From 10-12 September 2019 the Expocentre in Moscow hosted the prestigious 25th anniversary of the OTDYKH Leisure expo. Over the course of three days almost 15,000 travel industry experts attended the fair, and over 600 exhibitors participated from 35 countries and 41 Russian regions. The expo showcased developments in a range of sectors, such as industrial, event, medical, sports and gastronomic tourism. Companies from across the travel industry took part, including tour operators, hotels, resorts, airlines and transport companies.
This ground-breaking event was officially endorsed by the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Culture, the Federal Agency for Tourism, the Russian Union of the Travel Industry and the Russian Association of Tour Operators.
The opening ceremony of the expo was attended by an official delegation, headed by the Deputy Minister of Culture, Alla Manilova. Also present were the Advisor of the Head of the Federal Tourism Agency, Elena Lysenkova, and the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Maksim Fateev. Other esteemed guests included the ambassadors of Brunei, Spain, Mexico, Myanmar, Moldova, Panama and Egypt.
A range of top international tourist destinations had exclusive stands at the event, including the Dominican Republic, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Spain, Serbia, Cuba, Tunis, Morocco, Taiwan, Egypt etc.
In addition to the returning exhibitors, the OTDYKH Leisure Fair 2019 welcomed a number of newcomers; among them were Iran, Taipei, Jamaica and Moldova. Cuba was a sponsor country for the first time.
41 Russian regions participated in the event. The newcomer regions were Astrakhan, Volgograd and Kemerovo, the Republic of Mari El, Khakassia and Sakha (Yakutia).They showcased the best of what the Russian Federation has to offer, and in particular the Komi Republic was announced as a sponsor region.
B2B Marketing Events
The highlight of the expo was a series of exclusive B2B marketing events for the exhibitors. These included roundtable meetings between leading Russian tour operators and international organisations, as well as a sales-call service and bespoke workshops by industry professionals. One of the stand-out events was the B2B Speed Dating service, where industry specialists were granted the opportunity to have back-to-back, individual meetings at the exhibitors’ stands. The roundtable discussions facilitated productive exchanges on a diverse range on topics including international security, charter flights and the simplification of tourist visa procedures for Russian citizens.
The Hosted Buyer Program
Another highlight of the expo was the hotly anticipated Hosted Buyer Program 2019, where high-level buyers, tour operators and travel agencies from 18 Russian regions held meetings with exhibitors. An innovative new matchmaking system, debuted at the 25th edition of the OTDYKH Leisure Fair, allowed exhibitors to schedule meetings in advance in a specially designated business area, resulting in 430 meetings over the course of the event.
The Business Program
The OTDYKH Leisure Fair 2019 featured a comprehensive business program, comprised of 45 business events with over 150 speakers and almost 2,700 participants, cementing its status as a leading industry platform in Russia. Talks centred on the trends currently dominating the tourism market, and how they are projected to develop in the near future.
On the first day of the event, discussions focused on the development of domestic and inbound tourism in Russia. Other prominent seminars explored the role of creative industries, the growing popularity of folkloric culture and the impact of digital technology in the travel industry. On the second day talks centred on the rise of medical tourism in Russia, IT solutions in travel and new trends in business tourism. On the final day the topics were event tourism (such as the 2018 FIFA World Cup) and the development of industrial tourism in the Arctic. An important part of the program on the third day was the discussion on ecotourism, and the increasingly relevant role of ecology in tourism.
The final day of the expo ended on a creative note with a video competition entitled “Hello Russia, My Homeland!” in which a record number of videos were entered, showing the best tourist attractions from across the Russian Federation.
The next OTDYKH Leisure Fair will take place on 8-10 September 2020, at the Expocentre in Moscow, Russia.