Innovation and technology played a starring role at Fitur 2014, which this year devoted a large part of its trade program to analyzing the role that technologies have to play within the hotel sector and tourist industry as a whole.
Throughout the course of Fiturtech and FiturGreen, tourism and hotel representatives and professionals explored the potential that mobility, connectivity and other technological developments are able to offer in terms of consolidating the relationship between hotels, destinations and tourists.
With the final figures pending, early reports from the organizers of the report indicate a 3-5 percent increase in the number of trade visitors over the first three days, based on a figure of some 120,000 members of the industry. With regard to the general public, the total figure will be around 220,000 visitors, an increase of 7 percent.
The first conference presented at Fiturtech 2014 was the Inaugural Address by Julio Bruno, the Vice-Chairman of Global Sales at TripAdvisor for Business. This was followed by a roundtable conference in which several heads of online travel agencies analysed the role that OTA’s play within the tourist industry today and their future role as tourism retailing channels.
On Thursday the event consisted of a meeting that brought together the largest number of professionals at Fiturtech 2014. Participants gathered to listen to a group of international hoteliers such as Andres Girondeau, the Executive Vice-President of Melia Hotels International and Hugo Rovira, Managing Director of NH Hotel Group. The speakers highlightednew strategies and fields of specialization for the future, as well as analyzing the current situation within the industry in the light of the economic crisis.
In the afternoon, Fiturtech 2014 hosted the staging of the International Travel Media Meeting, which analysed new technologies and showcased upcoming travel trends under the headings of tourism marketing, e-commerce, mobility and retailing.
“FITUR has demonstrated the need to focus our sector’s efforts on developing technological solutions that are not only capable of boosting hotel and tourism companies, but also offer a series of unique experiences that are tailored to the needs of every tourist,” said Alvaro Carrillo de Albornoz, Managing Director of the ITH.
On Friday, the closing day of FITUR, the event kept its focus on cutting-edge technologies for tourism, innovation and the latest developments in areas as disparate as Big Data, robotics and nanotechnology. Several conferences were delivered by Javier Delgado, Head of Travel, Global TA at Google; Pedro Moneo, founder and CEO of Opinno and publisher of the MIT Technology Review in Spanish; and Patricia Araque, the co-founder and CEO of Ellas2.0.
Fiturtech also introduced thousands of visitors to Google Glass, one of the best-known and revolutionary technological accessories, which offers endless possibilities for hotels and the realm of tourism. Its presence at the Fiturtech stand attracted hundreds of businessmen and professionals, who had the opportunity to try the tool out and discover its applications before this technology becomes available to the general public.
FITUR 2014 also saw the fifth staging of FiturGreen, an event organised by the Hotel Technology Institute (ITH), the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and FITUR, in collaboration with Grupo Habitat Futura, presented the results of various technology projects designed to promote the sustainability of the hotel sector. Under the heading of “Sustainability at Tourist Destinations”, the opening day at FiturGreen was devoted to reviewing good practices at cities and in countries that have designed sustainable tourism management and promotion policies.
The trade event, which is organized by IFEMA, was preceded by the announcement of record figures for Spanish tourism, figures which place Spain in third position in the world ranking in terms of number of foreign tourists (ahead of China) and in second place in the ranking in terms of tourism revenue. The event itself featured a packed and intense working agenda consisting of thousands of meetings, contacts, agreements and business opportunities among the nearly 9,000 companies taking part at FITUR from 165 countries.
FITUR returns to Madrid January 21 – 25, 2015.