The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) took part in BIT – Borsa Internazionale del Turismo, which is the most important trade and consumer fair in Milan, northern Italy.
Held last week, BIT has been completely renewed this year with a new location, at Fieramilanocity in the heart of Milan, and a new format.
Its new layout was based on target segmentation - with three macro-areas, leisure, luxury, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions), where professionals and travellers could experience the new concept of tourism driven by lifestyles.
The three themed areas, designed in collaboration with experts from each sector, focused on particularly performing segments – A Bit of Taste for wine and food, I Love Wedding for wedding tourism, and Be Tech for the digital world, as well as a new area dedicated to Gay tourism or which is also known LGBT tourism, which is a form of niche tourism marketed to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. LGBT tourism, one of the most promising travel niches, endorsed by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.
The fair was a success with 16,353 meetings by the matchmaking service (+16% compared to 2016), 2,000 exhibitors, 1,500 top buyers and 2,000 registered press members.
STB represented by its regional manager based in Italy Monette Rose and marketing executive Yasmine Pocetti, partnered with the Seychelles European Reservations, with its Italian representative Eric Zanconato, and Derek Savy, representing three hotels in Seychelles – Le Duc de Praslin Hotel & Villas, Valmer Resort and La Digue Island Lodge.
The stand, nicely depicting the beauty of the pristine nature of Seychelles, attracted many visitors during the consumer day and hosted many trade meetings during the B2B days.
Interviews were held with important travel magazines, such as Progress Viaggi and Islands magazine, and the fair was the perfect occasion to renew the collaboration with the main tour operators, come in contact with new travel agencies interested in the destination and reinforce the relations with the media, both consumers and trade.
The industry operators are witnessing the great interest in this new concept based on target segmentation. Thanks to the presence of over top hosted buyers, the event has increased its appeal and it was the chance to come into contact with a mix of regions, areas of interest and types of operators, and enjoy over 90 quality events.
A special area was also reserved to the Association of Official Delegates of Foreign Tourism in Italy – ADUTEI – where each partner could showcase the country represented.
On the first day of the fair, Seychelles held a special conference for consumers in a dedicated meeting room and the interest was very high, with people passing by the stand after the projection to deepen the knowledge of the archipelago and collect promotional material.
From tourists to travellers, the travel industry has undergone an important transformation in the past few years - travellers do not just visit a place, they want to experience the destination with their five senses, enjoying the flavours, listening to the sound of new languages and music, admiring breathtaking views, and observing the details of the art and culture of a place, but also learning about habits and traditions or tuning into a place in different ways, by walking, diving, or practicing other sports.
‘The Italian market has been performing well since the beginning of the year and more positive results are awaited for the Easter holidays and for the summer months to come. BIT has been the perfect platform to reinforce the visibility of the archipelago on the market and STB will keep its strong partnership with the Italian trade to boost the sales,” said Miss Rose, satisfied with the good turnout of the event.