This year’s overriding theme sees a strong refocus on European source markets. The consensus emerging from delegates is that the global downturn is dampening non-European demand, especially North America; however European cities are proving surprisingly resilient as travellers within the Continent stay closer to home and with products they know and trust.The old favourites such as Rome, Vienna and Bruges are reporting business as usual, with strong interest from new buyers at the exhibition.
“Travellers tend to go with what they know in times of economic uncertainty, especially if you are cutting down on your travel, so somewhere like Rome will always remain popular,” said Angelo Lopez of AtLazio, the regional tourism office for Rome and Lazio.
The show, which is now in its fifth year, features a new partnership between Reed Travel Exhibitions and the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA).
Reed continues to own and license the event, but ETOA now handles the management and operations, using its track record in running workshops based on appointment-based system. This in particular allows City Break to tap into ETOA European buyer membership, as witnessed by the healthy turn-out of tour operators.
The two-day event is also proving an excellent opportunity for Gothenburg to showcase its attractions to the travel trade. After a busy first day of networking, delegates headed across the road to Lisberg - a charming amusement park with almost 40 attractions, ranging from gentle children’s carousels and a fairy tale castle to dizzying high-speed rides, water rides, tall towers and terrifying ghosts. One of its four rollercoasters includes Balder, which has twice been voted the world’s best wooden roller coaster by international roller coaster aficionados.
Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city is developing a burgeoning reputation as an events city. Running concurrently with City Break Expo, it is also hosting the UEFA Under 21 Football Championships this week.
The city’s sustainable tourism efforts are also at the fore, with Wauglen Vildmark, a green hostel that has become the latest company in West Sweden to receive Europe-wide Nature’s Best accreditation for eco-tourism nature trips. Meanwhile a new spa hotel overlooking the Gullmar Fjord and set within a nature reserve has just opened.
Gothenburg unique charm is winning plaudits from across the travel trade - in particular how it effortlessly combines the bustle and excitement of a thriving city with a laid-back ambience that feels like the countryside.