Crucial CIS event ups spa, cruise focus

The CIS Travel Market 2007 will introduce new concepts like Spa and Cruise tourism

In its 15th year, the annual CIS Travel Market has established itself as a key business-to-business exhibition for the travel industry.

The inbound and outbound travel event for the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Russian Federation, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, it is organised jointly by Reed Travel Exhibitions and St Petersburg Express.
With new additions within the framework of the show such as cruise and spa tourism segments this year, TTN spoke to Irina Bobrova, head of Russian Travel Trade Fairs at JSC St Petersburg Express to find out more.
What can we expect to see at the CIS Travel Market 2007? What’s new this year, what has been added?
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the INWETEX – CIS TRAVEL exhibition. This is a crucial exhibition for the travel and tourism industry for North-West Russia and acts as a pivotal link with the Baltic and Scandinavian markets. Over the 15 years of its existence, CIS has become crucial event for the travel industry, providing an ideal platform to conduct business for both Russian and international exhibitors and visitors.
This year a new section of spa tourism has been added, in the form of the specialised Spas 2007 exhibition. A high interest in health tourism, combined with the ever-growing demand for fitness, wellness and spa services in the  market has provided the rapid development of the industry. Thus, the show increases opportunities for tourist business professionals, enabling them to break into their target markets, to obtain complete information on the spa market and get acquainted with offers and meet prospective business partners.
One more first is the business co-operation programme, with represent-atives of the Czech Republic, Japan, Malaysia, Portugal and India participating.

Which countries will be represented at the exhibition this year?
Every year we see an increased number of exhibitors and visitors from a number of different destinations. This year more than 400 exhibitors from 37 countries will be presented at the CIS Travel Market. National tourist boards of Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Portugal will take part in the show for the first time. Each year the CIS Travel Market provides international exhibitors with the opportunity to host a destination briefing to an audience of Russian outbound tour operators and travel agents. This year about 50 briefings and presentations will be held.

What business numbers can you provide from last year?
Last year about 70 per cent of business contacts took place. Given the increase of exhibitors this year, we expect an increase in the number of contracts signed.

What are your estimates for 2007?
In practice, INWETEX annually sums up high season results. Regarding preliminary estimates St Petersburg hosted 15 per cent tourists more in comparison with the last year. News agencies have quoted tour operators as being busy with business despite the high season being finished. This has resulted in an increased number of exhibitors and total floor space at the show has been increased 20 per cent in comparison with last year.
What are the specific markets that have benefited from the CIS Travel Market? And how?
The CIS Travel Market is the travel and tourism exhibition for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), North West Russia and the Baltic markets. Buyers and sellers, both regionally and internationally meet to take advantage of the increasing outbound and inbound Russian tourism potential. Held in St Petersburg, CIS Travel Market provides its exhibitors and visitors with an important and viable business alternative to the Moscow centric market.
Travel and Tourism trends reconfirm that this region is buoyant and growing annually, attracting more and more visitors from all over the world. Year on year companies within the industry are capitalizing on this lucrative market.

What are the seminars and conferences lined up at CIS 2007?
The event will see a large number of conferences, presentations and business meetings will be held. The plenary session is devoted to the problems of inbound and domestic tourism in Russia will take place. The main topics of discussion will draw attention to the problems of tourism industry infrastructure development, regional and city marketing, issues of ecotourism development in North-West of Russia and other significant issues of Russian tourist industry development.
The International MICE conference, MICE Industry in Russia: From Theory to Practice, will allow attendees to learn from the experiences of key players in the market, to develop recommend-ations to the MICE industry, to present international case studies from within the industry and to present a vast range of services and industry achievements.
Among those participating in the conferences are representatives of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the administration of St.Petersburg, municipal authorities, and others.