30th EDITION EXCEEDED ALL EXPECTATIONS AND CONFIRMED COMMITMENT TO NATIONAL TOURISM
The 30th edition of BTL – Lisbon Travel Market, held at FIL, in Lisbon, was a great success and achieved record participation figures for exhibitors, professionals of the tourism sector and attractions for the public.
In total, the fair registered 77,000 visitors, which confirms an increase compared to the previous year, a growing tendency year after year. Particularly during the first three days, which saw 39,000 professionals establish new businesses and partnerships, representing an increase of 1,112 professionals compared to last year. During the weekend, 38,000 visitors made the most of the exclusive promotions and discounts available at BTL.
Fátima Vila Maior, Director of trade fairs at FIL and BTL Coordinator, said: “We are very pleased with this edition and the results achieved exceeded all our expectations. BTL 2018 was in fact a showcase of the current and future state of the national and international tourism sector. We were able to confirm the vitality and importance of Tourism for the economy and the daily life of the Portuguese people. The feedback we received from both the pros and the public could not be more positive, which further raises the bar for the next edition.”
“The focus this year, for the internal market, was on the various Portuguese regions and their municipalities, a total of 50 individual representations – 20 more than in 2017, presented the best of their cultural, ethnic and gastronomic heritage. In addition to the presence of every national tourism region, the Centro region, as National Guest Destination, and Pampilhosa da Serra, as National Guest Municipality, were highlighted and succeeded in charming the public with an extensive programme of activities and the vast diversity they offer,” concludes Fátima Vila Maior.
The 30th edition of BTL received official visits from the Prime Minister, António Costa, the Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral and the Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, among other institutional personalities of the political and economic panorama, reinforcing the weight of this event for the national economy.
One of the main focuses of the 30th edition was the BTL Lab&Trends area, dedicated to innovation in the sector. The first edition involved 20 startup and 10 tech companies. This area was also used for startup and tech company pitches, four Talks during which topics related to trends, innovation and the future were discussed, with guest speakers and a large audience.
The trade professionals also responded very positively to the BTL Meetings Industry / MICE, an area developed for the Business Tourism sector, which was highlighted in this edition for its promotion of a specific Hosted Buyers programme. This area brought together companies and entities promoting multiple national offers and that demonstrate the excellence and quality of this segment, which has grown exponentially in Portugal. Also worth mentioning is the participation of the Employability Exchange, organised by Fórum Turismo 2.1, which presented more than 10,000 job vacancies, an increase of around 6,000 jobs compared to 2017.
The Hosted Buyers programme involved more than 400 international buyers from 39 markets, nine more countries compared to 2017, which held more than 3,273 pre-scheduled and scheduled meetings with companies present at BTL. Noteworthy partnerships with TAP, Turismo de Portugal, APAVT, partner hotels and Grupo Barraqueiro added to the success of this programme.
According to Fátima Vila Maior, “this year’s edition excelled thanks to the innovation and dynamism of the participating companies. An example of this was the BTL Lab&Trends area, an area that, given its success, promises to innovate even more in 2019, or the Kids Route, an activity which took place for the second time, with twice as many participants as last year, confirming an investment in future travellers through the discovery of Portugal”.
Organised by FIL, the AIP Foundation, BTL 2018 was attended by 42 international destinations, including Morocco, Egypt, Cuba, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Brazil, participating for the first time or returning to mark their presence at the fair.