Reed examines EIBTM show travel problems

Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is to launch an investigation into the travel problems experienced by a number of hosted buyers at EIBTM 2002. Managing director Tom Nutley said travel arrangements had been outsourced, and that RTE had been unaware of any problems until one week prior to the show. RTE claimed the number of hosted buyers not attending stood at less than 100. “Once we were aware of the problems, we worked to minimise their impact and, where we couldn’t resolve them, we reimbursed hosted buyers who had made their own way to Geneva,” he said. He also apportioned some blame to the reduced capacity of flights into Geneva, exacerbated by Swissair’s collapse. The show registered a 7% drop in visitors with 5,560 trade visitors, compared with 5,920 last year. This included 3,034 hosted buyers, down from 3,286 in 2001, yet non-hosted buyers – Meridian Club visitors – rose from 112 to 126. There were 3,000 exhibitors, a drop from 3,250. There were mixed reactions from UK exhibitors to the show, which will face stiff competition next year with the launch of Frankfurt-based IMEX. “The show was quieter than previous years and we haven’t seen the buyers we usually see,” said Marketing Manchester head of conferences Mary-Jane Wiedemann. Conversely, Wales Tourist Board senior business travel executive Beth Harris reported a good show. “All the buyers we asked for turned up,” she said. EIBTM 2003 will take place between 20-22 May at Palexpo, Geneva. RTE will announce in the autumn if the show will stay in Geneva for 2004 or move to either Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona or Vienna.

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