The FITUR Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid took place from 30 January to 3 February 2013. This Fair is regarded as the third largest tourism trade fair in the world after that of ITB in Berlin and World Travel Market in London and covers an exhibition area of 200,000 square meters with more than 12,000 exhibiting companies from 166 countries. This Fair caters not only for tourism business with Spain but also with the whole of Latin America, a continent with many of the most important emerging markets in the world. In spite of Spain’s economic crisis, this year’s edition of Fair was attended by 120,000 tourism professionals from all over the world as well as 7,100 journalists from 63 different countries.
Apart from South African Tourism, three provincial tourism authorities: the North West Parks and Tourism Board, Tourism Kwazulu-Natal and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife; and eight South African companies: Rhythm Africa Tours, Welcome Tours, Private Safaris, Sun International, Gone Rural, Shamwari, Thompsons Tours and Value Tours, participated in this year’s edition of the Fair.
A well attended trade workshop dinner, organized by the South African Embassy and sponsored by the mission in conjunction with Sun International and Acerinox, was held on the evening of 1 February 2013. The event was attended by representatives of the Spanish Government, representatives of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, including Secretary General Taleb Rifai, key investors in South Africa, media and the top tour operators working with South Africa.
South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk visited Spain during the Fair to participate in the fourth edition of the Investment and Tourism Business Forum (INVESTOUR), held at FITUR on 31 January 2013. INVESTOUR 2013 was aimed at addressing cooperation and business opportunities between Spain and Africa. INVESTOUR’s B2B session, which serves as a business platform for participants, attracted over 50 Spanish companies to explore opportunities around 200 African tourism projects in areas such as hospitality, transportation, education, know-how and infrastructure. The organisers highlighted that Africa is one of the fastest growing tourism regions in the world. Between 2000 and 2012, international tourist arrivals to Africa more than doubled (from 26 million to 52 million). By 2030, UNWTO forecasts this figure will reach 134 million.
SA Embassy Madrid, Spain