In thirty years of history the International Tourism Exchange (BIT) has shown constant growth and always anticipated trends. The same goes for the 2010 edition, with its wealth of new ideas, its attention to new market segments and niches for operators and its increasing involvement of travelers.
On the television Heather Parisi with her Disco Bambina is all the rage. Bell-bottoms and flared skirts are still in fashion. At the cinema, American Gigolo is launching a new sex symbol by the name of Richard Gere. It is 1981 and in Milan there is something else that’s new: the debut of the first International Tourism Exchange in the halls of the city’s trade fair quarter. 294 exhibitors representing 24 foreign countries and 36,000 visitors: much lower numbers than today’s, but everyone immediately realised that this was a great innovation for the sector in Italy, one destined to last over time.
THE HISTORY: BIT GROWS AND FOCUSES
It immediately becomes known to everyone as the “Bit” and this new fair keeps its promises. Set up with a flexible dynamic formula, it constantly evolves, with new initiatives every year: a capacity to anticipate trends and interpret them as business opportunities for Operators and elements of attraction for Travellers soon turn it into the benchmark event for this sector in Italy.
Just five years after its debut, in 1985 Buyitaly is created: this is the very first workshop where Italian supply and demand meet up and still today the most important in the world. In 1985 there were just dozens of Buyers and Sellers: today they total 540 and 2000. With BuyItaly Bit introduces a concept way ahead of its time that combines the wide-reaching vision of a great fair with focus on more specialist events.
A concept that is then developed in the nineties with new special areas and workshops dedicated to technologies for tourism, the great outdoors, food and wine, the hotel industry, business and incentive tourism, spiritual and motivational tourism.
THE HISTORY: BIT BECOMES MORE AND MORE INTERNATIONAL
In the 2000s the internationalisation process is accentuated, leading Bit to become one of the top four tourism fairs in the world. In 2005, Bit is one of the first to turn attention to emerging economies, inviting the City of Beijing as its Guest of Honour, with exclusive previews on the future Olympics. The International Tourism Forums organised during the show become an opportunity for top-level international encounters and dialogue: the 2002 edition sees participation by the theorist of the new economy, Jeremy Rifkin, and in 2003 by the Nobel prize winner in economics, Robert Mundell. In 2008, the opening conference is attended not only by 40 Ministers for Tourism from all over the world, but also by real world general states in the sector. In 2006 the Bit Tourism Award was set up, in 2008 Bit is also one of the first tourism events to be launched on web 2.0 with the www.bit-channel.com community. And, thanks to this mix of unique characteristics, since 2008 Bit has constantly exceeded the record figure of over 150,000 visitors.
“The history of Bit has increasingly looked towards the future and has increasingly expanded into the world”, comments Enrico Pazzali, CEO of Fiera Milano, “and at the same time careful to grasp the opportunities offered to the market by new segments and special niches. The strength of Bit lies in its multi-target formula, which allows focus of a business-oriented event to be combined with the interest held by a large event open to the travelling public”.
BIT TODAY: AROUND THE WORLD IN FOUR DAYS
A four-day trip, from Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 February 2010 at the Rho fieramilano trade fair complex. On Saturday and Sunday the fair is open also to the Travelling Public, with one free ticket for every ticket bought in advance online at www.bit.fieramilano.it.
In eight halls Bit 2010 brings together the cream of world tourism. In The World area (halls 2-4) 130 countries showcase their tourism products and services; these include the outstanding presence of South Africa, this year’s host of the World Cup, and Abu Dhabi. Important new entries in 2010: Albania, Ecuador, Sudan, Laos, Vietnam and Mozambico, and returns: Holland, Antigua & Barbuda, Ukraine and Latvia.
The Italy section (halls 1-3, 5-7) offers a journey through the incredible variety of all the Regions in this country. The Tourism Collection can be found in halls 6-10 while the Workshops will be housed in hall 5-7.
In particular, Bit 2010 offers a portfolio of 4 workshops, one of them totally new and 2 special areas, with an absolute new entry:
– Bit Buy World, Friday 19 February: a foreign workshop with around 300 international Operators, made up of 200 chosen out of the foreign Exhibitors and Co-exhibitors at Bit with exclusively international products and services, and 100 Travel Agents selected in collaboration with UFTAA. Focus on South East Asia and the Far East with businesses from, among others, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, Japan, China and India.
– Bit Buyitaly, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 February: 25th edition of the most important workshop in existence of the Italy product. More than 2,000 Sellers from Italian Regions plus 540 specialised Buyers from 51 countries are expected, with two days of meetings covering specialist products and services.
– Bit Buyclub, Friday 19 February: the only workshop dedicated to association tourism: Cral, category associations, companies. 300 national and international Sellers and 160 Buyers from 11 countries are expected.
– Bit Itinera, Thursday 18 February: this is the dedicated workshop for Operators interested in historical sites, holy itineraries and paths, places of worship and religious resorts that this year extends it horizons to all three big monotheistic religions: in addition to the traditional Christian pilgrim destinations, it will also include Jewish and Islamic places of worship. 80 representatives of demand and 220 of supply are expected to attend.
– Viaggio nel Gusto (A journey through taste) – I sapori d’Italia (Flavours of Italy): a special area that traces the ideal path through quality Italian agro-food products with deep roots in the environment, historical and artistic-cultural context in their territories of origin.
– Bit Sportland – a real village, with big impact, dedicated to open-air sport tourism with focus on three outdoor sports par excellence – golf, cycling and the mountains – divided into equipment area and staged setting, with demonstrations of samples and the chance for Visitors to try out the three specialities.
The 30th edition of Bit – Italian Tourism Exchange will be held at the fieramilano exhibition centre in Rho from Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 February 2010. Further information updates: www.bit.fieramilano.it .