Revamp focuses on ‘three pillars’
THE Austrian and Central European Travel Business 2012 (ACTB) opened its doors in Vienna to approximately 1,600 guests on January 22, 2012 for its two-day event with a joint presence that included Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, the Slovak and Czech Republics as well as the Danube Tourism Commission. 422 companies presented their tourist attractions to 791 buyers and international media representatives from a total of 48 countries.
The show which commenced the night saw an impressive evening of entertainment at the Vienna City Hall under the theme ‘Arrive and Revive - A Journey through Austria.’ In addition to the trade show, the fair also hosted a number of pre- and post-tours including a study tour organised by the Hungarian Tourist Office to sightsee in Budapest and Gödöllő. The Austrian Tourism Board arranged a visit to Innsbruck, also known as the capital of the Alps for buyers from the Middle East.
Networking opportunities were plentiful with a diverse range of hospitality suites across the city, showcasing the highlights of Vienna. Perhaps the most notable was the Donauturm which stands at 100 m high overlooking the Danube River.
At the event, the nine provincial tourist boards of Austria showcased their regions to highlight unique aspects of their province. The scope ranged from summer in the Mountains of Tirol to the Alpine Ski Championships in Styria with an emphasis on new developments.
The fair, which has been running since 1976, will change its format from next year starting following the results of a study undertaken by the University of St Gallen, which highlighted that the fair doesn’t offer international business partners enough opportunities for an authentic hands-on experience of Austrian tourism attractions. Consequently, moving forward, the fair will be based on three pillars: The ATB Experience, The ATB Sales and finally the sales promotion platforms abroad hosted by the Austria National Tourism Organisation (ANTO).
Starting from 2013, at the ATB Experience, international CEOs, product developers, and journalists from the major source markets will get together with the Austrian tourist industry’s top players every other year. This means international guests are offered the opportunity to get a hands-on experience of the country.
Every second year starting from 2014, ATB Sales will be exclusive to the Austrian market place to provide a platform for new business contracts and direct business transactions. ANTO will only invite international buyers that actually use the fair as a market place. In addition to these two events, ANTO will offer specific sales promotion platforms abroad for Austrian suppliers specialised in respective markets which will be customised to the needs of the region. “We are convinced that these three pillars will optimally support our Austrian partners in selling their tourist products. However, in the face of rapid development, we need to stay abreast in order to keep our competitive edge in international tourism for the future,” comments Dr Petra Stolba, CEO of the Austrian National Tourist Office.
The ACTB 2012 was held following an explosive year in 2011 in terms of visitors to Austria with an increase of 3.6 per cent in arrivals, setting a new record high of 34.6 million visitors for the year. With figures steadily increasing, it will be interesting to note the impact of the new format of the fair which has been designed to be more specific to the variety of needs of the attendees.
By Karen Osman