FITUR 2011 Drew More Than 209,000 Visitors

By Ifema, PRNE
Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Fair Will Hold its Next Edition From 18 to 22 January, 2012

MADRID, February 18, 2011 - The 31st edition of the International Tourism Trade Fair,
FITUR, closed on January 23, confirming the trend towards recovery in the
industry and with results in line with the data on growth provided by the
World Tourism Organization, which in 2010 registered a 6.7% increase in
international travel.

In this context, FITUR 2011 maintained participation rates
with respect to those of the previous edition, with the presence of 10,434
companies from 166 countries and/or regions. As for attendance figures, there
were 209,260 visitors between tourism professionals and the general public,
coming to FITUR in order to promote their tourism businesses or to find out
about new deals and destinations for their next vacations. Among the
participation figures of note was the presence of 7,726 journalists from 59
countries, a turnout that demonstrates the importance of FITUR as the first
event of the year on the international circuit of tourism sector fairs and
its key role as a platform for the media to become aware of the latest
tourism-related developments.

The 2011 edition was marked by the return of Iberia and its
exhibition space, the leading airline for the Spanish and Latin American
markets, which participated with its partner British Airways while also
promoting the Fair by assuming the chairmanship of the FITUR Organizing
Committee. In addition to the airline, returning were other major companies
in the sector such as Accor, Amadeus and National ATESA, just to name a few.
The return of these firms contributed, among other factors, to the 3% boost
in the business area, growth that has enhanced the trade fair's standing and
professional clout.


FITUR's capacity to act as a commercial platform and the
highly professional profile of its visitors open new opportunities for key
players in the tourism business: "Our assessment of the Fair is positive. In
fact, it exceeded our expectations. After two years away as exhibitors, we
hoped to arrange a number of professional meetings similar to 2008, and we
were pleasantly surprised, as we beat those figures by 35%. Besides the
intense activity at our stand, we detected attendance at the Fair by
professionals with very clear goals, well-defined agendas and who were
definitely willing to make the most of their visits," commented Inigo
, marketing director for Amadeus Spain. Meanwhile, Antonio
, president and founder of AC Hotels, stressed the capacity of the
event as a framework for the promotion and presentation of new developments:
"At AC Hotels we are very pleased with our participation at this edition of
FITUR, which we chose as the setting for the official presentation of our
agreement with Marriott International and our all new AC Hotels by Marriott
brand, which will begin operating as such in May of this year. We are
especially optimistic about this year because we see very strong growth
opportunities for our new brand, and we are very excited about our plans for
growth and international expansion."

Other businesspeople also confirmed the usefulness of FITUR
for their companies, such as Jose Maria Belaunde, managing partner of
Ruralka: "Ruralka's visibility at FITUR is increasing year after year, as a
growing influx of customers and potential users come to our stand looking for
more information or forms of collaboration. Next year we'll be back at FITUR
because it represents an ideal showcase for a company like Ruralka, as it is
the ideal environment to physically interact with the public, to reconnect
with our customers, and to present our project and its developments to both
the press and our professional colleagues. It is also an ideal event to spot
trends, learn about new technologies and open new channels."


Like Ruralka, according to polls conducted after the Fair,
many other exhibitors have already expressed their intention to attend the
2012 edition: 93.4% of the participants. This willingness endorses the
event's success for yet another year, validating its position as a leader on
the international tourism fair circuit and an undisputed gateway connecting
the Latin American and European markets. In short, a fundamental forum to
promote both destinations to the public and to establish fruitful relations
that result in commercial exchanges: "FITUR is and has been for years the
most important tourism event for us. We have increased our stand's square
footage throughout this time to present Argentina and its services and
destinations in the best way possible. "Fitur is essential for us, as it
continues to attract not only large numbers of visitors, but also the world's
most important companies and destinations," said Argentina's Tourism Minister
Carlos Enrique Meyer.

At the 2011 edition a series of initiatives were put in place
to reflect the tourism industry's dynamism and FITUR's ability to respond to
the new needs arising in the sector. With this objective, FITUR LGBT was
organized, a section dedicated to programs aimed at lesbians, gays, bisexuals
and transsexuals, one of the markets with the greatest potential for growth.
The result of this first meeting was successful for participants. "The
experience has been very positive with regards to our goals: positioning our
destination, projecting our image to marketers, and media positioning to
generate awareness of the destination among potential customers. These have
been covered," said Raul Cabrera, Head of Trade Promotion for the
Fuerteventura Tourism Board.


Also, 2011 also saw the opening of the 1st FITUR B2B Workshop,
an event that aims to serve as a meeting place to promote networking between
professionals and business exchanges. In total, in just one morning 360
meetings were scheduled between international buyers and exhibitors. The
promotion of B2B meetings was also promoted by FITUR MEETINGS & EVENTS which,
during one working day, brought together 115 Spanish suppliers and 68
international buyers from 30 countries. In total, 1,573 appointments were
set, in 56% of cases featuring interest expressed by both buyers and sellers,
evidencing the great potential of these encounters to lead to fruitful
relationships for both.

In addition to these programs, in this 31st edition of FITUR
other initiatives were brought back which had already achieved widespread
acclaim last year. These efforts were designed to actively contribute to
making tourism a driving force behind the development of disadvantaged areas,
and to implement a more sustainable and environmentally friendly kind of
tourism. In this context, for the second consecutive year INVESTOUR was held,
organized by FITUR, Casa Africa and the UN-WTO to promote contacts between
qualified Spanish investors and African tourism agents. At these B2B meetings
projects were presented from 33 African countries supporting international
partnerships to build a model of sustainable tourism: "INVESTOUR is an
initiative to help develop the tourism sector in Africa. We also believe that
it is important for Spanish businesspeople to diversify and to have among
their tourism products options featuring the kind of quality and exclusivity
offered by many places on this continent, so we offer this meeting forum to
promote partnerships, especially by connecting private and public operators
in a setting like FITUR, which also allows the agenda to be open to meetings
with professionals every day of the Fair," notes Luis Padilla Macabeo,
Secretary General of Casa Africa.


Without any doubt, also important at FITUR 2011 was the
tourism industry's commitment to the environment, illustrated by, among other
features, the event's FITUR GREEN section, which aims to raise awareness and
promote the implementation of solutions aimed at energy efficiency,
sustainability and cost optimization, factors that also benefit the end user.

Another program that seeks to enhance tourism competitiveness,
and which attracts more and more people at every edition, is FITURTECH. The
forum, organized in collaboration with the Hotel Technology Institute (HTI),
indicates the Fair's aspiration for professionals to obtain maximum benefits
from the use of new technologies for their businesses. Organizers say that
this interest is growing at each edition, which also reveals a rising trend
for professionals to "listen to the views of successful colleagues who are
doing things differently." The 2011 seminars focused on the analysis of
innovation and mobility in 21st-century tourism and attracted more than 1,000
people to the FITURTECH room, as confirmed by Alvaro Carrillo de Albornoz,
General Director of HTI: "There were more people every day and, above all, a
different feeling. We have already bottomed out, and now all the comments are
focused on future growth this year to win back customers and profitability
and to grow. And that's exciting."


In addition to presenting suppliers and new developments,
promoting business meetings between professionals and training, FITUR also
acted to promote research in the sector as a means to seek excellence in the
marketplace. To this end, 17 years ago the FITUR Jorge Vila Fradera Prize was
established, which this year saw a substantial increase in the number of
submissions, which totaled 14. The winner was "An analysis of wine tourism in
Spain: the effects of certified regional wines on the choice of
destinations," by Maria del Mar Gomez Rico. This work of research explores
the influence of Spanish "DO" labels and reveals tourists' interest in
increasingly specialized products: "The 2011 FITUR / Vila Fradera Prize
represents a seal of guaranteed quality in research on tourism in Spain and,
as such, validates the study. Therefore, this award will bring added value to
my research work in the wine tourism sector," concluded Maria del Mar Gomez
, author of the selected study.


In the days devoted to the general public, FITUR 2011 sought
to respond to a clear demand from tourists: to be ever more in command of
their travels, their preparation, their activities … To this end, the
traditional Peoples of the World Folk Festival became the 1st Interactive
Folklore Marathon, where attendees were able to learn salsa with five-time
world champions from Colombia, discover the secrets of embroidery used in
Galicia to decorate traditional garb, or find out about the angklung,
Indonesian instruments made of bamboo. At this event the audience was able to
share the stage with the experts: "It was a unique opportunity to dance with
the world salsa champions. An unforgettable experience that FITUR gave us,"
said Vera Villegas thankfully, one of the participants in the salsa seminar
Folkloreart With Us.

The public was also at center stage for the activities
organized in collaboration with the travel network, where
attendees were able to find out about new destinations at FITUR and share
their experiences traveling the world, as recalled Raul Jimenez, CEO and
founder of Minube. com: "The Travellers' Meetup, drawing about 1,000 people,
was a really well-attended event at which, in addition, participants assured
us they had a great time. Meanwhile, the Travellers' Gymkhana and the
Speaker's Corner managed to shine a light on travellers, while information
points guided visitors towards the much more segmented exhibitors. Above all,
I think it has helped the traveller to feel important and to enjoy what he
loves: travel. So, our objectives have been amply fulfilled."

Participation by visitors was also reflected in the
interaction on social networks where, only on Facebook, FITUR attracted
nearly 10,300 fans, in addition to those who joined in on Twitter, Linked In,
and those commenting on the FITUR blog. Not to mention the people who checked
out videos and photographs of the Fair on Flickr and YouTube.

The positive impressions transmitted by representatives from
different areas of the Fair , along with the satisfaction expressed by
professionals and the public, allow those involved to look forward with
enthusiasm and excitement to the next edition of FITUR, to be held between 18
and 22 January, 2012.

    More information for the press

    Marina Tejerina Ortega
    Press Officer
    Tel +34-91-722-58-24

    Elena Valera
    International Press
    Tel +34-91-722-51-74

More information for the press: Marina Tejerina Ortega, Press Officer, Tel +34-91-722-58-24, e-mail: marina.tejerina at; Elena Valera, International Press, Tel +34-91-722-51-74, e-mail: evalera at

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