FITUR 2015 kicks off this week in Madrid with the annual tourism show poised to tackle some of the travel industry’s ongoing problems.
Among the tourism challenges that will be examined at the IFEMA-organized trade show at the Feria de Madrid (Jan. 28-Feb. 1) are cross-border medical assistance, the reorganization of the trade, new business models and the impact of technologies.
Tourism’s relationship with cross-border medical assistance will be seen at FITUR Health, which will showcase how tourism companies can diversify their business lines, seek new opportunities, increase their visibility and generate contacts.
Another of the major trends is shopping tourism and its impact on the economy of many tourist destinations, particularly urban ones, in which some changes are needed. Visitors to FITUR Shopping will discover how this new tourism model requires some retail units to adapt and create specialised departments. In addition, the UNWTO will organize at FITUR the first international conference on shopping tourism.
Technology applied to tourism and travel planning is also growing in importance and is changing many businesses. FITUR Tech will uncover how it is doing this; the latest mobile devices will be showcased; and a showroom will be opened on the tourism of the future and the emergence of these new business models.
Innovation will also become apparent at FITUR Know How & Export, with Smart Tourist Destinations, the Tourist App Guide and the Apps Competition. And sustainability – another of the major drivers of today’s tourism – will have its reflection at FITURGreen, with success cases and tools in three key areas: planning, management and promotion of tourist destinations; sustainable accommodation models; and technology and innovation associated with sustainability. There will also be a fITH Network workshop on funding and public aid to sustainability in hotels.
Co-operation and international agreements are another of the major basis for boosting the tourism business. At INVESTOUR, a forum opening up for the first time to all countries worldwide, African companies and from all over the globe with discuss about collaboration and will debate on investment in human capital and the impact of Africa’s brand image on foreign direct investment.
Another major trend in the world is the increase in gay tourism, which is growing at a rate of more than 11% annually, more than double that of conventional tourism. This evolution will be reflected in the FITUR Gay (LGBT) area, which is growing in size and number of exhibitors, giving access for the first time to SMEs, boosting personal meetings, and which will sell to the end user and launch the web site http://www.fiturgaylgbt.com .
All these trends coincide with Spain’s growing importance as a tourist-receiving country and the increase in its ability to manage large visitor flows. The knowledge acquired by operators, the know-how amassed and our country’s experience as a world power in tourism constitute important assets for development on the international stage, both inside and outside Spain. This ability has already been confirmed by the record arrival in 2013 of 60.6 million tourists, 5.6% more than in the previous year, to which we must add the 62 million visitors forecasted for 2014.