FITUR 2018: record attendance and lots of tourism professionals

The 38th edition of Fitur, the International Tourism Trade Fair, came to a close with record figures: more than 251,000 visitors and 140,000 trade members, with rises of 2.5% and 3% over the previous year, respectively.

In its most international and technological edition so far, the 38th Fitur, International Tourism Trade Fair hit a new record high in the number of visitors. Held at IFEMA Feria de Madrid from 17 to 21 January, it drew 251,000 visitors, that is, 2.5% more than in 2017.

There were other record figures at Fitur 2018: 140,120 accredited trade members (54% from international markets) and more than 10,000 companies from 165 countries. This year, the trade fair covered a 5% larger surface area65,000m2 – and featured 8% more stands – as many as 816.

This year, Fitur unfolded in an optimistic environment for the Spanish tourism industry. In 2017, Spain was the second top travel destination in the world, welcoming 82 million international visitors (8.9% more than in 2016). Tourist spending also surged last year: 87,000 million euro (+12.4%).

A more international, tech-based Fitur

The positive trend in the global tourism industry (last year, there were 1322 million travellers according to UNWTO, with an increase of 7% over 2016) has led to greater international presence at Fitur (+13%), with the sharpest rises corresponding to Africa (+21%), Asia-Pacific (+19%) and Europe (+15%).

With more than 6800 B2B meetings and 38,000 appointments registered online, Fitur has once again shown its strength as a business forum for the global travel industry.

New features at Fitur 2018, opened once again by the King and Queen of Spain: Fitur Festivals, a new section organised with Spain Live Music targeting an emerging segment in the tourism industry; and IFEMA LAB 5G, aimed at promoting R&D and prototype development for tourism.

IFEMA LAB 5G has turned FITUR into a pioneer of augmented reality as applied to trade fair management: planning technologies, smart virtual assistants, hologram interactions between staff members or exhibitors, all fair contents and activities published on a digital platform, and so on.

Finally, Fitur has entered the digital transformation, adding Fitur Know-How & Export, focusing on new fields like Big Data or segment marketing and increasing participation by tech companies by 16%.

Marca España, in support of tourism

At Fitur 2018, Marca España supported Spanish heritage conservation and culture promotion initiatives.

Among these initiatives we can mention the inclusion of 11 new villages in the network managed by the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain Association, now encompassing 68 members.

The event at the stand of Andalusia was attended by the High Commissioner for Marca España, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, who congratulated the Association on their ‘expansion’ across the Iberian Peninsula and their efforts to ‘promote and improve’ life and tourism in small villages in Spain.

Marca España also attended the presentation of ‘El Alma del Almadraba’, a project comprising a series of cultural, tourist and culinary activities to promote Atlantic bluefin tuna and its traditional catching technique, known as ‘almadraba’, invented by the Phoenicians and introduced in the Iberian Peninsula by the Arabs.

Other initiatives at Fitur that got Marca España support were the 25th anniversary of the World Heritage Cities network; the Wine Tourism Forum organised by the Spanish Wine Tourism Association (AEE) and the Wine Tourism Institute, focusing on destination branding innovations; the presentation of this year’s International PRE Horse Fair, SICAB 2018; and the presentation of the 2nd Spanish-Chinese Tourism Forum (FOTEC).