MILAN - Leaving the uncertain summer behind (in August, drop in presences kept down to 1.1% thanks to a 2.1% increase from abroad), the tourism industry now looks to the future. Initiatives like the government’s Strategic Plan, in the final stages of being defined, meeting with the appreciation of regions, or the “Gioielli d’Italia” notification that will make the most of the excellences among the “minor” locality, gives confidence that Italy is understanding the importance of developing quality tourism in terms of the Italian economy.
In this context, the trade fair sector is ready to do its bit. And to the forefront, there is Bit – International Tourism Exchange, event leader in the Italian sector and one of the leaders in the world, with 2,000 exhibitors from 120 countries on 86,000 square meters in the 2012 edition.
The new concept of Bit 2013, from Thursday, February 14 to Sunday, February 17 in the Rho exhibition center, is designed to bring together business and business, facilitating business agreements and tourist promotions. And the markets are reacting favorably, with the first prestigious registrations.
New countries and top players on their way
A number of tourism bodies have already confirmed that they will be attending Bit 2013.
From Europe, Austria, traditional marketing for Italian incoming: first foreign tourist destination for Austrians (over 21%), Italy earns 5% of its tourist currency takings (Banca d’Italia figures) from over the Brennero.
And Russia – one of the most interesting markets of the BRIC countries – is also coming: Russians are particularly passionate about the cities of art, the winter mountain resorts, and the Adriatic Riviera, where their presence was decisive in keeping the August numbers in Emilia Romagna, despite the drop in Italians.
Other significant confirmation is coming in from a traditional area that still has plenty of margins for growth – the Mediterranean basin: from here the Bit offices have already received a “yes” from Cyprus, Israel, Tunisia, and for the first time, Malta.
The heavyweight Asian confirmation comes from India, with the world’s second highest economic growth: at the moment, there are about 400,000 Indians in Italy (ENIT figures), big spenders from the higher classes, very attracted by the Italian lifestyle, with a huge potential for growth: in India there are 5 million “super-rich” (Italian-Indian Chamber of Commerce figures). And the “Incredible India” is also one of the favorite outgoing destinations for out-of-town Italians.
From the American continent, the United States has already given the thumbs up, itself the most popular non-European destination for Italians and a consolidated origin of visitors for our cities of art and our coastal resorts; the Dominican Republic, one of the Caribbean destinations that Italians love the most because of its unmistakable mix of white, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, together with the Hispanic culture; and Argentina, which wins over Italians with the tango, pampas, and mate, the drink of the Gauchos, combining Latin American charm with the familiarity of a country where over 50% of the population has at least one Italian ancestor.
In terms of industry players, confirmed airlines include Livingston Air and Air Dolomiti; tour operators, Just Brazil specializing in the South American giant.
What's new a BIT 2013
Innovation concerning all the sectors of Bit is drawing the attention of the trade.
The Italy sector optimizes the visiting experience by introducing four maxi themes: food&wine, culture, nature, sports.
And the Tourism Collection has become a Business Village (pav. 2/4, next to The World area) that will open to the trade only from Thursday, February 14 to Saturday, February 16, to promote contact between similar businesses: tour operators, cruises, hotel chains, airlines, sea and railway carriers, rentals, services, and technologies companies.
The offer is completed by training events and the ADUTEI, Destination and Travel Training salons, which registered a turnout of over 2,000 trade operators in the 2012 edition.
There are also new things in store for the two traditional Bit workshops – Bit Buyitaly and Bit Buy Club.
At Bit Buyitaly (43% of new Buyers and 18,000 appointments in 2012) the days will be broken down into Leisure, Culture/Food&Wine, Luxury, MICE/Business Travel.
The first day will focus on the pre-set appointments at the stands (for those regions with stands with an area of more than 200 m²) followed by the ones inside Buyitaly. What’s more, the Seller pass will no longer be locked into participation as Co-exhibitor.
An area dedicated to On Line Travel Agencies (OLTA) will enable contacts with the key players in this sector.
Seven hundred selected buyers are expected from more than 60 countries, with a “careful eye” on the strongly developing nations: Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) and eastern European countries.
Bit Buy Club is devoting a full day to group travel operators, when 150 national and international sellers, selected from tour operators, travel agencies, and marketing consortiums will meet more than 100 national and international buyers from 11 countries – company recreation clubs (CRAL), theme associations, and clubs, as well as interest groups.
Bit is also a business-to-consumer moment, giving access to the competent and qualified traveling public with very active influence on the social networks: Bit 2013 has also developed a strong online strategy, with the revamped website www.bit.fieramilano.it and a presence on all the main social networks and on YouTube.