More than 500 youth, student and educational travel industry delegates from around the world have descended on Montreal, Canada for the 2017 World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC). This year’s conference attracted a record number of first-time attendees from the world’s most exciting segment of tourism – more than 100 are new to WYSTC.

For those attending the WYSE Travel Confederation’s premier global youth tourism event for the first time, the new delegates reception was a great introduction.

The event, which preceded the welcome reception, was a 30-minute meet and greet with fellow ‘newbies’ and some friendly WYSTC Ambassadors. The group convened at Cirque Eloize, a funky local venue with a long history.

David Chapman, Director General of WYSE Travel Confederation, gave a welcoming introduction and encouraged new WYSTC delegates to seek out the ambassadors.

This year’s first time attendees came from diverse backgrounds, companies, and motivations for their WYSTC attendance, but all are here to learn and to grow their businesses.

David O’Malley, new to WYSTC and to the World Nomads UK team, has a full schedule of business appointments, but still hopes to find time to visit the seminars, and workshops, especially to engage his area of interest – emergency preparedness.

On the other hand Brian Yang (PhoneBox Canada), Kalyn Murdock (FortWhyte Alive) and Tim Lucier (Northern Edge Algonquin), hosted by Destination Canada, are taking advantage of the proximity of WYSTC to them this year. However, Tim confessed that he has been looking at attending for 4 to 5 years, now. “I have no excuse not to come now,” he said.

Andres Mulger of Hostel Iquique in Peru has come much further to join WYSTC. While he already has three successful hostels, he is looking to diversify his offering and attending WYSTC to learn how to set up educational programmes.

Hazel Yao of Wanderlust Exchange has a very strong inbound programme to China, particularly for TEFL teachers looking for an immersive experience, but she, like many others, is looking to diversify.

Central to WYSTC is one thing: doing business. Delegates are all here to do business, but business for one company isn’t necessarily the same for the other. For some it’s simply to grow what they already do, while for others it’s to add new programmes, and for others it’s learning about the industry, planning and strategising. Whatever the reason, this week they are in the right place to do business – WYSTC 2017 Montreal.