The B2B revolution of Bit 2014, scheduled to take place at Fieramilano, Rho from February 13-15, 2014, is already meeting with approval from operators in the sector. The first important applications to participate in the event have already arrived from some of the Italian regions: from the North of Italy, Emilia Romagna and the Veneto, from Central Italy, the Marches, Tuscany and Liguria – which is returning to the fair this year with Ente Regione – and, representing the South of Italy and the islands, Calabria and Sardinia. Sardinia’s participation in the fair is particularly significant, following the recent dramatic floods, however, the island is not missing this chance of a strategic focus on its tourism offering and, on the contrary, has increased its investment. The Tuscany region has also increased its investment in Bit.
Together, these regions represent an important share of the Italian tourism industry: Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and the Veneto, in particular, are the top three regions both in terms of arrivals and in terms of the presence of Italian and foreign visitors, and for their offering of beds in hotels (ONT – National Tourism Observatory data), whereas the Marches is distinctive because of its unusual blend of seaside and tourist products offering new experiences, and is opening up to new targets. At Bit 2014, such ventures will be displayed in a new area with more than30 incomingoperators under the #destinazionemarche umbrella.
As far as international exhibitors are concerned, many places in the five continents have already expressed their eagerness to participate in the fair. To mention just a few, a fast-growing area like Eastern Europe will be represented by Croatia, Hungary and Macedonia, which is coming again this year after its debut at last year’s show. Showing the strong impact of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, an army of exhibitors are coming from the Palestinian Authority, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen. Asian nations participating include China, South Korea, Cambodia, Japan, India, Malaysia and Thailand; from Africa, Ethiopia, Botswana, Namibia and Uganda; while Argentina, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the U.S.A. will represent the Americas.
This widespread show of support is partly due to the many new features of Bit 2014, all of which point to B2B: new timescales, different kinds of workshops, the fact that Milan will be the location of Expo 2015, and the chance to benefit from the new services active prior to the event.
This winning mix will strengthen Bit 2014’s role as a key international businessplatform for the sector, something confirmed by the figures from Bit 2013: more than 2,100 exhibitors from 100 countries, more than 53,600 professional visitors, 1,000 companies and 700 international buyers participating in the workshops, more than 2,000 accredited journalists and over 19,000 business matches.
The revolution starts with the dates of the fair. Three days instead of four, from Thursday to Saturday, all of them for the operators. The travelling public, who have to pay an admission fee, will only be able to access the show on Saturday. The Italy section of the fair will be located in Pavilions 1 and 3 and The World in Pavilions 2 and 4, which will also host the Business Village. This formula aims to focus even more keenly on business: because people who work in the travel business know that the most important factor is the return, in every sense of the word.
The new Bit BuyExpo 2015 workshop is organised on similar lines: thanks to the presence of selected hosted buyers, Bit 2014 will become a setting for planning and purchasing tourist packages associated with Expo 2015 before the event, a fantastic opportunity for the Italian and international market. In this context, Bit 2014 will be able to derive even more value from its location in Milan, the main Italian focus for business, fashion, design and shopping, and a metropolis of global importance in the international scenario. The workshop is being jointly organised by Bit, Fiera Milano and Expo 2015, which has already started and which, from now until the six months of the exhibition, will gradually develop a series of initiatives to maximise the returns in the form of tourism.
It’s also a revolution for Bit BuyItaly: Bit 2014, the world’s leading showcase for promoting Italy, will be transformed from being a traditional workshop into a programme of pre-organised meetings at the stands. A veritable diary of pre-scheduled appointments, valid for two days and included in the exhibition package. There is also expected to be an increase in the number of specialised hosted buyers: in total, more than 1,000 buyers and more than 2,500 sellers are expected to attend.
The buyers like the new formula too: only a few weeks before selection begins, more than 500 candidates have been profiled from the top international buyers, both from more dynamic economies such as Brazil, China, South Korea, India, Indonesia and Thailand, and from traditional markets like Germany and the U.S.A.. Special attention will also be devoted to the travel business segment and MICE thanks to the strategic partnership sealed with Alessandro Rosso, which, in the last few days, was also nominated the top Authorised Reseller at Expo 2015.
Admission is free for professional visitors if they pre-register by February 12, 2014. Trade operators and consumers will both be admitted but only on Saturday 14 February, to enable tour operators and destination countries to offer special, exclusive deals to individual travelers attending Bit 2014.
The fair will have a major training and information component, which will involve the presence of some of the best-known opinion leaders and influencers in the sector. Exhibitors will also have access to conference rooms for special training sessions, an events area for corporate conventions and networking sessions organised in partnership with Bit 2014.
Bit 2014, www.bit.fieramilano.it