The Fitur International Tourism Fair hopes to break visitor records in its new edition, which is held this week in Ifema and that is accompanied by many other tourist events such as the forums that organize, within its framework, the Alliance for Tourism Excellence, Exceltur , and the Hotusa group.
In 2020, Fitur, which will open the Queen next Wednesday and will close its doors on Sunday, January 26, turns forty, an anniversary that will be celebrated with a gala dinner on the eve of its opening, chaired by King Felipe VI.
This year the Madrid contest will bring together 918 regular exhibitors, 3.8% more than in 2019, and 11,040 companies from 165 countries and regions, which will occupy an area of 69,697 net square meters, 3.3% higher.
Fitur expects record numbers of visitors because, “normally, the growth in participation is matched with that of professional visits”, and at the moment its registration to the fair “goes well above” the one that was on the equivalent date of the previous year, He has pointed to Efe its director, María Valcarce.
The directive foresees a growth of up to 5% in the number of professional visitors compared to the previous edition, which would be close to 150,000, and a volume of the public that attends the fair during the weekend “similar” to 2019 (110,000).
This last data is more difficult to predict due to its greater volatility, since the influx of the public depends on factors that go from the time it takes those days to the leisure offer in the city, he said.
The 40th edition follows a line of evolution that is marked by professionalization, internationalization, specialization and innovation, elements that, for many years, have been trying to incorporate Fitur “step by step”.
This year Fitur “clearly” reflects the growing concern of the tourism industry for sustainability in many activities organized by the fair itself, such as the new prize for the sustainable pavilion, among others, has added.
Precisely, sustainability and digitalization will be the main axes in which the tenth Tourism Leadership Forum of Exceltur will be discussed, which will be inaugurated on Tuesday by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez.
The president of Exceltur and CEO of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer, explained to Efe that the former will star in half of the debates because, although the sector considers that the Spanish tourism model is “extremely successful”, his objective is that, in the future, “be as sustainable as possible and as friendly to society”.
In his opinion, a series of events in recent years such as the appearance of tourist rentals or the exponential growth of cruise ships “have caused many of the lifelong destinations to lose their roots and character, becoming theme parks.”
“We think that it is not the development model for the future, so we have to work hard, the public initiative with the private one, to see, among all, which one we want to have in Spain,” he added.
The second half of the discussions will focus on digitalization, which Escarrer considers to be one of the pending subjects of the tourism sector in general and, above all, in Spain.
For Valcarce, the great importance of the Spanish tourism industry has been a fundamental ingredient for the development of Fitur, in addition to its total support for the contest throughout its history both from public administrations and from the private sector.
Over time, Fitur has also gained support from the international tourism industry and is now a world tourism meeting, to which Valcarce predicts a long life, given that, in the digital era, it makes even more sense to have some spaces to personal encounters because “trust is an essential ingredient in business.”
The great tourist week of Madrid will start tomorrow with the sixth edition of the “Hotusa Explora” forum, which will be opened by the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, and will continue the next day with the XXIII Ibero-American Conference of Tourism Ministers and Entrepreneurs (Cimet) and the Exceltur forum, among many other events that will be held before Fitur starts.