This 43rd edition of Fitur 2023 is the highest comprehensive restitution of the event, the first major international industry event of the year: after the pandemic: 8,500 participants, 131 countries, 755 exhibitors and 66,900 square meters of exhibition space define this edition, which will mean revenues of more than 400 million euros for Madrid. 32% more than the 2022 edition and 50% more in international participation alone.
The estimated number of attendees is in the order of 120,000 professionals and between 80 and 90,000 general public visitors during the weekend. Guatemala, a FITUR 2023 Partner Country, will be added to this successful edition, and will present its new brand for tourism promotion at the fair.
Madrid, January 13, 2023 – FITUR’s commitment to maintaining its presence during the two years of the pandemic as the only active meeting point in Europe, coupled with the favorable evolution of the national and international tourism industry in recent months, has made it possible to consolidate a significant growth of the Fair, resembling the record edition of FITUR held in 2020: 8,500 participating companies, 131 countries, 755 headliners and 66,900 net square meters of exhibition space.
The Ibero-American Forum of Tourism Journalists (FIPETUR) will once again be present at FITUR, this time represented by its president Luis José Chávez (in this picture next to IFEMA CEO Eduardo López Puertas); the president of the Spanish Federation of Tourism Journalists (FEPET), Mariano Palacín; the president of the Dominican Association of Tourism Press (ADOMPRETUR), Yenny Polanco Lovera; the national delegate from Mexico, Carla Galíndez; and the former president, advisor and current national tourism director of Uruguay, Roque Baudean.
The president of ADOMPRETUR, in a message from Madrid, hours before the beginning of the delegation of journalists who will cover the event, called to work with enthusiasm and professionalism, with a sense of collaboration as a country, trying to obtain the best information, approaches and interviews and to put the interests of the Dominican Republic Country Brand.
Yenny Polanco Lovera indicated that the information obtained from the program brought by the DR indicates that the international convention will be a framework for the best representation of the Dominican Republic.
With this excellent data, FITUR is here to consolidate the strong recovery of international tourism activity, marking the path as the first fair on the international tourism calendar. Thus, from January 18 to 22, the International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR 2023, organized by IFEMA MADRID and with Guatemala as a Partner Country, celebrates a powerful edition aligned with the global growth of this activity in Spain and the world, and with the support that represents, once again, the involvement of all public and private agents in the value chain of the tourism industry.
It will be an edition with a solid business orientation, in which sustainable development, in its economic, social and environmental axes, will be the guiding thread of the major proposals of companies and destinations, as well as of the sections and activities of the fair, and which will focus on innovation and on all those cutting-edge contents that will mark the development of the sector.
José Vicente de los Mozos, president of IFEMA MADRID; Javier Sánchez-Prieto, president of Iberia and of the fair’s Organizing Committee; Mónica Bolaños, Guatemalan ambassador to Spain; Miguel Sanz, director of Turespaña; María Valcarce, director of FITUR, led the presentation at the IFEMA fairgrounds.
Presentation of FITUR 2023
At the presentation of FITUR 2023, held last Thursday at the Fairgrounds, José Vicente de los Mozos, president of IFEMA MADRID, recalled how FITUR has been “the only major tourism fair in the world that has managed to hold its events every year without interruption, including those affected by the pandemic”. And he added that “now is the time to continue taking firm steps to underpin this growth. And there is no doubt that FITUR 2023 is here to consolidate the strong recovery of international tourism activity”. Thus, the fair once again intends to “continue to provide value, wealth and resources to attract quality tourism”.
Javier Sánchez-Prieto, president of Iberia and of the FITUR Organizing Committee, expressed his appreciation to IFEMA Madrid, on behalf of the entire tourism sector, for “its commitment throughout the pandemic years, which were undoubtedly decisive in the reactivation of our industry, as well as for the great work carried out to put on this long-awaited edition of FITUR, which, now without restrictions on mobility and connectivity, is once again showing its solidity with participation and occupancy parameters at practically the same level as its best pre-pandemic editions.
Mónica Bolaños, Guatemala’s ambassador to Spain, said that “FITUR is one of the most important trade fairs in the world and represents a great opportunity for us to show the world our strengths and great potential as an Ibero-American destination. That is why INGUAT (Guatemalan Tourism Institute) “has concentrated all its efforts to make Guatemala the Partner Country of the fair”. He also pointed out that “FITUR is the perfect framework and effective international platform that will allow us to showcase all the wealth and tourist attractions that our country has to offer.
Miguel Sanz, director of Turespaña, has indicated that 2022 has been the year of tourism recovery. “We are going to recover around 86% of the visitors and 94% of the tourist spending that was accounted for in 2019”, with “a higher quality tourism, with higher average spending and more deseasonalized”. In addition, he has stated that this edition presents a FITUR “more modern and adapted to the needs of the tourism sector.” On the other hand, he referred to the good data for the sector in the first quarter of 2023. Data from flight and hotel search engines indicate that “the figures for 2022 are up, but so are those for 2020 and 2019.” In addition, “in the first quarter of 2023 the tourist expenditure of the same period of 2019 will be exceeded, and in terms of number of visitors “we will continue on the path of achieving the numbers of 2019”.
For her part, María Valcarce, director of FITUR, highlighted “FITUR’s role as a hub with Latin America”; she also explained “the importance of sustainable tourism at FITUR” and added that “sustainability is present throughout the fair.”
If anything characterizes 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 record size of 2022, with 8 full Pavilions, as well as the direct participation of stand holders (755), which grew by 32% compared to last year’s edition and up to 50% in terms of international participation. In terms of expected attendance, and in line with the very positive response in terms of 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 the weekend.
In terms of international participation, and by geographical area, there will also be significant growth compared to last year’s edition of the fair. This year, Asia Pacific stands out, with a 163% increase in the number of participating companies; the Middle East, 60%; Africa, 88%; Europe, 42%; and America, 30%. These increases are also reflected in the international exhibition space, with Africa increasing by 146%, Asia by 78%, the Middle East by 437% and Europe by 32%.
Business participation also experienced a significant increase, with 25% more tourism companies, including 27% more technology companies, which increased their exhibition area by up to 50%.
These important advances will also be reflected in FITUR’s ability to generate a significant economic injection for Madrid, with estimated revenues of more than 400 million euros in the region in sectors such as accommodation, transportation, commerce, leisure and restaurants.
A sector in strong recovery
FITUR’s evolution will also set the trend as the leading tourism fair on the international circuit, arousing the best expectations for the year 2023. In this way, the fair is being a faithful reflection of the data recorded by tourism at the national and global level. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourism is on track to reach 65% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, as the sector 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, international tourists who have visited our ‘country exceeded 67 million, representing 85% of the figures for the same period in 2019. In addition, according to the forecasts of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, during 2022 would have visited Spain more than 71.5 million international tourists
New products and 10 specialized sections
FITUR continues to advance in its line of specialization, helping to promote the various industrial sectors that have an impact on tourism and that 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 deseasonalize the season; it boosts territorial development in non-tourist and non-urban environments, positions destinations internationally, and has a visitor profile with a higher-than-average level of spending. The new space, organized in collaboration with the Spanish association of the sports industry, Afydad, will show how sports tourism is a driver of sustainable growth for the tourism industry, and will be the meeting point between the two to highlight the potential of this lever of socio-economic development, analyze its challenges, share knowledge and generate business opportunities.
In addition, the section dedicated to “blue tourism” FITUR CRUISES will be expanded to include B2B and B2C areas, with an exhibition area and an auditorium in Hall 10 at FITUR for the development of various activities aimed at boosting commercial activity; strengthening the image of sustainability; providing a meeting point for the cruise industry with ports and tourist destinations, and especially contributing to a better understanding of this tourism offer, both by travel agents and travelers, as well as reinforcing the loyalty of cruise passengers.
The traditional specialized sections, FITURTechy, organized in collaboration with the Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero (ITH), will offer four forums on business, destination, sustainability and future trends, along with the “Hotel of the Future” showroom, where you can experiment with the use and implementation of new technologies; FITUR Know-How & Export, organized by SEGITTUR in collaboration with ICEX Spain Export and Investment, with the focus this year on data management, best practices in the five axes of the smart destination model, digital transformation and sustainability; FITUR LGBT+, which will address different themes in order to revitalize tourism and enhance the diversity of different destinations under the claim “Love to travel”; 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 organized 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 the importance of female leadership in the reconstruction of a better sustainable and inclusive tourism, with the help of WOMEN LEADING TOURISM – WLT; FITUR Screen, dedicated to connecting the tourism and audiovisual industries, in collaboration with SPAIN FILM COMMISSION, and the B2B meetings specialized in the segment of tourism for meetings, incentives, conferences and events that FITUR Mice has prepared, in the days prior to the opening of FITUR.
FITUR for sustainable development
In addition to this content are the activities of FITUR’s sustainability observatory, FITUR Next, focused this year on the challenge of How can tourism contribute to the regeneration of the natural environment, with a program 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.
Moreover, 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 formalizing its commitment to reduce it at the next edition.
Guatemala, FITUR 2023 Partner Country
Guatemala will display all its proposals at the fair with an innovative approach under the new brand “Guatemala. Amazing and unstoppable. The Central American country’s stand will be a reflection of Guatemalan culture and tradition thanks to the exhibition of typical textiles, the conch shell of time and vibrant colors. It will also be a tribute to the heritage and biodiversity that characterize Guatemalan destinations.
The new brand that Guatemala is presenting at FITUR 2023 encompasses for the first time the tourism, economy, investment and culture sectors. In addition, during the process of designing and developing the stand, the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (INGUAT) has kept in mind at all times that it must be sustainable, as is tourism in the country, and representative of Guatemalan traditions, so that everyone who visits it during the fair will feel like they are in Guatemala.
Guatemala will position worldwide its main tourist attractions, destinations and wealth, along with different activities scheduled during the international fair, with the aim of publicizing the wide offer of the Central American nation that has a great cultural and gastronomic millennial wealth. In addition, it will give Guatemalan companies the opportunity to be in contact with the Spanish and European sector, with the important opportunity it represents to reach tourists.
Tourism in Guatemala is a key sector, 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 the efforts of INGUAT for the tourism promotion of Guatemala the numbers are growing in a very positive way. During the first semester of 2022 Guatemala received 770,876 foreign visitors, 199% more (513,002 more) than in 2021. Thanks to the strong promotional strategy being managed, the projection for 2023 is 2,168,000 tourists.
Ukraine at FITUR
IFEMA MADRID, through FITUR, also wanted to express its solidarity with Ukraine by providing an extraordinary courtesy stand in the Europe pavilion, given the critical situation in the country, to facilitate the Meet Ukraine program and where FITUR attendees can leave their messages of solidarity.
FITUR LIVEConnect and rebroadcasting of the new “FITUR Conversations” program
FITUR will continue its hybrid formula that complements the in-person participation of destinations and companies with the digital platform FITUR LIVEConnect, 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, which is organized in collaboration with Miradas Viajeras Magazine Canal 140 of MoviStar +. Negocios TV, will offer a program of interviews with the top executives of the most important companies in the tourism sector, 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 public, who will have the opportunity to travel the world through the fair’s 8 pavilions, obtain information on an extraordinary range of places and even decide on a national or international destination for their next trip. All this without leaving FITUR and enjoying the rich agenda of leisure activities prepared by the exhibitors, from enjoying musical performances, gastronomic tastings, craft workshops, cultural and artistic activities, etc. to participating in the many contests and sweepstakes organized for this great occasion.
The Author: Luis José Chávez is one of the most experienced tourism communication professionals, who has been a consultant for specialized agencies, former president of ADOMPRETUR twice and current president of the IBERO-AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TOURISM JOURNALISTS (FIPETUR).
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