B-Travel in Barcelona takes over Catalonia's International Tourism Fair after 23 years
B-Travel is a Barcelona-based tourism show bringing together some 215 exhibitors from across the industry and more than 50 different destinations. The event, one of the most important of its kind in Europe, kicked off on Friday at Fira de Barcelona's Montjuïc venue, taking over Catalonia's International Tourism Fair after 23 years. Conceived as a new meeting point for travellers and tourism companies seeking enriched customer experiences, it aims at tailoring the tourist offering to each visitor's needs. This year, attendees can sign up to the B- Travel Internet Community upon their arrival and receive customised information on the vast array of tourism offers on display, focusing on specific types of tourism such as cultural, gastronomic, shopping, rural, and adventure sports, among others.
Barcelona (ACN).- B-Travel is a Barcelona-based tourism show bringing together some 215 exhibitors from across the industry. The event, one of the most important of its kind in Europe, kicked off on Friday at Fira de Barcelona's Montjuïc venue, taking over Catalonia's International Tourism Fair after 23 years. Conceived as a new meeting point for travellers and tourism companies seeking enriched customer experiences, it aims at tailoring the tourist offering to each visitor's needs. Prior to their arrival, attendees can sign up to the B- Travel Community on the internet and easily find what best suits them among the vast array of options on display, focusing on specific types of tourism such as cultural, gastronomic, shopping, rural, and adventure sports, among others. Visitors will be able to choose from destinations close to home as well as middle and long-distance ones, in more than 50 countries and regions around the world. According to Felip Puig, Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, this new version of the fair "allows us to align with the new market trends where tourists are more interested in the product than the destination".
The event is organised in 5 themed areas, linked to 5 main trends in the industry: B-Happy (for trips with family and friends, romantic getaways, wellness trips, etc.); B-Culture (for travelling related to art, history and culture); B-Special (for tourism focused on new luxury, shopping, cooperation and rediscovery of local attractions); B-Adventure (for sports, nature and adventure lovers, such as rural, nautical, mountain, and cycling pursuits); and finally, B-Delicious (encompassing food and wine tourist routes).
"In order to tailor the visit to their interests, people need to sign up to the B-Travel Internet Community prior to their arrival, to receive customised information on what to look for once at the exhibition," said Marta Serra, the director of B-Travel. "We have evolved towards an experience-focused model so as to align with the latest trends in the industry" she added. "This strategic change will continue to be developed in future editions as destinations and companies position their offerings within the different trends" she concluded.
For example, the Canary Islands and Cuba are exhibiting under the B-Happy banner, promoting their warm weather and beaches; Madrid shopping, local Irish culture and the hidden treasures of Peru have chosen B-Special; Israel, Aragon and the city of Barcelona are B-Culture, and Argentinian Patagonia, Croatia and the French region of Midi-Pyrénées are B-Adventure. Galicia, Andalusia, the Balearic Islands and Catalonia have defined themselves as B-Delicious.
B-Travel brings together more than 200 exhibitors, representing about 1,000 companies
B-Travel brings together the offerings of some 215 exhibitors, representing around 1,000 companies, including domestic and international destinations, travel agencies, hotels, transport companies, shipping lines, and tourism products and services.
Most of Spain's Autonomous Communities are represented this year, in addition to more than 50 countries and regions from around the world. Besides European and Asian destinations, some North African countries will participate too, such as Morocco and Tunisia. For the first time, there will be nautical tourism proposals, with charter companies, scuba-diving centres and sailing schools, and gay-targeted tourism offerings.
B-Travel will also feature the B-Delicious gastronomic zone, where visitors can discover the culinary attractions of different parts of Catalonia and other countries such as Italy, Greece and Iran, and also a selection of Michelin-star Catalan restaurants.
The show will include seminars for professionals and travellers
The show includes a number of parallel events as well, such as seminars on trends in the tourist industry, the Student Tourism Congress and the Healthcare & Tourism Summit on health tourism.
Two business actions sponsored by Barcelona Activa will also take place: the Job Market Place, which will bring together job candidates and companies with vacancies, and the Synergys networking session.
Finally, a Travel Blogger Meeting will be held, focused this year on travel photography in the blogosphere, and which will be attended by more than 100 bloggers.
As well as becoming an annual show specialised in experience tourism, B-Travel also wishes to position itself as a new digital platform, the B-Travel Community, to enable travel enthusiasts to keep up-to-date on the latest trends in the tourist industry all year round. For example, a Facebook app was launched for sending travel photographs, which are featured on the show’s poster.
2015 expected to be a "very good year" for tourism in Catalonia
Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, has predicted that 2015 will be a "very good year" for tourism in Catalonia, as "the sector is showing signs of recovery both internally and in the rest of Spain". He stated that in 2015 the number of Russian tourists will probably go up again, pointing out that last year, despite a 20% decline on arrivals from the Eastern European country, "foreign tourism in Catalonia increased by 7%". "In Europe we are already competing in the Champions League and I think we can be a first division player also in the world," said Puig.
Isabel Borrego, Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism, has also predicted a good year for the sector in the whole of Spain. "After the increase registered in the first months of 2015, more than 18 million international tourists are expected to arrive in the current quarter", she said. Borrego highlighted the importance of innovation, in order to remain competitive within the market.