ITTFA Member Vakantiebeurs Celebrates 40 Years
Vakantiebeurs, the Netherlands top trade and consumer travel fair, celebrates 40 years next January, having been held in the city of Utrecht since 1970.
The show, originally named Inspiration Market for Tourism and Recreation, was opened for the first time on 26th December 1970 by the then State Secretary of Economic Affairs, ZE Drs LJM van Son. It covered 1771 m and hosted 79 exhibitors. 18,722 visitors attended that first show and by its eleventh edition in1981 the visitor numbers had risen to 43,000 with over 440 exhibitors.
The show has gone from strength to strength; this year the show attracted 1633 exhibitors from over 160 countries, some 20,000 travel trade professionals and over 114, 000 visitors on the consumer days. Over the years it has included attractions such as the opening day ski competition in 1974 and the Travel Gala, introduced in 1997.
The 2010 issue of the show will be held from 12-17 January in its usual venue, the Jaarbeurs Exhibition Centre in Utrecht. Tuesday 12th is the designated trade day exclusively for press and trade visitors. The theme for 2010 will be “Meet the Locals” and all visitors are invited to come and experience the holiday atmosphere and to meet friendly “locals” from around the world, the key objective being to establish and reinforce personal contact between exhibitors and locals.
We spoke to Bart Strijker, Project Manager for Vakantiebeurs, about the plans for the 2010 show and why he feels it has grown into such a successful and long standing event.
What you are planning to do to celebrate this milestone?
We are planning a special exhibitor party and we will make our exhibitors, some have been with us for 40 years, the centre of attention. Currently we are working on some special activities during the show for our trade visitors, consumers and of course exhibitors. All of which will be revealed in due course.
How do you keep the show fresh and strong year on year?
We are mainly focusing on the ROI for our clients. Looking at what are their main goals when they attend Vakantiebeurs; how we can measure these goals and so on. It’s very important that our clients strongly believe in the value of personal contact when it comes to doing business. During the whole year we carry out research in the travel market. We translate trends in the industry into special theme routes, pavilions and program content at the show.
How do you remain competitive and attractive in such an established tourism market as central Europe?
As I mentioned before it’s all about the ROI. There are a lot of shows, websites, TV programs, printed media etc. where potential clients can invest their marketing budget. At the end of the day our main revenue comes from selling square meters. However, we don’t sell the space. We are highly professional in creating a 365 day, year round marketing plan. The show is an important part of this. But our databases are far more important. By making an inventory of the marketing needs of our clients we can then give them the right product(s) with a targeted communication plan. With a good plan, they can see the benefits of being at Vakantiebeurs and ask us to reserve a location at the show.
ITTFA, International Tourism Trade Fairs Association, represents some of the best travel trade events worldwide. For more details on Vakantiebeurs and all our members, see www.ittfa.org.