THIS year’s edition of the Mediterranean Travel Fair (MTF), being held from September 5 to 7 at the Cairo International Convention and Exhibition Centre, comes at a particularly appropriate time, following the recent war, ceasefire and continuing tension in Lebanon.
The region’s tourism industry has pulled together marvellously in support, and partnerships forged at events just such as this are crucial to taking the region forward. TTN caught up with Chris Chackal, group exhibitions director at Reed Travel Exhibitions, which organises the show to find out what visitors to the show might expect this year. Excerpts:
What can exhibitors and visitors expect at this year’s show? What’s new?
Exhibitors and visitors can expect the ultimate in business networking at the only dedicated travel industry (trade) exhibition for the Eastern Mediterranean region. Participants can experience this dedicated travel event that focuses on the Eastern Mediterranean area, incorporating the key markets of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. It is the ideal platform to generate new leads, strengthen current relationships and promote a company and products.
The Hosted Buyer programme was new to the show last year and this year will double in size attracting key meetings and incentives buyers from around the world. The show will also see the Meridian Club lounge moving onto the show floor to be situated next to the hosted appointment session area, making it more convenient and accessible to our VIP buyers. Other key initiatives include the MTF e-newsflash, key sponsors and the increased seminar programme.
So there’s a special focus on Greece this year?
Greece will be this year’s feature country and will host a gala dinner on the opening evening of the exhibition at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza. They will also be exhibiting on stand of over 160sqm showcasing all that this unique destination has to offer.
How many visitors and exhibitors are you expecting this year over last year’s numbers?
In 2005, MTF attracted 201 exhibitors from 29 countries; this year too, we’re on track to be similar to last year. In terms of visitor numbers, 2,051 visitors attended the show from 46 countries (1,516 travel trade, 288 Meridian Club, 28 Hosted Buyers and 219 press), a seven per cent increase on 2004. Trade pre-registration, both local and international, is exceeding expectations and is currently over 150 per cent up on the same figure for time period last year.
How will the continuing tension in Lebanon affect the show? Are you taking any steps to assure the exhibitors?
We understand the complexity of the situation in the Middle East and the impact it might leave on the event. However, the Middle East has passed through similar (and even more acute) tensions in the past and this did not prevent people from pursuing their businesses. Egypt has traditionally been a very safe and stable venue and as a peace broker in the Middle East, we expect exhibitors and visitors to feel comfortable about going to Cairo.