After being held in May last year, the International Tourism Fair (Fitur) returns this year to its usual dates, from January 19 to 23. It will do so with the presence of 107 countries, 58 fewer than in 2020, and with 70 official representations, 26 fewer than last year, led by the Dominican Republic, which this year is the partner country. A return, in some way and despite the necessary security measures, to normality that kicks off a year that they look forward to in the sector, hard hit by the restrictions of the pandemic.
In a year of normal activity, such as 2019, according to data from the Association of Spanish Fairs (AFE), the sector celebrates some 420 fairs. That year, the number of exhibitors was close to 50,000 thousand – 24.7% of them international – and the number of visitors rose to 9.7 million, which represents an economic impact of 13,000 million euros, including not only the direct impact, but also the indirect and the induced, and a contribution of 6,500 million euros to GDP, according to estimates by Oxford Economics.
This, in a year of normal activity. In 2020, the number of fairs fell by more than 75%, only a hundred face-to-face fairs were held -most of them in the first quarter- and the number of exhibitors and visitors also fell by 75%, which made the turnover of the sector was reduced by 65%. A situation that improved in 2021: although the sector has not yet taken stock, it points out that some 250 fairs have been held, most of them in the last quarter of the year, with a size between 20 and 40% smaller than usual, which which means, they point out, a higher turnover than in the previous year, but still far from the pre-pandemic figures.
Data that will improve, they point out, this 2022. A year that the sector approaches with optimism: more than 300 fairs have already been scheduled for the coming months, so they expect that number to rise to 350. “The data, in Right now they are quite optimistic. At least, the sector faces it with some optimism after “good results” that were recorded in 2021. For this year we already have in the calendar, and it is provisional, about 300 scheduled fairs and we hope to finally reach 350”explains in Hora 25 de los Negocios the Secretary General of AFE, Juan Puchalt, who downplays the fact that they are postponing some of them. “The fact that some of the emblematic fairs are postponed, I believe that it is something specific, it is not a generalized pattern, much less. I believe that they are decisions that the sectors themselves adopt but that it is not going to be something generalized and that they are going to end up being celebrated, even if it is two or three months later, but practically all the fairs that we have programmed are going to be held,” he assures.