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ETTFA Comment on… Reaching a wider audience

Travel and tourism are industries which make news, and TV and radio teams are a common sight at exhibitions throughout Europe as they interview the leading players and fire public enthusiasm for a holiday or business trip.

Broadcasting is being taken a stage further by some major exhibitions, especially World Travel Market in London. This year it signed a three-year agreement for CNN to become its first official broadcast partner, while continuing an arrangement with cable TV company Travel Channel to screen a half-hour TV programme on the exhibition to be shown in 80 countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

These developments are interesting because WTM is purely a business-to-business show, with no public attendance. The potential of broadcasting from exhibitions which do admit the public is even greater.

WTM’s deal with CNN includes exposure of the CNN brand in WTM marketing and websites, as well as at the show, and advertising of WTM on CNN in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. CNN – which has a strong business travel focus and has already sponsored the FITUR tourism exhibition in Madrid – will broadcast from WTM and is sponsoring its 25th anniversary dinner.

WTM group exhibition director Fiona Jeffery says: “The travel industry is changing and more consumers are making their own travel arrangements. Our exhibitors want to heighten their profile with the consumer directly, and broadcasting from the show gives them added value.

“We are not using CNN to attract the public to WTM, and we also have other news media in attendance including the BBC, Sky and our own radio programme broadcast on local stations throughout the UK.

“Big brands like WTM and CNN go together, and I see opportunities for other ETTFA members to become involved with broadcasters.”

The travel industry is increasingly involved with cable TV. Travel Channel, launched in 1994, reports on destinations, holiday ideas, culture, lifestyle, food and drink, wildlife and art. The UK’s largest travel agent, TUI-owned Lunn Poly, has launched its own programme in conjunction with Travel Channel.

Other exhibitions are assessing the potential, including UTAZAS in Hungary whose director, Klara Tihanyi, is president of ETTFA.

“We don’t have a cable TV partner at present, but this could be a good tool to raise the profile of exhibitions,” she says. “It is something we will think about, as we already have TV crews coming to the show and I give many interviews to TV, radio stations and the print media.”

Libor Patoeka, sales manager of Holiday World in Prague, adds: “We do not have direct broadcasting from the show, but we use TV as a promotion and advertising medium as Holiday World opens to the public at the weekend.

“TV can be very useful for attracting the public to a fair, but I am not sure whether it would be effective to broadcast from the fair to other countries as that would not produce more visitors.

“But it would be good to use TV to highlight the attractions of Prague for visitors to the show, if that would not be too expensive.”

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.