Tourism industry meets at Bit. The fortieth edition of BitMilano finished up last Tuesday after three days full of dynamism, networking and high-quality content. Satisfaction of more than 1,100 exhibitors from 68 countries, both Italian and international destinations, DMC/DMO, hotel chains, tour operators, network of agencies, carriers and associations.
The event welcomed more than 40,000 visitors, including travellers, journalists and industry operators, confirming BitMilano’s international flavour: Greece, Switzerland, Spain, India, Russian Federation and the USA the top countries of origin, obviously after Italy. Satisfaction also confirmed by more than 600 Buyers selected by Fiera Milano from 65 countries, in particular, from the USA, India, Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa.
MyMatching platform greatly appreciated, which facilitated B2B meetings, as highlighted by Dick Mercer, President of Experience Italy (California), who states: “I am very satisfied with the events I organised on the platform, especially with the ability to select who to meet with”. A total of 11,198 business matches organised through MyMatching, which once again confirms the effectiveness of the system adopted. Also Sergio F. Medina Head of Contrastes (Argentina) who states: “This year we were especially impressed with the platform which is extremely useful for all of us, as it allows us to effectively organise meetings and avoid wasting time on such challenging days”.
The 2020 edition rewarded the high-quality contents which emerged from the packed convention programme, which took an in-depth look primarily at four subject areas, Training, Technology, Hot Topics, Food-and-wine tourism. More than 5,000 participants actually attended the 100 events. The quality of the speeches held in MICE Village on the subject areas Bit4Job, BeTech, with 40 Start-ups present, and I Love Wedding, was also appreciated, as were the multitude of presentations and training initiatives organised by the exhibitors.
LGBTQ+ tourism, segment that generates € 2.7 billion in Italy. The trade fair saw the presentation of the 37th IGLTA - International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association annual convention, scheduled for 6th to 9th May in Milan, the location also selected thanks to the collaborative promotion of the event's previous editions by BitMilano.
The trend in the travel industry was outlined in the 23rd Report on Italian Tourism, which registers an average annual increase of approximately 4% in international tourism and an increase of 2.9% in domestic tourism, and is confirmed by the operators present. Travellers continue to look for a unique experience and the biggest trends also this year are food-and-wine, cultural tourism, slow tourism and well-being, with increasingly greater demand for eco-sustainable holidays, especially from Millennials.
The exhibitors emphasise how BitMilano is an indicator of the state of health and of the new trends in the industry: “The trade show confirms the interest in sustainable tourism, an area we are focussing heavily on, also with the campaign centred on the bike cluster, with our endorser Vincenzo Nibali, - stresses Claudia Lanari, head of communication for the Marche Region; - Buyers have shown huge interest in slow experiences, linked to both activities to be experienced in nature and culture”.
The Piedmont Region, which returned to Bit again this year, adding to the influx of a large number of buyers, confirms, thanks to the statement by Alessandra Fassio, head of tourism promotion for the Piedmont Region, that the latter “have requested, in particular, high quality food-and-wine courses, with a focus also on culture and the proposals dedicated to events like L’anno del Cinema or L’anno del Barocco, that will incorporate more than 200 events. There is also growing interest in Bicycle tourism”.
Nature, the sea, food-and-wine and green are the hot topics also in Brazil. Gilson Machado, president of Embratur – Brazilian Agency For International Tourism Promotion, explains: “We have returned to Bit because the Italian market is also very important for presenting our new tourism focus areas, eco-sustainability, nature and food-and-wine, but also the uniqueness of 80,000 kilometres of spectacular beaches, the opportunity to enjoy ethno-tourism, an area attracting huge interest”.
The notable interest in local cuisine as a driver for tourism was also confirmed by the “2020 Report on Italian Food-and-Wine Tourism”: 71% of travellers want to enjoy memorable food-and-wine experiences, while 59% of tourists choose from the multitude of destinations those that offer food-related experiences.
A comparison with the most important foreign competitors shows thatItaly is a country on the move: based on the Nielsen Travel & Leisure scenario of the Italian traveller whereby 60% of Italian nationals state that they have taken “at least” one week-long trip during the last year. 30% of travellers book their holidays less than one month in advance, and, as regards preferred destinations, for 67% Italy remains the top travel destination: in particular, in terms of the ranking of the Regions, Puglia comes out on top. In Europe, Spain is the winner. A final detail of note: 71% of those who went on holiday last summer got information on the Internet, doing research using search engines and review sites. For Italian tourism companies, the use of digital media and channels to communicate with their potential customers at the right moment and in the right place is becoming an increasing priority.
An interesting fact emerges among Millennials, young people born in the digital era who can’t seem to do without the internet and smartphones: 72% of those are worried that technology is distracting them from experiencing their trip the way they want and, therefore, are ready to “disconnect”, by taking a break from their digital lives. Becoming “unreachable”, even if just for a few weeks, is a genuine luxury.
If the decisions of the Millennials are drivers of the offering of tourist operators, a significant role is also played by “Seniors”: silver tourism is actually experiencing exponential growth. Tourism spending from Italian over 65s is estimated at roughly € 5 billion; we can add a further € 5 billion to this from foreign seniors, attracted by Italian art and culture. Being in touch with nature is one of the most appreciated trends by the target.
The world of associations is also satisfied with this edition: “Our participation in Bit2020 stems from having taken note, from the outset, of Fiera Milano’s desire to reboot the event”, states Nardo Filippetti, President of ASTOI Confindustria Viaggi. And he goes on: “At the end of these three days, we can say we are satisfied and reiterate that our trust has been repaid”
A positive experience also for the FTO, Federation of Organised Tourism. “Huge satisfaction with the results obtained by the two initiatives implemented, "Racconti di viaggio", the format conceived to convey to the consumer destinations and experiences offered by our tour operators, and the "FTO Travel Academy", two days of training offered to the trade by qualified professionals on digital marketing, motivational coaching, tax and legal matters.” - declares Gabriele Milani, National Director of FTO. “Our stand has become, for three days, a point of reference and a meeting point for travellers and all operators from the tourist chain and the media. Also on the international buyers front, we received extremely positive feedback on the role that the Federation is playing in the international domain as a contact point for arrivals to Italy.”
The appointment with the next edition of BitMilano is at fieramilanocity from 7th to 9th February 2021.