The recent EIBTM fair in Barcelona for meetings and incentives proved exceptional for some, and not so for others. In particular, it was not so good for 14 Greek exhibitors, including two municipalities and some of the country’s most respected tourism professionals.
Prior the fair, over 27,000 appointments were pre-scheduled. Also pre-scheduled, were destination presentations where exhibitors were able to present to a group of buyers made up of individuals who had specifically requested to receive an overview of the destination.
Fair organizers said almost everyone remarked on the excellent organization of the fair itself and of the side events. They said requests for substantially more stand space next year have also reflected the trust in EIBTM as the place to conduct a high level of international business, and then quoted a Greek exhibitor.
“The whole show has been very good for us, this year I took 136 square meters of stand space, next year I have already signed up to increase this to 400 square meters,” said Panos Argyros, the director UK & Ireland for the Greek National Tourist Organization.
But according to 14 Greek exhibitors who rented space within the GNTO stand, Mr. Argyros may be jumping the gun. In a letter sent to the tourism organization and the country’s travel agency association, they fiercely complained of total disorganization and confusion on the organization’s stand, as well as a lack of promotional space. They went as far as to demand their rental money back from the GNTO.
The fair itself, however, and its organization, was appreciated by most. Key highlights of 2005 included a streamlined appointments system that received praise from both buyers and exhibitors alike. Recognition of the logistical improvements with the introduction of an onsite coach station and shuttle services was mentioned by almost everyone, and the extended education program attracted a record level of interest with sessions full to capacity.