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Paolo Audino GLOBE is the concept that Mediterranean region needs

Mr. Paolo Audino, Chief Executive Officer of GLOBE analyzes in TravelDailyNews the concept and the dynamic of the new fair in Mediterranean region and explains why GLOBE will stimulate tourism in Mediterranean.

TravelDailyNews: GLOBE makes its presence in Italy’s exhibition market. What are your expectations from launching GLOBE? How did industry respond to this effort?

Paolo Audino: Globe is not another Italian fair. It’s an international exhibition that will take place in Italy. Just like ITB Berlin is an international fair that takes place in Germany. we expect to create a pan-Mediterranean exhibition, focused on the fact that the Mediterranean is both a source market for outbound tourism and a big destination. Our feedback so far is excellent: most of the top players in the Italian market have already signed. We’re working on International companies now. More, we are receiving a great support from Rome and national institutions: they realize that it’s a great opportunity and they’re ready to open all doors to visitors and exhibitors.

TDN: You are going to introduce a new concept to the exhibition industry. Can you describe this new concept and what will it include?

P. A.: We are “thinking outside of the box” to create a brand new event in many ways. The idea of splitting the exhibition, with a strict B2B marketplace- GLOBE- in the fairground and a B2C tourism festival in town- GLOBE IN THE CITY- is unique. We believe that events that mix trade and consumer cannot be effective. If you want to make business, you need a business environment. If you want to make promotion, you need a completely different approach, a different kind of booth layout, different people attending the space. Sales managers cannot transform themselves into dancers, and dancers are not very helpful when you sign a contract. With Globe, exhibitors can tune their efforts: sales managers will run their business in the fair, dancers and singers will entertain the public in town, in the majestic setting of Rome.

Another big innovation is our website. Exhibitors can actually book their space online, and choose their position on a interactive map like in a check-in counter. We have divided the fair into business areas and we will monitor the coherence of the pavilions, but the freedom to choose where to stay is very attractive to exhibitors.

TDN: The B2C concept will take place in the city of Rome. Which destinations are going to be featured and in what places within the city?

P. A.: We will announce the exact locations and the calendar of “GLOBE in the City” shortly. It will be more than an outdoor exhibition: we will organize, under this label, a comprehensive list of events. Restaurants, shops, galleries and various venues will host conferences and forums on tourism, job recruiting sessions, art exhibitions, concerts, food tasting, and more.

TDN: You are going to include investments and real estate sectors in GLOBE which is a rare phenomenon in trade and travel exhibitions. Why did you decide to place this sector in GLOBE and what is industry’s response towards this initiative?

P. A.: We believe that real estate developers and financial institutions are true key players in the tourism industry. With their investments they can really change the destiny of a country, and literally build a tourism destination from scratch. Look at the spectacular developments in several Gulf countries, Egypt, Macau or Bahamas. We have developed a model, called “Investment@Globe”: a “lobby fair” where we invite those key players to check new projects. The response is very good, but of course those people are not easy to reach and they have usually a very busy agenda. We will share more about this initiative by the end of the year.

TDN: What is your experience in the exhibitions market place?

P. A.: As CEO of TTG Italia, during the last 7 years I drove TTG Incontri to be the leading travel trade exhibition in Italy, with over 30.000 people attending every year in Rimini. I created TTI, the workshop dedicated to Italy, in 1999 and now is by far the most important contracting event for the Italian tourism product. In 2004, with a sister company, we bought BTC International, a MICE event in Florence, and we’re driving it back on its way to profitability and prestige. More important, I have an excellent team at TTG Incontri and BTC, and the market knows that our exhibitions are worth the money. Fiera Roma picked TTG as its partner for Globe with regards of its know how and we have established another “dream team” at GLOBE.

TDN: What are your estimations of the number of exhibitors and buyers participating at GLOBE? Which countries do buyers represent?

P. A.: We have 992 booths to sell for a total of 15900 square meters. With the current sales pace, we expect to sell 100% of the space and to fill a waiting list as well. As for buyers, we will invite and host to travel to Rome over 1000 people. 80% of those buyers will be international, from over 40 countries. 50% of the buyers will come from European markets, 30% from overseas. We will provide buyers a web platform to organize pre-scheduled appointments with registered suppliers. Buyers will be chosen carefully, and they will buy not just Italy, but the whole Mediterranean. That’s why Globe will be a truly international marketplace.

TDN: How will the existence of the recognized exhibition BIT in Milan affect your operations? Do you feel that there would be a strong competition in the internal market?

P. A.: BIT Milan is a big national exhibition. And it’s mixed: trade and consumer. GLOBE is an international marketplace, B2B only, where the whole Mediterranean will be traded. We will have international buyers, suppliers and visitors. Our model is WTM and ITB. But we know that several companies will switch from BIT to GLOBE, looking for a more business-oriented exhibition and a better return on the investment.

TDN: The European market is full of exhibitions with big players such as WTM, ITB, FITUR to share a huge proportion of the market. On the other hand in Mediterranean region there is MTF in Cairo. How can GLOBE be competitive in this market and what new has to offer?

P. A.: We believe that the Mediterranean region deserves its own international travel trade fair. WTM and ITB are so big that most of the buyers cannot take their time and visit all the countries and companies they would like to. We offer them the chance to come to Italy and buy the Mediterranean 3 weeks after Itb. FITUR is very stong on Latin America, not as much on the Mediterranean. And we don’t know much about the future of MTF Cairo. But by no means, despite their name, it’s the kind of Mediterranean marketplace we want to create at GLOBE. On their last edition they hosted something like 50 buyers only.

TDN: What are the trends in Mediterranean region this year? What are your estimations for tourism investments in Italy and in Mediterranean countries during 2006/07?

P. A.: Established destinations like Italy, France, Spain and also Greece face a strong competition from our neighbours: Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Croatia. In the near future, this list will include also Libya, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Albania. Their value-for-money proposition is very strong, so a shift of the market on their favour is almost inevitable. International investors are aware of that, and they put their money where the growth is. Talking about quality and targeting the high-end market is not enough. We need to grab a bigger share of tourism from overseas, selling trips and packages that link old and new Mediterranean destinations. GLOBE will be instrumental to do that.