Over 24 African countries participated in the just-ended Fitur International Tourism Fair in Madrid. The fair gave an opportunity to the participating countries to pitch their respective destinations’ tourism offerings and products to a large number of patrons.
VoyagesAfriq had a conversation with some of the exhibitors and national tourism agencies with their personnel sharing their experiences on how that fair has helped to prospect tourists and strike strategic business deals.
Chavunga Lungu, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Zambia Tourism Agency is hopeful the level of engagement with the travel trade during the event would have a positive outcome.
“I think the market is ready to travel and they are passionate with renewed enthusiasm and desire to travel. It’s about who remains in the face of travellers and offers different selling points of different destinations that we have.
So for Zambia, we are very clear about what we are offering from the different aspects of our tourism offering, and so that’s why we thought it was necessary to come back and still participate here in Spain and interact with the travel trade. We’ve had the opportunity to interact with buyers, travelers, and operators and other destination organizations and those that are agencies as well, and this opportunity is going to result in some fruitful result,” he said.
In a news release to celebrate the success their participation at the exhibition, the CEO of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Ms. Winnie Muchanyuka said the exhibition was a success for destination Zimbabwe. “Firstly, we’re happy to have been part of the show’s physical re-opening since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s edition was attended by the tourism professionals and the key trade for inbound and outbound tourism from the globe and most importantly, the Spanish-speaking market,” she said.
Anthea Cloete of Namibia-based hospitality giant, Gondwana Collection, stated that “We’ve been attending FITUR now for the second year, and I must say it was a very good show and we will definitely be back.”
For Andrew kitema, Managing Co-Owner – African Adventure Specialists, Fitur 2023 offered a fine opportunity to interact with agents from Europe and Latin America with a huge interest in the East and Southern African markets.
“We’ve managed to see lots of travel agents that have interest in Africa; East Africa and Southern Africa, especially from Latin America and here in Spain, as well as Portugal. So we are very excited to have met so many travel agencies who have a huge demand and potential of promoting East Africa in the coming days. So the experience has been great and we look forward to coming back next year,” he emphasized.
Mark Williams, whose Ashanti African Tours operates from Ghana added that “This year’s Fitur has been fantastic. You can tell that everyone is looking to travel again after COVID. And West Africa has become really popular for people to actually, look to travel to. So Fitur has been excellent this year.”
The Director General of Gambia Tourist Board, Abubakar Camara disclosed that having attended the event for the first time, he was impressed with the level of engagement they had with the travel trade and the media.
“It’s my first time at Fitur and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far. We’ve had a lot of meetings, and I think people are really interested in the destination Gambia. We have had a lot of partnership discourse with some of the media houses in Spain here, and in Madrid, we had a discussion with another magazine,” he mentioned.
FITUR 2023 which was held on January 18 -22 provided a good avenue for both public and private African tourism and travel stakeholders to meet, interact and conduct business with the global tourism trade from Europe and Latin America.
A total of 8,500 participants, 131 countries and 755 exhibitors made up the 43rd edition of the International Tourism Trade Fair at IFEMA MADRID.
African countries who participated at this year’s exhibition include Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Carbo Verde, Congo DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, and Ghana. Others are Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Kenya, Mauritius, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Namibia, Niger, and Seychelles. The rest are Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.