Unprecedented number of participants and visitors at Balttour 2012
The 19th International Travel Trade Fair “Balttour 2012” finished successfully on 12 February! Travel market, the vastness of the world, cultural diversity, hospitality of Latvia’s regions, the taste of travelling – the epicentre of the tourism industry – that is how we could describe the three-day event that took place at Kipsala International Exhibition Centre in Riga, Latvia.
Taking up two themed halls – “Travel Latvia!” and “Discover the World!” – “Balttour 2012” presented 650 tourism companies from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Tunisia, Malta, Egypt and other countries – totally from 38 countries worldwide with their expositions allocated in 255 exhibition stands. The countries first represented at “Balttour 2012” were Japan and Ghana. The attendance hit 23,000 visitors of which 4500 were tourism professionals and invited guests.
Kitija Gitendorfa, the president of the Association of Latvian Travel Agents (ALTA) and the director of Latvia Amadeus was very satisfied with the growth of the fair, its quality development and highly appreciated tough work the participants contributed to it: "Compared to last year, the number of exhibitors has increased by 8%. Travel agencies, operators and participants in the Latvian Hall have done thorough preparations this year. To attract tourists, it is not enough to offer traditional travel deals to warmer lands and they know it. People are looking for more and more entertainment options and an unprecedented sense of adventure!”
For the first time "Balttour" was attended by the official delegation of the Russian Tourism Industry Association that included the major Russian tour operators, travel agencies, hotels, transport and insurance companies and the media.
"I am pleasantly surprised at the broad representation of participants and the quality of “Balttour 2012” travel fair. It is so vibrant, so alive, so creative and welcoming - especially in the Latvian Hall! The tourism service quality is what tourists are ready to pay for, to recommend to others and to return to. And Latvia is worth it! We found here not only good business partners but also good friends! We are certainly coming to “Balttour 2012” too,” the vice president of the Russian Tourism Industry Association Sergei Korneyev told.
"Balttour" – an important partner
During the opening ceremony of “Balttour 2012”, the Resort and Tourism Minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Mr Alexander Liyev noted that Latvia is a priority partner in the field of tourism. ‘“Balttour” is a gateway to our tourism market. We want to work together to increase the tourist flow from Latvia to Crimea and vice versa,’ Mr Liyev told.
In order to strengthen ties between the two regions, the Association of Tour Operators of Crimea and ALTA signed a memorandum for cooperation exhibition "Balttour 2012" signed a memorandum of cooperation. The signing ceremony took place at the International Travel Trade Fair “Balttour 2012”. Similarly, the organisers of “Balttour 2012” signed an agreement for cooperation with the Russian Federal Tourism Agency.
Excellence in Tourism Awards
"In 2012 the tourism industry has gained economic stability in many areas and achieved excellent results in the world, entering the world's top 10 in tourist destinations, spa and hotel business. Each company's success story usually begins with a strong personality in the role of a leader, so for the ninth time we rewarded the best professionals in the tourism sector,’ the director of BalticTravelnews.com Aivars Mackevičs said.
For the first time the title “The Name in Tourism” was awarded to the representative of academic circles Andris Klepers from Vidzeme University College. The rewards in the category “The Operator of Accommodation Business 2011” went to Bernhard Loew, the general manager of the Grand Palace Hotel ; "The Operator of Travel Agencies and Tour Operator Business 2011" to Maija Freiberga from Skaisto skatu aģentūra; "Tourist Information Centre Manager 2011" to Laura Konstante from Sigulda TIC; "Restaurant Manager 2011" to Mārtiņš Rītiņš, "Travel Journalist 2011" to Andris Dzenis from the magazine "HoReCa"; "Tourism Home Page 2011" to www.vanillatravel.lv.
Q-Latvia Quality Awards
The director of Tourism Development State Agency (TAVA) Armands Slokenbergs first presented the Latvian tourism service quality system "Q-Latvia" quality awards. This year’s winners are the hotels Mezotne Palace, Birini Castle and Raibie logi, Turaida Museum Reservation, Valmiermuiža Brewery, Talsi RegionTourist Information Centre, Kuldiga Tourism Development Centre, Saulkrasti Tourist Information Centre and Riga Tourism Development Bureau information centres.
‘Tourism products must be of high quality and interesting. The service provider shall aim not only at earning money, but make tourists as happy and satisfied as possible to make them come back again and recommend to other people,’ the director of TAVA Armands Slokenbergs told.
Big travel discount market
The Hall “Travel the World!” impressed visitors by abundance of travel deals at the best prices. Thus, for example, a return ticket to the USA cost mere LVL 150. ‘Travel market was a top rated part of Balttour and a lot of visitors went home with purchased travel packages. This year transactions increased by 40%. People know that the best prices are at “Balttour’, just once a year. This is no advertising joke, this is serious! " the director of FTB Latvia - AS Estravel Partner in Latvia Anita Jokste explained.
‘”Balttour 2012” shows that people are travelling more, are more carefully planning their trips, expenses and are seaking for the most favourable deals,’ the vice president of ALTA and the director of Tez Tour Konstantīns Paļgovs told.
Traditional destinations - Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria – are still popular among travellers; even though they seek for more unusual destinations too. ‘Our new destination – Jordan – caused enormous interest among visitors. This year, visitors are more interested and more focused than last year," the director of LATTUR Travel Agency Vadims Čemis said.
Colourful regions of Latvia
The hall "Travel Latvia!" presented the opportunities for incoming and domestic tourism, hotels and guest houses special offers, events, traditions and a variety of dishes of all four regions of Latvia – Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme and Latgale, as well as of Latvia’s biggest cities Riga and Jurmala. Visitors were impressed by hospitality, warmth and interactivity reigning in this hall. ‘There was a considerable tendency to present and sell a variety of regional events - festivals, concerts, competitions," the project manager Ilona Ansone told.
Latgale was the most represented of all Latvia’s regions; Vitebsk and Pskov regions were represented in Latgale’s stand. ‘The stand of Latgale employed all in all 150 people in three days of the fair. Next year we are planning even a bigger exposition and we expect that colleagues from Estonia will join us," the project manager of Latgale Regional Development Agency Jānis Veips.
Vidzeme this year introduced five new tourist routes, treated to Dona Bakery’s bread, Valmiermuiža’s beer and set the record for the longest national belt. ‘This is a celebration of both tourism professionals and travel enthusiasts! The hall “Travel Latvia!” was Latvia in miniature, a place where you can feel, see and find information about Latvia’s regions,’ the chairman of Vidzeme Tourism Association Raitis Sijāts said.
The symbol of Jelgava – moose invited to visit Zemgale and presented major cultural events held in this part of Latvia. Kurzeme, on turn, welcomed visitors in Kurzeme yard, where the newest travel information were supplied. Moreover, Kurzeme offered romantic wine tours and variety of handcrafted and homemade products.
Internet for travelling
To satisfy the growing needs of travellers, LMT informed visitors about the most convenient way of receiving communications when abroad – “Internet for Travelling”.
Balttour Big Stage
The Balttour big stage presented about 500 dancers, musicians, singers, amateur groups. The warmest welcome received the Kusun Dance Ensemble from Ghana that performed traditional African songs and dances.
Fortune smiled at the Lithuanian resident Liora Smuskeviciute who won an exclusive weeklong trip for two to Turkey from the the tour operator “Tez Tour”.
Balttour 2012 Forum hugely praised!
“Balttour 2012” presented the Balttour 2012 Forum. Focus – Russia that was a perfect platform for trade and strategic dialogue. The forum brought together 163 tourism professionals the Baltic States, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus.
"Balttour 2013" will offer more expanded programme for professionals!
The 20th International Travel Trade Fair “Balttour 2013” will take place at Kipsala International Exhibition Centre in Riga, Latvia from 8–10 February 2013. To develop the professional programme at “Balttour 2013”, the organiser – ALTA and International Exhibition Company BT 1 will organize a more extensive Balttour Forum. For more information visit: www.balttour.lv