Ifema will host Expo Turismo de Negocios on 21 and 22 May, coinciding with the 10th National Business Travel Congress.
The event’s organisers expect it to be attended by roughly 5,000 professionals.
The fair was created with the support of the sector’s leading professional associations and Madrid Convention Bureau.
Last week the new fair Expo Turismo de Negocios was officially presented in Madrid. The first edition will be held on 21 and 22 May at IFEMA.
David Noack, the director of Madrid Convention Bureau, opened the presentation. His presence lent support to the creation of the new event, which will be the “first and only” fair devoted to Business Travel.
Expo Turismo de Negocios is organised by the Iberian Business Travel Association (IBTA) and the industry associations AVASA, GEBTA and TravelAdvisors. It is sponsored by Viajes El Corte Inglés and enjoys the international support of GBTA Europe, the academic support of CETT-University of Barcelona and a collaborative partnership with the Madrid Business Forum.
Representatives from all of these organisations attended the presentation of the fair which will be themed ‘Where Business Travel People Grow’, and will be held in parallel with the 10th National Business Travel Congress.
A platform to facilitate business travel
After thanking the IBTA and its partners, who have chosen Madrid to host the first edition of the new event, the director of Madrid Convention Bureau also spoke of Madrid’s strength as a MICE tourism destination. “2017 was an excellent year for the city of Madrid, which hosted various major congresses and conventions, some with over 8,000 participants, in a clear demonstration of the sector’s recovery. As for 2018, Ifema forecasts that over 100 fairs will be held,” said Noack.
Begoña Blanco, president of the IBTA, expressed her enthusiasm for the creation of Expo Turismo de Negocios. “It represents the crystallisation of the work and efforts coordinated by the top professional business travel associations to create an active platform from which to draw inspiration and through which to conduct business and networking,” she said. On a related note, Blanco stressed that “the new event aims to become the most important of the business tourism events held in our country, on a level befitting the economic importance of a sector worth 19 billion euros a year in Spain”.
Juli Burriel, CEO of IBTA, revealed that “in its first edition, Expo Turismo de Negocios expects to receive around 5,000 professionals seeking to discover the latest developments among the business travel sector’s leading providers (airlines, hotel chains, hire car companies, payment method companies, events agencies, carsharing companies, etc.) and to get a picture of the trends driving the sector”.
In this regard, Burriel stressed the wisdom of holding the fair at the same time as the National Business Travel Congress, due to their complimentary natures. “This event, consolidated over the course of ten editions, has established itself as a top-level forum that gathers national and international business travel professionals together to exchange knowledge and experiences, offering a sneak peek at trends and an illuminating framework for discussion,” he said. Of particular note among the main inputs shaping the business travel industry, which will be analysed at the Congress, are risk management, duty of care, compliance with travel policies, innovation and mobile solutions, among other areas of interest.
For his part, Travel Advisors manager Javier Zuazola said that “Expo Turismo de Negocios has been conceived as a platform suitable for sharing Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) experiences applied to the business and MICE segment, where people can exchange views on concepts and ideas that help to create new processes, products, services and strategies for organisation management which encompass all of the stages of travel: inspiration, planning, reservation, experience and sharing”.
Luis Felipe Antoja, president of the international tourism group AVASA, also spoke at the presentation to underscore the new fair’s contribution towards professionalising the figure of the Travel Manager. “Expo Turismo de Negocios will successfully combine the chance to do business in a sector as important as the business and MICE industry with training for our professionals, on both technology and organisation,” said Antoja.
The managing director of GEBTA España, Marcel Forns, emphasised the globalisation of business travel and the need to create a platform like Expo Turismo de Negocios. “Business travel is a fundamental activity for companies and for the economy as a whole. Our industry needs spaces and forums for discussion and knowledge, with the aim of disseminating information and good practices to the various actors in the value chain,” he argued.
Hilario Alfaro, president of the Madrid Business Forum, also took part in the presentation, asserting that “Madrid is a city that needs more and better tourism, especially luxury shopping, business and congress tourism”. Alfaro reminded the audience that the capital ranks fifth in the world for the number of international conventions, but he warned that it is facing stagnation due to a lack of investment in infrastructure and promotion.
Finally, Mireia Ros, director of the Official Master’s Degree in Events Management at CETT-University of Barcelona, stressed that Expo Turismo de Negocios should be regarded as “a new sectoral meeting place where education will play an important and primary role. An exceptional training programme is offered via sessions with very innovative formats geared towards both business and MICE tourism, designed to improve professional development, create knowledge, share concerns and establish ties as well as new business contacts”.
On behalf of Viajes El Corte Inglés, the fair’s sponsor, the presentation was attended by the director of the company’s Business Travel Unit, Juanjo Legarreta, who explained its support for the new event. “Further to its continual commitment to the business travel segment, Viajes El Corte Inglés is very excited to attend this first edition of Expo Turismo de Negocios,” said Legarreta. “Initiatives such as this are much needed in the business travel and meetings sector,” he added.