The Evolution of Tourism Fairs’

Tourism Fairs are no longer a thing of the past

by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS

(Tourism Fairs are no longer a thing of the past – Source: Flickr)

Dear Readers,

Some years ago, the tourism fair was seen as a candidate for the red list of endangered species. Fortunately, as Mark Twain once said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” – the tourism fair is alive and kicking.

The biggest tourism fair in China is still the CITM China International Travel Market, which has been taken over by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism after being run by the CNTA for many years. The ministry decided to hold the festival in alternating years between Shanghai and in Kunming. 2019 it returns to Yunnan, a province that does not figure high on the list of international tourism service providers as tourism source market. There is a lot of speculation if the CITM will continue in its old format in coming years, as the two days B2B, one day B2C as well as the Domestic as core, international as decoration policies seem to be quite outdated. Ministries in many other industries in China stopped organising fairs two decades ago. Mainly due to the fact most international companies and organisations consider it a waste of time and money to participate in the CITM, especially when it is held in Kunming.

On the other end of the scale is the TNTM The Next Travel Market, an online B2B tradeshow for the China outbound travel industry organised by Dragontrail Interactive, which is not meant to replace tradeshows but to complement them. It is not therefore not a virtual trade show, trying to recreate a 3D experience, but simply a marketplace for exhibitors and hosted buyers to meet online.

Some important upcoming travel fairs in 2020 are the following:

  • Feb 20-22, 2020 GITF Guangzhou International Tourism Fair
  • April 1-3, 2020 COTTM (Beijing)
  • April 23-26, 2020 Shanghai World Travel Fair
  • May 13-15, 2020 ITB China (Shanghai)

All of them are offering not only booths and meetings, but also conferences, which are becoming a more and more important part of the fairs. The GITF especially will extend its conference part in response to the bigger importance gained thanks to the Greater Bay Area policy, which brings Hong Kong and Macau also into the region GITF is covering. The Shanghai WTF has returned to a April timeslot, giving it an advantage over the ITB China which will take place in May, also in Shanghai.

Not all important fairs which inform about the Chinese outbound market take place in China. The TTG Travel Experience is not only the most important B2B tourism fair in Italy, in 2019 it will also offer a number of China-related workshops and presentations for tourism service providers. So dear reader, if you are based in Europe, it is a good idea to mark your calendar ready for October 9-11, 2019 in Rimini, Italy. COTRI will be there for sure!

Have a nice summer week on the Northern side of our planet, and a refreshing winter week for those below the Equator!

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI WEEKLY team.