The 30th edition of the International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR, will take place between January 20-24, 2010. This event, organized by IFEMA, has maintained its high level of participation in relation to the previous edition, with around 11,000 companies from approximately 170 countries or regions. These companies will be occupying 75,000 square meters of net exhibition space at the Feria de Madrid.
This edition of FITUR will be attended for the first time by official representatives from countries such as Uganda, the Republic of Ghana, and Kuwait, as well as territories such as Abu Dhabi, thus boosting international participation in the trade fair. These destinations are intensifying the presence of two regions of the world with enormous potential for the development of tourism: Africa and the Middle East. Belize will also be there for the first time, represented by its national hotel association. In the meantime, official bodies representing the Seychelles and Burkina Faso are back after missing the event last year, showing just how useful FITUR is to them for promotional purposes, and their wish to attend the Trade Fair, which is such an efficient business platform for them.
Some companies are also back at the event after staying away last year. This is the case of car rental companies Avis, Europcar, and Hertz, and groups such as Barceló. Among the newcomers to FITUR is FEVE (Spanish Narrow Gauge Railways), which will be presenting the La Robra Express route (a line connecting Leon with Bilbao), and ADIF (Administrator of Railway Infrastructures), which will feature the high-speed line that will link Madrid with Valencia in just over 90 minutes. Ship companies include NCL with the official launch of Norwegian Epic, its biggest, most innovative vessel, and MSC Cruises which has added the MSC Magnífica to its fleet. Numerous hotel chains will be using the Trade Fair to promote their newest establishments. These include Hoteles Sandos, Grupo Piñeiro, Vincci, Rafael Hoteles, and Sol Meliá. They will be accompanied by tour operators and other companies providing services to tourists.
Spain’s Autonomous Communities have once again chosen FITUR 2010 as the ideal venue for unveiling their revamped offerings for tourists. Some of the most significant events this year include Jacobean Holy Year 2010 in Galicia, while Murcia is celebrating the Jubilee Year of Caravaca, and Castile and Leon is commemorating 1,100 years since the creation of the Kingdom of Leon. Together with these events, other regions are taking advantage of the trade fair to present their new promotional campaigns and latest programs.
The Spanish Promotion Boards and Organizations will occupy all the odd–numbered halls at the Feria de Madrid, while hall 1 will be set aside for access and registration of journalists and trade professionals to speed up access to the site. International programs are distributed among halls 2, 4, 6, and part of 8. The remainder of 8 and 10 are reserved for the business area, while 14.1 will host FITUR CONGRESOS.
To adapt to the industry’s current needs and with a view to helping stimulate the market, FITUR has stepped up its efforts to boost businesses in the tourism industry. This is the philosophy behind the creation of the INBOUND SPAIN sector, which groups together companies promoting Spain as tourist destination, making it easier for the numerous buyers who come to the Trade Fair in search of this type of product to find what they are looking for.
FITUR’s commitment to the travel industry, the World Tourism Organization, and Casa Africa are the driving forces behind the creation of INVESTOUR, which encourages Spanish investment in tourism projects in Africa, thus supporting economic growth and creating employment in African nations. The forum makes its debut this year, and its guest region is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Among the projects presented so far, many come from Burkina Faso and Togo, as well as initiatives in Angola, Benin, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Morocco, Mauritania, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Congo, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leon, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, and Uganda.
Further evidence of FITUR’s involvement with the industry and its determination to foster sustainable development in the tourism sector is FITUR GREEN, created with the Madrid Tourist Board and the WTO. This forum comprises an exhibition area and a conference where sector professionals can discover devices that encourage energy efficiency in destinations and accommodation and the benefits to be gained by using them. Among the firms located in this exhibition area are some of the most important from the renewable energy sector, which include Robert Bosch España S.A., TÜV Rheinland Iberica, and Home Hotel Energy.
In addition to this, the travelers’ social network Mi Nube will be holding a “Travellers’ Meetup” at the trade fair on January 23, where everyone interested can go along to share experiences and listen to recommendations from other travel lovers. Experts from this website will also be there to give advice to members of the public visiting FITUR on January 23 and 24 about where to find stands with the information and destinations they are looking for, as well as helping them to plot the best route to get the most from a visit to the Trade Fair.
New initiatives join traditional proposals at the Trade Fair and its technical conferences, which serve as a meeting point for trade professionals, the speeches at FITURTECH, highlighting cutting-edge technology applied to tourism and the FITUR-Anestur-Turijobs employment workshop, where human resources managers from the participating companies will be able to meet with the most-qualified candidates.
With all these initiatives and the other activities organized, FITUR is once again showing its commitment to tourism as a marketing and promotional platform and a meeting point for the tourism industry.