Step into a new journey: this is the theme chosen for BIT 2021, at fieramilanocity from 7 to 9 February, to send a clear signal that the industry is ready to open up again and develop new relationships and concepts.
After the “big chill” of the lockdown, emerging trends are already encouraging. UNWTO forecasts a gradual upturn in 2021, highlighting the potential of domestic tourism which, in developed countries, is worth up to 75% of spending. In Italy, ENIT reports that 97% of holidaymakers stayed in the country this year: hotels (25%) remain the preferred stay option, while 23% applied for the Italian government's holiday bonus. According to a survey of tourism operators by Explora, the Lombardy DMO (destination management organisation) – Lombardy was the hardest hit region of Italy, and thus most representative of the difficulties facing the industry – only 19% of respondents consider the autumn season to be affected (in contrast with 56% for the summer) and a mere 17% for the winter. 58% are planning to invest in promotion again, not just in Italy, but also in countries like Germany, France and Switzerland. The most interesting targets are families, Millennials and Gen X, while holiday proposals will focus on culture and art cities, wine and food, and bike tourism, as well as small villages, slow tourism and nature holidays.
It's time to look at 2021. And BIT, the first big event of the year, is ready to be the exhibition for re-opening. A platform of continuous dialogue in which companies will meet with each other and with the supply chain, including travellers, to redesign their offerings and their market distribution with the aim of responding effectively to new requirements and consumer trends: all this made possible by the Fiera Milano Platform, digital innovations in the exhibition's layout, and new features and functions in the exhibition areas. But above all, by the announcement, long in advance, of an unequalled schedule for events for professionals.
Conferences: An arena for professionals
BIT FORUM, the schedule of events for BIT 2021, is inaugurating a new formula – the phygital exhibition – which will enable domestic and international demand and supply to dialogue with each other all year round. Inspired by the motto Create – Innovate – Communicate, the programme features 4 thematic areas. BIT OUTOFTHEBOX will be dedicated to visions, topical issues and ongoing changes, while BIT TALKS will host round tables, talk-shows and presentations of data and reports.
BIT LAB will be the toolbox to provide operators with practical instruments to face current challenges and BIT TRAVEL INSPIRATION will present destinations in an experiential key to respond to the new demands of travellers. As always, the themes will be supported by Italian and international best practices.
The debate will focus on the new strategies demanded by the post-pandemic period. Themes for discussion will include how to make the most of the digital transformation using ever more innovative paradigms, for instance as a tool for aggregating destinations and, in particular, proximity tourism; and also new business models being adopted by the Trade sector, with a focus on the remodulation of the product and new ways of consuming travel products. The sectors hardest hit by the pandemic will be discussed in detail, including cruises and transport, as well as how to outline a re-opening based on a new service offering.
Italy as a product will also be discussed in depth. The re-opening after the pandemic may be an opportunity to construct better shared strategies among Italian destinations, identifying their shared - and internationally renowned - strengths, and capitalising on the participation at Bit Milano of all supply chains to review together the full spectrum of urgent issues such as the focus on excellence, attention to service, the client and management skills.
As always there will be a full schedule of events dedicated to wine and food tourism and local specialities, a trend which will continue to experience growth in the future. The focus will be on sustainability and green ideas, articulated in relation to the specific requirements of the sector, as well as on wine tourism, with a focus on the relationship between food, wine and local territorial identities, linking to art, history and culture, the rediscovery of villages and alternative routes, with a focus on UNESCO sites and collaboration networks.
A mix of areas to cover all business opportunities
Eager to respond to changes in the market, BIT 2021 will also develop several thematic areas. In particular, BIT Experience will be dedicated to holiday offerings centred on nature, slow tourism, and wine and food, while I love wedding is a space dedicated to the best offerings for an unforgettable wedding and honeymoon experience. MICE Village will be bigger than before, bringing together demand and supply in the business travel and events industry, with an even greater emphasis on opportunities for re-opening.
In this time in which technologies are growing exponentially, the Btech and Start Up areas will present the most innovative solutions and proposals from a raft of young, dynamic companies. Bit 4 Job, finally, will be a headhunting hub, with opportunities for current and upcoming industry professionals.
The unique concept of BIT, with its balanced mix of proposals, B2B and B2C, will be particularly evident on Sunday 9 February, when the exhibition will open its doors to the general public.
Working together with professionals in the post-Covid era: BIT turns phygital
BIT Milano and all Fiera Milano exhibitions are increasingly not just events, but primarily partners for the supply chain in developing their business through 360 degrees all year round.
The next step in this evolution is Fiera Milano Platform, the innovative digital platform which, starting in September in a series of releases, will offer an ecosystem of services of the most varied types: reinforced content for websites and social channels; synergies between physical and digital meetings (with a focus on webinars); catalogues redesigned to present exhibitors' products, a digital map of the event to assist remote use of its services (including wayfind, the ticket office, and a real time display of flows) - all with the aim of offering a fully-fledged ‘phygital’experience.
Fiera Milano is also providing concrete support to exhibitors, offering companies the option of financing for their participation at events thanks to the major agreement stipulated by the Group with five leading banks.
BIT thus continues working towards the upcoming edition of the event, as the unmissable platform for meeting and discussion for the industry, even in this most difficult time. The event will be a platform for narrating and promoting post-Covid tourism, founded on the identifying values of the travel and tourism professions: responsibility, clarity, transparency, and awareness of the user's needs.
Scheduled for February, BIT is ideally timed to anticipate foreseeable trends for 2021 and outline effective strategies in response, with its unique combination of exhibition areas targeted on the most current demand for travel and a unique programme of events for the Italian market. BIT stands out as the main Italian event for international markets, the only exhibition innovating the development of relationships and business, sharing know-how, and inspiring change with its dual focus on B2B and B2C.