Regional trade meets the world in Barcelona

EIBTM 2007 will showcase the largest-ever presence from Eastern and Central Europe

MEETINGS and incentives profe-ssionals from around the world come together this month at EIBTM, which runs at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona from November 27 to 29.

Organisers Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) said it expected more than 95 countries to be represented at the show and some 6000 hosted buyers, trade visitors and press from around the world.
“With the exhibition floor larger than ever before, the range and diversity of products and services on offer for buyers and visitors to discover at EIBTM this year is set to be extensive,” said Mandy Torrens, exhibition director.
New exhibitors for 2007 include the China National Tourist Office, Nepal, Sun International, Korea, and Prestige Hotels of the World, while EIBTM will also welcome the biggest ever presence of Eastern and Central European partici-pants, including Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Serbia.
New initiatives for 2007 include a new Mediterranean area; a daily Technology Hour; the MPI Technology Village @ EIBTM; an expanded Event Services Village with 21 exhibitors; and a new third Hosted Buyer Lounge.

The Middle East is tipped to be one of the biggest movers and shakers at this year’s event as more countries in the region look to develop themselves as meetings destinations. Several regional MICE-related businesses and tourism boards will be at the event.
"From Dubai to Oman, Qatar to Bahrain, this is a region that the rest of the world wants to do business with," said Paul Kennedy MBE, group exhibition director of EIBTM organiser, RTE.  
"Over the longer term, the Middle East is expected to become a powerhouse as an outbound market although many expect it to be at least 10 years before any significant growth is seen."
The Middle East and North Africa will be represented at EIBTM by Dubai World Trade Centre, Bahrain, Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. RTE plans to select a number of hosted buyer groups from the region.
“Demand for meetings and incentives from the region is as yet unknown and unmeasured, but what is very clear is that on the supply side, the pace of development in the Middle East is more impressive than even Asia," Kennedy said.

For regional firms looking to partner with European companies, EIBTM looks set to have a record number of European exhibitors at this year’s event showcasing an extensive range of venues, products and services. New companies, increased stand space from returning exhibitors and a maintained presence by European destinations will see the most diverse representation for many years.
Eastern and Central Europe will have a significant presence at the event supp-orting its growing popularity as a meetings and incentives destination. Croatia, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary have all increased their stand space, while Poland, Slovenia and Ukraine are returning to exhibit this year. The city of Vilnius in Lithuania will also have its own stand, almost 30 per cent bigger than last year.
Northern Europe will also have a stronger presence at EIBTM this year with Sweden increasing its stand size by almost 30 per cent, Norway by eight per cent and Iceland has increased by 66 per cent more space. Denmark, Lapland and Finland are all returning to the show and Britain, Austria, Germany and France are set to have an even larger presence. Two major European cities, Munich and Birmingham, have decided to exhibit independently for the first time to focus on their own product offering and brand values which they feel are more than a match for their competitors.
Spain will have a strong representation from hotels, venues and convention bureaus such as Turismo Andaluz who have increased their stand size by 70 per cent and first time exhibitors Hoteles Santos, Palau Moxó, Port Aventura, Casa Llotja de Mar, Unitursa and Vincci Hoteles.
And from Asia, the China National Tourist Office is taking a stand for the first time, at a time when the world’s eyes are focused on this new economic powerhouse. China as a destination for international meetings business and as a domestic market for meetings is enjoying major growth. 
For the very first time the Vietnam Meeting and Incentive Club (VMIC) will take a stand at the event sharing it with Caravelle Hotel. Neighbouring country exhibitors include Laos and Cambodia.
At the same time, the Nepal Incentive and Convention Association has also confirmed its participation. The Korea Tourist Organisation is also returning to EIBTM having last participated in 2004. Both Hong Kong and Thailand return with stands about a third larger than before.
New Zealand returns after a year’s absence and according to the WTTC the country’s attractiveness for inbound business travel is estimated to generate $1.8 billion in 2007 and by 2017, this is expected to reach $2.6 billion.