NTOs question value of trade exhibitions

National tourist offices have questioned the value and effectiveness of trade shows following on from the success of the inaugural workshops hosted by 19 UK-based NTOs. Under the banner, ‘Where the World is Your Oyster’ more than 70 meeting planners attended two events in Birmingham and London, and were able to speak to the NTOs in one-to-one sessions. "This has given us a focused forum for doing business," said Cyprus Tourism Organisation assistant director Lillian Panayi. "You cannot rely on shows any more – they are too hit and miss." Canadian Tourism Commission promotions and incentives manager Kirsty Sully said she would only attend one show a year from now on and is currently deciding between EIBTM and Imex. "We have to make every penny count and it’s harder to put a value on show attendance," she said. However, most were in agreement that they would continue to have a presence at shows. "We have an obligation to our suppliers to attend," said Visit Denmark C&I sales manager Lene Corgan. "It is just a small part of our promotional strategy, but you can no longer just be at the shows and expect business to come to you." "We feel we have to attend, but we are not happy," added Austrian NTO marketing manager Martina Jakob. Talks are taking place to grow the event for 2006.

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