The 28th edition of BTL – Lisbon International Tourism Fair, from 02 to 06 March at FIL, Parque das Nações, is moving full steam ahead and already has some novelties.
The first phase of allocating the spaces for the exhibitors has already taken place, “which means that this year we resumed a practice that we had already implemented a few years ago, that is, we allocate the first spaces in December, thus anticipating the process by one month relative to BTL 2015”, says Fátima Vila Maior, director of FIL’s fair areas, responsible for BTL.
As of today, 7,000 m2 have already been allocated, which represents a 10% increase compared to the same period in 2014 for the 2015 edition.
Fátima Vila Maior adds: “We are very confident in the 2016 edition and noting a great movement of exhibitors, in the Distribution sector in particular, which will translate in an increase in the number of operators. We can confirm the presence of Halcon Viagens and Tui Viagens, which were not present in recent years. Abreu, Geostar, Q Viagens / Airmet, GEA Group, among others, will enhance their participation, with an increase in the usually hired space”.
“Thus, we can already assure a greater supply of products and services to those who visit us. BTL stands out once again as the privileged space where the Portuguese can find travel packages at very competitive prices. BTL is definitely the Tourism Fair in Portugal, with a diversified offer not only for trips, but for hotels and services aimed at different target audiences, from families, groups, to Senior Tourism and business travel”.
Reorganisation of the space
Another novelty at BTL 2016 will be the reorganisation of the spaces with a view to the optimisation, profitability and greater visibility of the exhibitors. In Pavilion 3, APAVT will have an important impact, occupying a more central space of greater dimension, thus enhancing its usual dynamism and including more associates in its space, who would not otherwise participate in BTL independently. On the other hand, Pavilion 2 will also change, where the hosted buyers lounge will be repositioned within the concept of the fair.
Hosted Buyers Programme
The hosted buyers programme remains a priority for the BTL organisation, and the aim includes consolidating it with the professionals. The BTL Organising Committee expects to welcome more than 400 international buyers and Fátima Vila Maior concludes: “we are working towards this goal with our partners, including TAP, Turismo de Portugal, promoting Entities from the various Regions, APAVT and representatives of the hotels in Lisbon. This year, we will maintain the specialisation strategy and the tourism products, that is, direct communication taking into account the specificities of each market”.
“In addition to traditional market buyers we want to attract new markets with great potential. It should be noted that these buyers will schedule meetings with the exhibitors and will also have the opportunity to meet various national tourist sites through organised tours, aimed at promoting Portugal to them. That is, BTL’s role is not limited to the Fair. BTL also supports the dissemination of the Country’s touristic products”.
Still within the field of hosted buyers, we will be launching a new segment dedicated to Music Festivals, which will be held within the scope of the participation of APORFEST – Portuguese Association of Music Festivals. This entity will bring its international buyers to BTL and the Portuguese exhibitors will then have a unique opportunity to come into contact with companies and organisations, which they would not have otherwise had.
Algarve is the national guest destination
During the five days of the International Tourism Fair, the Algarve will be highlighted in Pavilion 1, introducing to visitors its extensive touristic offer.
As the Algarve is the most important tourist region at the national level, which in 2014 registered about 16.4 million overnight stays, it is natural that in the next edition of BTL this important destination is valued and promoted next to the more than 72 thousand visitors this Fair welcomed in 2015.
The Algarve follows the Alentejo and the Azores, national guest destinations in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
For BTL 2016, we expect to surpass the 36 international destinations present in 2015. “In accordance with the contacts already made, we believe that we will exceed this number. We are recording great interest by some destinations to return to BTL and by others participating for the first time”, said Fátima Vila Maior.
Egypt will return in this edition and for Japan it will be the first time. We have also confirmed Morocco, Mozambique, Tunisia, Cape Verde, India, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Andalusia and the traditional Brazilian destinations.
Exhibitors streamline BTL 2016
BTL 2016 will have more than 1,000 exhibitors and intends to position itself not only as a Destinations Fair, but also a dynamic space, where various initiatives of interest are carried out, both for professionals and the general public.
Among the activities already confirmed, we can list the Publituris Awards, to be held on 2 March; on 3 March the Forum of the Institute for the Promotion and Development of Latin America (IPDAL) and a conference on Tourism and the Music Festivals organised by TalkFest. On 4 March the “Tourism Train Experiences” Awards will take place, organised by European University.
Also worthy of notice, is Talkfest 2016, which runs concurrently to BTL and the Iberian Festival Awards Gala, to be held on the evening of the 3rd, in Pavilion 1, and which will include a BTL Award.
Also, on 4 March, the Tourism Forum 2.1, in collaboration with Amadeus Portugal and BTL, will position itself as a bridge between training and the job market, creating the largest employment fair of the Tourism sector, with the main goal of bringing together more than 40 companies interested in hiring and attracting talent. The employability fair aims to offer more than 200 job opportunities.