Fo­cus­ing on FI­TUR

Ana Lar­rañaga, Di­rec­tor, FI­TUR, shares in­sights the most im­por­tant busi­ness fair for Spain, which will be held from Jan­uary, 17- 21, 2018 in Madrid

Micetalk - - Contents -

Kindly tell us a bit about FI­TUR. How many ex­hibitors and buy­ers are ex­pected? What is to be the for­mat of the busi­ness meet­ings? FI­TUR will open the in­ter­na­tional tourism trade fair cal­en­dar and al­low pro­fes­sion­als to es­tab­lish the work­ing lines that will set the pat­tern for the en­tire year. We closed the par­tic­i­pa­tion fig­ures at the end of the month. We aim to grow in des­ti­na­tions and com­pa­nies and ex­ceed last year's 9,893 ex­hibitors. In line with the in­dus­try's ro­bust health, as re­flected by the UNWTO's fig­ures of 4-5 per cent growth, we are con­fi­dent of hav­ing a highly dy­namic edi­tion and of ex­ceed­ing the 244,972 trade vis­i­tors from the last edi­tion.

As for busi­ness meet­ings, the for­mat con­tem­plates hold­ing a se­ries of B2B and B2C pre­vi­ously sched­uled meet­ings be­tween FI­TUR ex­hibitors in­ter­ested in form­ing part of this ac­tiv­ity and a se­lec­tion of more than 200 in­ter­na­tional hosted buy­ers, tour op­er­a­tors, travel agen­cies, etc. These work­ing meet­ings, which amounted to 6,800 last year, will be held on Jan­uary 18 and 19

in Hall 9 of FI­TUR. We have also de­vel­oped the PEP (Pro­fes­sional En­counter Point) ap­pli­ca­tion through which ex­hibitors and vis­i­tors can freely sched­ule ini­tia­tives seek­ing to pro­fes­sion­alise the trade fair and fa­cil­i­tate meet­ings.

Are there any sem­i­nars planned dur­ing the con­fer­ence? If yes, kindly tell us about them? We will have var­ied ac­tiv­i­ties start­ing on Tues­day Jan­uary 16, the day be­fore the open­ing of FI­TUR, with the stag­ing of the Ex­cel­tur Fo­rum and the Latin Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence for Tourism Min­is­ters and Busi­ness­men, CIMET. In ad­di­tion, dur­ing the first three days of the trade fair, which are ex­clu­sively de­voted to trade vis­i­tors, we will have con­fer­ences, pre­sen­ta­tions and knowl­edge and in­no­va­tion fo­rums in each one of the spe­cialised sec­tions: Fi­turtechY, Fi­tur Health; Fi­tur KnowHow & Ex­port, Fi­tur LGBT, Fi­tur Shop­ping and, as a nov­elty this year, Fi­tur Fes­ti­vals. FI­TUR will host dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties or­gan­ised re­spec­tively by the UNWTO, In­ves­tur Africa, Casa Asia as well as ses­sions and pre­sen­ta­tions by var­i­ous

busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions, tour op­er­a­tors, car­ri­ers and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, among many others.

Dur­ing the week­end, the days when the trade fair opens its doors to the pub­lic, hun­dreds of en­ter­tain­ing and in­ter­ac­tive ac­tiv­i­ties have been sched­uled.

Which new ex­hibitors should one re­ally look out for at the event?

For us the en­tire FI­TUR of­fer is of great in­ter­est, but if we fo­cus on this edi­tion's nov­el­ties, I would high­light the pres­ence of India as FI­TUR's part­ner coun­try and con­se­quently the wide ar­ray of pro­pos­als for pro­mot­ing the des­ti­na­tion that will be staged by this Asian power. The India Hall is in fact reg­is­ter­ing an over­all in­crease of 35 per cent in par­tic­i­pa­tion, with the pres­ence of more re­gions and busi­ness.

Other nov­el­ties we should not lose sight of are those in­volv­ing tech­nol­ogy, specif­i­cally the pre­sen­ta­tion of 5G pro­to­types for the tourism in­dus­try, as a re­sult of the work be­ing un­der­taken since Septem­ber by a team of re­searchers in the IFEMA LAB 5G. It is of­fer­ing a vi­sion of a not very dis­tant fu­ture that will com­pletely trans­form the way we ex­pe­ri­ence and man­age tourism, thanks to ac­cess to vir­tu­ally un­lim­ited com­mu­ni­ca­tions, data and com­put­ing ser­vices in real time.

Lastly, I would high­light the in­cor­po­ra­tion of the new FI­TUR Fes­ti­vals sec­tion, which will show­case the po­ten­tial for the tourism in­dus­try of fes­ti­vals and the des­ti­na­tions that host them.

How has FI­TUR helped to in­crease in­bound as well as out­bound tourism to Spain over the years? How has the show grown in stature? Our task is to place the best plat­form for pro­fes­sional and trade meet­ings at the in­dus­try's dis­posal and there­fore to gather around FI­TUR the broad­est rep­re­sen­ta­tion of in­ter­na­tional in­dus­try, both pub­lic and pri­vate. This is all packed into five days of in­tense ac­tiv­ity in which we sit­u­ate the en­tire na­tional and in­ter­na­tional tourism of­fer in a highly dy­namic show­case of ex­tra­or­di­nary vis­i­bil­ity and of course with ma­jor busi­ness po­ten­tial. As for trade fair growth, we ex­pect to ex­ceed the five per cent fig­ure.

What is Spain plan­ning to show­case dur­ing FI­TUR 2018?

FI­TUR will echo the broad and di­verse Span­ish tourism of­fer­ings in the halls oc­cu­pied by all of our coun­try's au­tonomous com­mu­ni­ties and re­gions as well as the nu­mer­ous stands of tourism com­pa­nies spe­cial­is­ing in fields such as trans­porta­tion, ac­com­mo­da­tion, tour op­er­a­tors and, of course, tech­nol­ogy. A com­pre­hen­sive of­fer that in 2017, and for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive time, has po­si­tioned the Span­ish tourism in­dus­try as the most com­pet­i­tive in the world, ac­cord­ing to the re­port is­sued ev­ery two years by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum. In this re­gard, FI­TUR vis­i­tors will view a com­pre­hen­sive dis­play of the coastal and in­land tourism ty­polo­gies of­fered by our coun­try, its nat­u­ral re­sources, gas­tron­omy, cul­tural of­fer­ing, mu­sic –in the new FI­TUR Fes­ti­vals sec­tion, tourist ser­vices and in­fra­struc­tures, air­port and port con­nec­tions, health tourism – in FI­TUR Health, shop­ping tourism in FI­TUR Shop­ping, Gay tourism in FI­TUR LGBT, se­cu­rity and pre­pared­ness for ICTs, among many other pro­pos­als. Plus, as I al­ready men­tioned, FI­TUR will an­tic­i­pate the fu­ture with a pi­o­neer­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that will pro­vide an over­view of the po­ten­tial of 5G tech­nol­ogy for the tourism in­dus­try by pre­sent­ing

The India Hall is in fact reg­is­ter­ing an over­all in­crease of 35 per cent in par­tic­i­pa­tion

a se­ries of re­ally in­ter­est­ing pro­to­types. We will also have tech­nol­ogy as the con­nect­ing thread in the Fi­turtechY sec­tion, which will show­case the in­no­va­tions that are trans­form­ing the in­dus­try.

How is the MICE in­dus­try do­ing in Spain? Which im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences are lined up for 2018?

MICE tourism is, with­out a doubt, a key re­source in the con­tin­u­ing ex­pan­sion and quest for im­prove­ments in our coun­try's meet­ings in­dus­try. In fact, Spain holds on to fifth place in the 2017 rank­ing of the In­ter­na­tional Congress and Con­ven­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (ICCA) and Madrid –the site of FI­TUR– was re­cently cho­sen by in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als as the best MICE 2017 des­ti­na­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Ibe­rian Busi­ness Travel As­so­ci­a­tion – IBTA; a recog­ni­tion that puts the fin­ish­ing touch on the pos­i­tive bal­ance with which the cap­i­tal closed 2017 and on which IFEMA's ac­tiv­ity made a spe­cial im­pact, both in re­gard to the or­gan­i­sa­tion of trade fairs, con­ven­tions and con­gresses area. Sev­eral im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional con­gresses and the re­turn to IFEMA of the largest world gath­er­ing of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­gre­di­ents in­dus­try, CPhI, with Fe­ria de Madrid fa­cil­i­ties and with more than 35,000 at­ten­dees ar­riv­ing from around the world, con­firms 2018 as a record year. How has in­bound tourism to Spain grown? From where does Spain get its max­i­mum tourists? Where does India stand?

Tourism in Spain en­joys very good health; in 2016 it re­ceived 75.3 mil­lion trav­ellers and is one of the three most vis­ited coun­tries in the world ac­cord­ing to the UNWTO. The largest num­ber of tourists re­ceived last year came from the EU, mainly United King­dom, France and Ger­many, and this year it ex­pects to break a new vis­i­tor record ac­cord­ing to fore­casts of our coun­try's Min­istry of En­ergy, Tourism and Dig­i­tal Agenda. Re­gard­ing tourists from East Asia, and India in par­tic­u­lar, in­creases were also reg­is­tered which, ac­cord­ing to the UNWTO, stood at 18.42 per cent in 2016.

Madrid was re­cently cho­sen as the best MICE 2017 des­ti­na­tion, as per IBTA

Madrid seems to have over­taken Paris as the gas­tro­nomic cap­i­tal of the world. Your com­ment on this.

In ef­fect, a Span­ish city, San Sebastián in the Basque Coun­try, was cho­sen the World's Best Gas­tro­nomic Des­ti­na­tion ac­cord­ing to an in­ter­na­tional sur­vey that also places Barcelona and Madrid in fourth and sev­enth place re­spec­tively. Prod­uct qual­ity and culi­nary va­ri­ety are un­doubt­edly some of our coun­try's ma­jor tourist at­trac­tions and we will con­firm this at FI­TUR not only at the Basque Coun­try stand but also in those of the rest of the re­gions, which have an equally pow­er­ful gas­tro­nomic of­fer that at this time is an­other of the ma­jor mo­ti­va­tions for trav­el­ling.

Ana Lar­rañaga

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