by Luciane Leite
I was in Paris with the express purpose of visiting IFTM Top Resa, France’s International B2B Tourism Show, an event that is organized by Reed Exhibitions. The first day of the event already showed what was to come. The crowded aisles of the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Park, where the show takes place, confirm the interest of a qualified public that is prepared to follow the trends and what’s new in the tourism industry worldwide.
With 1643 exhibiting brands, the event, which is celebrating its 40th edition, exceeded expectations, especially as far as regards the number of visitors interested in the segment. The aisles were also crowded on the second day of the exhibition and there was a lot of networking and brand activations going on.
I have to mention the international operators’ area, especially for it, had its own dedicated space at IFTM Top Resa. Unlike WTM Latin America, in which both Brazilian operators and international companies are mixed together, IFTM concentrates this latter important group in a single space and offers interesting proposals for buyers who are looking for good business opportunities. I consider the fact that the international market is present and so active within the event to be a very positive aspect.
The area of influencers is another space in evidence within the event, which brings together influential and talented young people who have relevant content in the “Influencers’ Village”, where they socialize and network. This technology space undoubtedly encourages us and provides us with many benchmarking models that we can use and adapt for use in our event in Brazil.
During my visit to Paris I met Laurent Queige, COO, of City Lab, an innovation platform dedicated to urban tourism. The meeting allowed me to get to know and understand the world of start-ups better and how we can capitalize on the ideas and innovations based on what they have developed. City Lab’s proposal is to choose the 30 best start-up companies out of 250 in terms of their work proposal, which are then funded by BCI Bank. The investments cover a three-year period until they reach maturity and can face the opportunity market by themselves.
City Lab is taking part here at IFTM with 10 start-ups and on the first day of the event they launched Trend Books, an inventory of the major trends and innovations in tourism. In addition to this inspiring project, which encourages new market entrants with quality and structure, technology giants like Amadeus and Sabre also took part in the event.
There is no doubt that the model proposed by the City Lab encourages us to reflect. According to data from a SEBRAE survey, tourism is the leading sector in Brazil for creating start-ups; simple and creative ideas that make the market smarter and leverage new business models. This is an important lesson to make feasible here.
Last year IFTM Top Resa received about 32,480 tourism specialists and, from what I saw on the two days on which I participated, I believe that the number of visitors this year is likely to be the same or more. The impact of this large number of professionals reflects directly on the business generated both in and after the event, as we saw happen in the last edition of WTM Latin America in April.
The Business Area, which is known as Le Club Affaires in Paris and brings together business travel operators, large travel agency networks, airlines, hotel chains, car rental companies and other trade representatives, underlines the importance of the industry. According to data released by the event, the business travel market was worth €28 billion in France in 2017, and in 2018 this figure should grow by an historical 3.6% and reach €29.2 billion. The space favours meetings between suppliers, buyers and travel managers and, from what I observed, the performance was very positive.
Brazil is represented at the event, which ends tomorrow (28), by an Embratur stand and destinations such as Amazonas, Bahia, Foz do Iguaçu and Rio de Janeiro, which present some of the leisure, culture, entertainment and knowledge options that are available in the country. I spoke to Regina Ahmed, promotions director of Bahiatursa, who stressed the assertive strategy Bahia has of ensuring both the state and the country are present in an international portfolio of shows and events.
IFTM is a world-class event that is very prestigious and recognized by the international tourism nucleus. This year the movement of participants and visitors is better than average and greater than last year, which shows that the tourism industry worldwide is picking up again.
This is a visit that inspires you and enables you to adapt and bring new ways to Brazil for putting on a great event like WTM Latin America. We’ve got something new for you in 2019!