The spread is on the increase? The desire to travel is ever-increasing. This was confirmed by UNWTO – UN World Tourism Organization, which forecasted a steaming summer for 2012, and not just in regard to the weather! Globally, travellers totalled around 415 million. That is almost 40% up on summer 2011, mostly due to outgoing from the BRICS countries. And in Italy, according to many surveys, if investment were increased, resulting total tourism could equal 20% of GDP, compared to just the current 10%.
A whole host of opportunities presents itself, and in order to allow business growth, every single meeting counts and every single handshake. This is the driving philosophy behind the new 2013 Bit concept, at fieramilano, Rho, from Thursday, February 14-Sunday, February 17. It’s a marketplace, a relationship platform, where Italy sells to the world and the world sells to Italy, designed for business-to-business dealings, facilitating commercial collaboration and tourist promotion.
“We have heavily invested in order to give all trade members a range of made-to-measure solutions for varying needs, explained Marco Serioli, Exhibition Division Director for Fiera Milano, from tour operators, vital for the purchasing of accommodation space in Italy and abroad, to travel agents, essential in selling the various services. A strategy which permits the promotion of the territory and reasons for travelling, to meeting top international buyers, facilitates the building and promotion of packages and the diffusion of available services. And not forgetting the general public, whose trade members can meet in an organized manner, in events separate from those involving businesses. Bit is much more than a trade fair: a place and a time to talk about trends, to learn, to listen, ever more at the center of what is now a strategic industry for the entire country: tourism.”
These changes mean that Bit, which since 1980 has been a reference point for the international tourism industry, is reconfirmed as the business-to-business event for all trade members underlining its role as the ideal venue for signing contracts and meeting clients. The numbers are 90,000 confirmed visitors, 60,000 of whom are from trade, and 44% of which are travel agents. With 2,000 exhibitors from 120 countries across 86,000 m2, Bit is the place to receive new input, learn trends in advance for the following year, and check-up on business decisions.
Bit is also a business-to-consumer event, where you can meet an informed and capable traveling public, influencers who are active on various social networks. And so Bit is the ideal Italian trade fair for generating WOMM (word-of-mouth marketing), and is vital in creating buzz marketing and viral marketing strategies.
Among the travelers, all 30,000 of them who visited Bit in 2012, 72% use Internet, social networks, and forums; 48% take advantage of travel agents; and 23% are actively engaged in word-of-mouth activities. Among the most commonly requested trips are, at the top, coastal vacations at 53%, followed by culture and cities of art with 41%. The bronze medal, somewhat surprisingly, is taken by adventure vacations with 30%, while weekend breaks attract 26%.
In reality, what changes?
Within the Italy sector, the new concept betters the visitor experience, introducing 4 macro-zones: food&wine, culture, nature, and sports.
The Tourism Collection becomes an actual Business Village (halls 2/4), facilitating contact between players with matched business interests. The Business Village, open only to trade on Thursday, February 14-Saturday, February 16, will unite tour operators; cruise liner managers; hotel chains; sea, air, and train transport; rental businesses; and services and technological businesses. A packed schedule of training events and participative activities will involve travel agents and trade members. The ADUTEI, Destination and Travel Training rooms, so participated in during the 2012 edition, will be back.
And there are some updates in regard to the Bit workshops, Bit Buyitaly, and Bit Buy Club.
At Bit Buyitaly, the most important workshop is in regard to Italian supply, and the days will be subdivided according to themes – leisure, culture/food&wine, luxury and MICE/Business Travel – with the first day devoted to pre-scheduled meetings at the stands (for regions with stands over 200 m2) and the following days will be for pre-scheduled meetings with the Buyitaly area. Also, as of this year, a seller pass does not enforce participation as a co-exhibitor. An area devoted to OLTA (On Line Travel Agencies) will allow meeting between key industry players.
Bit Buyitaly permits the meeting of 2,000 selected sellers operating in accommodation, real estate, tour operating, and MICE transport with 700 top international buyers from over 60 countries, giving those from strongly-developing countries a helping hand: BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and eastern European countries. A time for talking business in an exclusively professional environment, which trade members specialized in Italian incoming will be able to access directly via an online system of pre-scheduled meetings, created prior to the trade event, using an advance system of business matching.
Being at Bit Buyitaly means opening up a world of business opportunities, quickly starting-up viable business deals. Bit Buyitaly 2012 registered 43% new buyers and over 18,000 meetings. Seventy-five percent of trade members stated that they closed a contract during the workshop.
Bit Buy Club devotes an entire day to association trade professionals who choose tourism out of passion, who have direct knowledge of the product, and who influence their members in their choice of trip. In its sixth edition, the workshop represents an exclusive opportunity to develop new ideas and create non-seasonal tourist packages. At the Bit Buy Club, 150 national and international sellers selected from tour operators, travel agents, and commercial trade organizations will meet with 100 national and international buyers, such as CRAL (business recreational groups) and other work-based recreational clubs, thematic associations, clubs, and interest groups from 11 countries.