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The Events Market Relaunched From BTC

November 20, 2013 MICE No Comments Email Email

The best show of the last few years: BTC, Italy’s events and conference tourism exhibition, closed last week, after having registered record figures on all fronts.

The market rewarded the return to Florence and the change of dates with double the numbers in attendance: the total attendance figure came out at 6,724 over the two days of the show, compared with 3,300 last year.

Warwick Hotel San FranciscoThe show registered strong growth on all fronts: exhibitor numbers were up 22%, with 313 companies present, while international buyers increased by 40%, with 300 events and conference organisers from 22 countries (mainly from Europe, Russia, Brazil, India, China, Japan, the US) interested in making contact with Italian and international supply-side operators.

7,152 appointments were held between international buyers and sellers, an increase of 32% on the previous show.

BTC 2013 welcomed more than 100 new exhibitors: these included three important international tourism boards, fromIsrael, Mexico and Poland.

Italy presented the conference offer of Tuscany, Puglia, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Sicily, Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Basilicata and the City of Turin.

This record-breaking show further confirmed BTC’s strategic role for the sector: a marketplace for the industry and a great opportunity to present new projects, discuss innovation and plan change.

BTC provided a concrete response to an industry in search of the right stage to express all of its potential: the sector is valued at USD 1,000 billion worldwide, and accounts for 25% of global tourist traffic. In Italy alone, it employees 300,000 people and generates GDP of approximately EUR 15,000 billion (source: conference industry financial data, University ofBologna).

Gian Luigi Piacenti, chairman of Exmedia,  the TTG Italia (Rimini Fiera Group) company that organises BTC, commented:“with this edition of BTC, we are convinced that we have fulfilled our remit, offering companies new business opportunities and our country a great deal of food for thought on events’ value for destinations and business as a whole. We hope that the sector and institutions can use this as a launching pad to meet the demand for innovation, development and growth from the whole meetings industry”.

BTC is the only international show for the events and conference industry in Italy. We are encouraged by the response we received from the market, because it means that the sector really wants to make its voice heard”, added Paolo Audino, CEO of Exmedia. “We have often heard that the exhibition model is obsolete, but when we take part in major exhibitions abroad – which have the same model as BTC – we do not feel the need to change the model. We are also xenophiles in this regard. The show is a reflection of the market that it represents, and we still have a long way to go in Italy before we can say that this important sector of our economy is regarded as it should be”.

He continues: “shows are a unique opportunity for industry players to boost their visibility and compare notes, and must be continuously updated, above all in terms of content, to help them develop their business. BTC has been moving in this direction for some time, providing, in addition to negotiations between demand- and supply-side operators, a rich programme of seminars, conventions and networking opportunities”. This year, this programme registered full attendance: there was a total of around 30 seminars, panel discussions and conventions organised by BTC and its partners (Federcongressi&Eventi, MPI Italia, SITE Italia, Federalberghi Toscana) on the topics of green meetings, crowdsourcing, emerging trends, new technologies and meeting design, social media in boosting hotel revenues, gamification, personal branding, innovation and brand naming.

“For the first year”, says Audino, “we also held a Politicians Forum here in Italy, in order to raise awareness among institutions and politicians of the industry’s importance for the Italian economy. This initiative was intended to promote the industry, and we plan to further develop the format with this objective in mind”.

“We were only partially satisfied with this first edition, because few politicians attended. This was not something that depended on BTC, but was rather due to the low propensity among our political classes to listen. It was however important to take this first step, and it was a challenge we fully embraced”.

This year’s BTC also saw the launch of activities of the Regions’ and Autonomous Provinces’ Coordination Committee for the development of conference tourism in Italy, comprising associations Enit, Federcongressi&Eventi, Confturismo-Confcommercio, Federturismo-Confindustria and Assoturismo-Confesercenti.

The events dedicated to buyers, designed to offer them an experience of the region and its leading venues, also proved a success. These comprised the welcome ceremony in Palazzo Borghese, a Renaissance-themed evening in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, concluding in the Hard Rock Cafè, and five educational tours (Livorno, Terre di Siena,Florence, Umbria and Bologna).

The 30th BTC will be held in Florence on 11 and 12 November 2014.

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