The figures confirm the significant growth of the fair, matching the pre-pandemic occupancy figures of its record year (2020) and aligning itself with the momentum that national and international tourism is gaining. A total of 8,500 participants, 131 countries, 755 main exhibitors and 66,900 m2 of exhibition space define this edition, which will mean revenues of more than 400 million euros for Madrid.
MADRID – FITUR's commitment to maintaining its presence during the two years of the pandemic as the only active meeting point in Europe, together with the favourable evolution of national and international tourism industry figures in recent months, has made it possible to consolidate significant growth of the Fair, approaching the record edition of FITUR held in 2020: 8,500 participating companies, 131 countries, 755 exhibitors and 66,900 net sq.m. of exhibition area.
With these excellent figures, FITUR is here to consolidate the strong recovery in international tourism activity, setting the pace as the leading trade fair on the international tourism calendar. Therefore, from 18 to 22 January, the International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR 2023, organised by IFEMA MADRID and which will have Guatemala as a Partner Country, will celebrate a strong edition aligned with the global growth of this activity in Spain and the world, and with the support represented, once again, by the involvement of all public and private agents in the tourism industry value chain. It will be an edition with a solid business orientation, in which sustainable development, in its economic, social and environmental areas, will be the guiding thread of the major proposals of companies and destinations, as well as the sections and activities of the fair, and which will focus on innovation and all those cutting-edge contents that will mark the development of the industry.
Growth of FITUR
If anything characterises this edition of FITUR, it is its vigorous growth, which has been felt in all the parameters of the Fair, being especially relevant in the exhibition area, which is equal to its best edition in terms of size in 2022, with 8 full halls, as well as the direct participation of stand holders (755), which grew by 32% compared to last edition and up to 50% in terms of international participation. In terms of expected attendance, and in line with the very positive response as regards participation, a significant influx is expected – once international mobility has practically recovered – with figures that will exceed 120,000 professionals, and between 80 and 90 thousand visitors from the general public who will attend over the weekend.
In terms of international participation, and by geographical area, there is also significant growth compared to the last edition of the fair. This year, Asia Pacific stands out, with a 163% increase in participating companies; the Middle East, 60%; Africa, 88%; Europe, 42%; and the Americas, 30%. These increases are also reflected in the international exhibition space, where Africa, which increases its size in the fair by 146%, Asia by 78%, the Middle East by 437% and Europe by 32%, are among the highlights.
Business participation also experienced a significant increase, with 25% more tourism companies, and 27% more technology companies, which increased their exhibition area by up to 50%.
These important advances will also be matched by FITUR's capacity to generate a significant economic injection for Madrid, with an estimated income of more than 400 million euros in the Region in industries such as accommodation, transport, trade, leisure and the restaurant and catering industry.
An industry experiencing strong recovery
FITUR's evolution will also set the trend as the leading tourism fair on the international circuit, creating the best expectations for 2023. In this way, the fair serves as a faithful reflection of the data recorded by tourism at national and world level. According to the World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, international tourism is on track to reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic. In the case of Spain, according to data from FRONTUR and EGATUR, in the first eleven months of the year, more than 67 million international tourists who have visited our country, which represents 85% of the figure for the same period in 2019. In addition, according to forecasts by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, more than 71.5 million international tourists will visit Spain in 2022.
Updates and 10 specialised sections
FITUR continues to advance in its line of specialisation, helping to promote the different industrial sectors that have an impact on tourism and which have developed an entire tourism strategy around their activity. Among the new features at FITUR this year is the launch of the FITUR SPORTS section, which addresses one of the tourism products of growing importance for both destinations and companies, because it helps to deseasonalise tourism; it boosts territorial development in non-tourist and non-urban environments, positions destinations internationally, and has a visitor profile with an above-average level of spending. The new space, organised in collaboration with the Spanish sports industry association, Afydad, will show how sports tourism is a driver of sustainable growth for the tourism industry and will be the meeting point both for highlighting the potential of this lever for socio-economic development, analysing its challenges, sharing knowledge and generating business opportunities.
In addition, the section dedicated to "blue tourism", FITUR CRUISES, is being strengthened, expanding its field of action to cover the B2B and B2C fields, placing an exhibition area and auditorium in Hall 10 of FITUR to hold the different activities, aimed at promoting commercial action, reinforcing the image of sustainability, offering a meeting point for the cruise industry and ports and tourist destinations and, especially, helping both travel agents and passengers get to know these tourism offers better, as well as reinforcing the loyalty of cruise passengers.
The traditional specialised sections, FITURTechy, organised in collaboration with the Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero (ITH), will be present at this great event, which will offer its four forums on business, destination, sustainability and future trends, together with the “Hotel of the future” showroom, where one can experiment with the use and implementation of new technologies;; FITUR Know-How & Export, organised by SEGITTUR in collaboration with ICEX Spain Export and Investment, with the focus this year on data management, best practices in the five areas of the smart destinations model, digital transformation and sustainability; FITUR LGBT+ which will address different themes with the aim of revitalising tourism and enhancing the diversity of different destinations under the "Love to travel” claim; FITUR Lingua which in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Associations of Spanish Schools for Foreigners, FEDELE, will once again highlight language tourism and its ability to become a tourist attraction for dozens of potential markets; FITUR Talent which will highlight talent and training as drivers of tourism development throughout a program organised in collaboration with Educación 3.0; FITUR Woman which will focus its debate on the role of women in the world of work in the tourism industry and on the importance of female leadership in the reconstruction of a better, sustainable and inclusive tourism, organised by WOMEN LEADING TOURISM – WLT; FITUR Screen, dedicated to connecting the tourism and audiovisual industries, in collaboration with the SPAIN FILM COMMISSION, and the B2B meetings specialising in the meetings, incentives, congresses and events tourism segment that FITUR Mice has prepared in the days leading up to the opening of FITUR.
FITUR for sustainable development
In addition to this content are the activities of FITUR's sustainability observatory, FITUR Next, focusing this year on the challenge of How can tourism contribute to the regeneration of the natural environment?, with a programme on regenerative tourism, and awards for best practices developed in this regard, this year highlighting the initiatives of Plogging Tour, the Iberostar Group and Green Pepper Travel.
Meanwhile, and in this context of sustainability, IFEMA MADRID is actively involved in measuring the carbon footprint of FITUR 23 for the first time, in scopes 1 and 2, and formalising its commitment to reducing it at the next edition.
Guatemala, Partner Country FITUR 2023
Guatemala will display all its proposals at the fair with an innovative approach under the new brand "Guatemala. Amazing and Unstoppable". The stand of the Central American country will be a reflection of Guatemalan culture and tradition thanks to the exhibition of typical textiles, the conch shell of time and vibrant colours. It will also constitute a tribute to the heritage and biodiversity that characterise Guatemalan destinations.
The new brand that Guatemala is presenting at FITUR 2023 encompasses the tourism, economy, investment and culture industries for the first time. In addition, during the stand design and development process, the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT) has always kept in mind that it must be sustainable, like the country’s tourism, and representative of Guatemalan traditions, so that everyone who visits it during the fair will feel at home in Guatemala.
Guatemala will position its main tourist attractions, destinations and riches worldwide, together with different activities programmed during the international fair with the aim of publicising the wide range of offerings of the Central American nation, which has vast cultural and gastronomic wealth that goes back thousands of years. In addition, it will give Guatemalan companies the opportunity to be in contact with the Spanish and European industry, with the important opportunity it represents to reach out to tourists.
Tourism in Guatemala is a key industry, accounting for 3.8% of GDP (year 2021) and generating 199,050 direct jobs. After a few years in which the number of foreign visitors was forcibly reduced due to the pandemic, thanks to INGUAT's efforts to promote tourism in Guatemala, the numbers are growing very positively. During the first half of 2022, Guatemala received 770,876 foreign visitors, 199% more (513,002 more) than in 2021. Thanks to the strong promotion strategy being managed, the forecast for 2023 is 2,168,000 tourists.
Ukraine at FITUR
IFEMA MADRID, through FITUR, also wished to express its solidarity with Ukraine by providing a special courtesy stand in the Europe hall, given the critical situation in the country, which will facilitate the development of the Meet Ukraine programme and where FITUR attendees will be able to leave their messages of solidarity.
FITUR LIVEConnect and broadcast of the new "FITUR Conversations" space
FITUR will continue its hybrid formula that complements the in-person participation of destinations and companies with the FITUR LIVEConnect digital platform, which offers added value to professional participants and expands networking opportunities between exhibitors and visitors. FITUR LIVEConnect will offer broadcasts of some of the activities at this edition, including the new "FITUR Conversations" space, organised in collaboration with Miradas Viajeras Magazine Channel 140 of MoviStar +. Negocios TV, will offer a programme of interviews with the top executives of the most important companies in the tourism industry, with the challenge of deciphering the keys to the tourism of the future.
Weekend at FITUR
Over the weekend, FITUR will open its doors to the general public, who will have the opportunity to travel the world through the fair's 8 halls, obtain information on an extraordinary range of places and even decide on their next destination, whether national or international. All this without leaving FITUR and enjoying the rich agenda of leisure activities prepared by the exhibitors, from enjoying musical performances, gastronomic tastings, handcrafted product workshops, cultural and artistic activities, etc. to taking part in the many competitions and raffles organised for this great occasion.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.