £1.8 billion. This is in part due to an 8% increase in buyers for WTM 2013.

“Every year we conduct comprehensive research with our exhibitor and the overwhelming response is that they want WTM to remain a travel trade event, focused on the signing of business deals that expands and improves their businesses.”