Fitur 2021 a slimmed down affair

by Deborah Cater
Fitur is underway in Madrid

Fitur 2021 is the symbolic and hopeful start of a new tourist season. The 41st edition of the International Tourism Trade Fair (Fitur) has started in Madrid. Normally, this fair takes place in January. It moved to May this year with strict precautions due to the corona pandemic.

The fair has strategic importance as Spain is on the eve of a new tourist season with high expectations. Despite the fact the traditional crowds had to stay away this year, most participants at the fair agree on the importance of the 41st edition of Fitur.

Slimmed down 

Companies represented at the fair indicate contact with colleagues is just as important as the presence of a large audience. However, the fair is slimmer this year. In 2020, 165 countries and regions, and 11,000 companies were represented. This year  only 55 countries and 5,000 companies attended. With the wider walkways and more generous spaces between the various stands, Fitur lost a little of its shine. Nevertheless, the professionals see this international fair as a symbolic start to a hopeful future.

Not only the corona pandemic, but Spain’s political conflict with Morocco and the resulting migrant crisis in Ceuta marks Fitur 2021. Yet Morocco is in good spirits trying to attract Spanish and other foreign tourists. “Tourists are very welcome, problems between countries are a matter for politicians,” says one of the Moroccan representatives, which is at a safe distance from the colleagues from Ceuta.

Spain completely represented

Despite the fact many countries are completely absent this year or are turning out considerably less grand, Spain is fully represented, as is usual every year. Andalucia (with its own pavilion) plays a leading role, but the regions of Madrid, Valencia, Galicia, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands have also put the necessary energy into it this year.

China not popular this year

Many visitors skip the promotion booth for China this year. It seems tourists are not yet in the mood to spend their long-desired vacation in zone zero of the corona virus that turned the world upside down more than a year ago.

Fitur takes place in the Ifema conference centre in Madrid and will last until Sunday 23 May. It is mandatory to register in advance and to show a negative PCR test. Tickets can be ordered online on the Ifema website.

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