Are trade shows still important events in the tourism field? In this increasingly digitized and globalized world, are they still worthy appointments?

The fairs season usually begins at the end of September, early October.

The first event is Hospitality Day in either Rimini or Riccione, normally taking place the day before TTG (B2B international trade fair for tourism). It is a meeting with skilled traders presenting their experiences, services and products. Its value lies above all in the formula by Mauro Santinato, which includes a large group of seminars.

TTG, which begins immediately afterwards, is actually the first great opportunity to meet international operators. It provides very useful workshops, international stands, networking, conferences… a beautiful showcase and a good opportunity to meet friends and colleagues as well.

Professionals obviously have the main goal of meeting with international tour operators in organized workshops, but attending the many seminars about the trends of the just finished summer season is worthwhile too. It’s definitely an event worth participating in, only limited by the number of nights each operator has to place on the market: in fact, tour operators are particularly interested in those who have big product availability, and get to be much less attentive to small family hotels, which they often don’t either schedule. In this case they should join consortia, territorial or niche groups as well as groups of qualified hotels according to the target. Only in this way can they find proper space in the international marketplace.

In London every first half of November WTM (World Travel Market) is held, bringing a big international vision. Each year, alongside booths representing all continents, top-qualified analysis institutes introduce their studies about current year’s trends and forecasts on tourist markets from all over the world. WTM lets you follow year by year research institutes and universities and attend seminars about global tourism aiming to enhance participants’ expansion on new markets.

Then, every first half of December, BTO (Buy Tourism Online) pops up in Florence, with the exclusive attendance of hospitality-oriented technology providers. Seminars are interesting, but there are neither tour operators nor workshops. It provides worthy updating on technologies for tourism.

The most important European fair for this specific industry is ITB. It is held in Berlin every first half of March. American operators consider the German capital as the main portal to the entire European market, so they massively attend it, like Europeans as well.

This year as many as eight pavilions displayed companies specializing in hotel technology. Many novelties showed up there. Additionally, as always, each nation had its pavilion.

This fair is strongly attended, but we mustn’t forget that the German tourist market is numerically the largest in Europe. It is thus advisable to attend the workshops of the tour operators, right due to the size of this market.

The week after ITB, Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (MIT) takes place in Moscow. The Russian market has been up and down, lately due to the ruble’s purchasing power and to the international affairs, but this year a slight recovery has been registered, especially in the luxury segment.

Workshops are advisable only if you have a hotel that meets the needs of that market as for location, stars and quality.

Finally there are BMT in Naples (Mediterranean tourism trade fair) and BIT in Milan.

I deliberately don’t mention Barcelona’s and Paris’ fairs, in the next article I will screen the industry exhibitions – the luxury ones in Moscow and Cannes, the cycling ones as well as those devoted to “vertical” markets, especially about sports.



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