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ITTFA Comment on… ITTFA Embraces Booming Markets

Two new exhibitions to join ITTFA – from China and India – indicate the growing importance of these countries in international tourism and the global importance of the travel exhibition industry.

Arabian Travel Market, held in Dubai, became the first exhibition outside Europe to join the organisation, heralding a name change from ETTFA to ITTFA in May 2005.

The latest recruits are the Beijing International Travel and Tourism Market (BITTM – April 3-5, 2006) and South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE – April 20-22, 2006, held in Delhi).

BITTM is a relatively new event staged for the first time in 2005, and is a strictly business-to-business show. It focuses on the outbound market from China, which is experiencing spectacular growth as more countries gain Approved Destination Status for Chinese visitors.

Stanislava Blagoeva Duschell, who set up the first BITTM and acts as consultant to advisers Tarsus Travel Exhibitions, says: China will produce 100 million departures by 2020 spending an average of $175 a day, a growth of 12.8% per year. Registered departures in 2004 were 28 million – up 15%.

The increase of disposal income in Chinese families, due to favourable economic and social factors, is a clear sign that these estimates will be surpassed. China will become the largest tourist generating market in the world earlier then expected.

She adds: Travel and tourism is a global industry, and exhibitions and events servicing the industry should be a true representation of it. We are honoured to be one of the first exhibitions to join ITTFA.

BITTM 2005 had 120 exhibitors from 31 countries and produced an estimated $9.3 million worth of business – a figure that could well grow as fast as the outbound market.

SATTE’s decision to join ITTFA is timely because India has adopted an open skies policy this year, leading to a huge increase in air capacity. From the UK, for example, Jet Airways, Virgin Atlantic and BMI have all started services in competition with Air-India and British Airways.

SATTE is a well established trade-only event already 12 years in operation, and it has adopted the slogan OPENWORLD this year as it aims to bring together 5,000 international buyers with an equal number of Indian-based organisations.

India’s huge market is growing at 30% year on year, and is expected to reach over 10 million outbound by the end of 2006. India’s growth potential for outbound travel is enormous, with another 350 million domestic movements to draw upon.

The Gulf region, by comparison, has a small resident population but one which has a very high per capita income. Airlines are expanding rapidly and ATM in Dubai attracted over 7,000 trade visitors in 2005, with over 1,600 exhibitors from 64 countries.

Tom Nutley, chairman of ITTFA and of ATM organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions, says: The international travel and tourism industry is set to grow by 5.1% to $9.8 trillion, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

I am delighted that these three exhibitions have joined ITTFA, which is now a global organisation serving a global industry. All these markets have huge potential both inbound and outbound.