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UITT-2006 — a major tourist exhibition
UITT remains to be the biggest annual tourist exhibition held in Ukraine. This year's UITT exhibition turned out to be special in many respects, says Yevhen BUDKO, senior editor of Mizhnarodny Turyzm Magazine who visited the exhibition.
It was the twelfth UITT — Ukraine International Travel and Tourism Exhibition — held in Kyiv. This time the venue was the Expo Centre which is situated in the Dnipro left-bank part of the city. The exhibition that lasted from March 29 through April 1 was visited by about 30,000 people, among them those who were professionally involved with tourism, and those who were potential tourists.
The organizers were the Ukrainian company Premier Expo, and the British company ITE Group Plc with a great many tourist exhibitions in Europe and in the rest world to its name; among the better known ones is MITT, an exhibition which is regularly held in Moscow, and which is recognized as the third most important tourist exhibition in the world.
The Ukrainian company Premier Expo is known as a leader in the exhibition business in Ukraine. There were other exhibitions at the Expo Centre held at the same time — they were devoted to sports, yachting, hotels, restaurants, hygiene and advanced methods of garbage collecting. The President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko showed an interest in these exhibitions and it added an important touch to their significance.
For the first time in the history of UITT exhibitions in Ukraine, such a thing as “official partnership” was introduced. It is a well-known practice in the world but was an innovation in Ukraine. The first “official partner” of the UITT exhibition was the Crimea. Such partnership entitled the tourist agencies, companies and tour operators of the Crimea to certain privileges in advertisement and promotion of their “tourist products within the framework of the UITT exhibition, and this opportunity was amply used. This summer will show how successful this advertising and promotion has been. At the UITT-2006 exhibition the Crimean section which occupied 150 square metres of floor space, was rich in information and attractive in design.
The UITT-2006 exhibition in Kyiv was attended by representatives of over 850 companies from 40 countries of the world. Compared to the last year’s exhibition, the number of participants increased by a hundred, but the number of countries they represented has remained the same. It means that Ukrainian tourism should be looking for additional directions of development in the tourist industry.
The sections and stands of the foreign companies at the exhibition could give a clue as to which directions tourism in Ukraine should be developed. The great variety and richness of exhibits was very impressive. The British company ITE must be given credit for organizational excellence of the exhibition.
The biggest section at the exhibition was occupied by Turkey (last year, Turkey also had the biggest section), with a floor space of 300 square metres, about 15 percent of the entire floor space allotted to the exhibition. Poland’s section with 100 square meters of floor space, was the second biggest section at the exhibition, with Austria, Egypt and Greece following close behind.
The participation of Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Brazil added a certain measure of piquancy to the UITT exhibition. It was for the first time that these Latin American countries were represented as broadly as they were. However, so far only the small segment of Ukrainian tourists — those who are rich and those who are extremely eager to explore new destinations — can afford tourist trips to Latin America.
The section Ukrayina Turystychna — Tourist Ukraine, the second largest Ukrainian section at the exhibition after the Crimean section, provided a great amount of information and was jam-packed with all kinds of tourism-related materials. There were always many people milling around it. The presence of the National Tourist Organization was particularly noticeable. There were quite a few new things in the Ukrainian section; the Carpathian resort of Slavske, for example, had a separate stand.
Seminars and workshops
There were many seminars, conferences and workshops held during the UITT exhibition. Probably the biggest attention was paid to the international conference MICE Ukraine 2006 — Business Tourism: Current State, Problems and Prospects. Presiding at the conference was Oleksandr Horobets, president of the Mizhnarodny Turyzm Publishing House. This conference was organized with a support provided by the Russian Association of Business Tourism, an organization that has already established itself as a leader in this sphere of tourism in Eastern Europe.
Business tourism is often referred to as “a major tourism advance of the twenty-first century.” It is expected that in the nearest ten years the number of business tourist trips will increase three times, and the revenues from it will grow five times. Ukraine does not lag behind in this sphere of tourism either: business hotels and business centres are being built; congress bureaus are being set up; exhibition companies are being created. No wonder, Ukrainian tourist agents showed a particular interest in the MICE conference. About 250 people took part in the conference which could be described as a practical tourist workshop rather than a conference proper.
To entertain the visitors, all kinds of shows, presentations, lotteries and distributions of free gifts were held within the framework of the exhibition. Soft music was being played continually to provide a pleasant background; the air was permeated with the aromas of delicious and exotic foods; long-legged, scantily dressed models invited the visitors to have a closer look at the various stands and sections some of which looked like luxurious mini-palaces.
Among the visitors were Volodymyr Hryshko, the famous opera singer and culture advisor to the President of Ukraine, Ihor Lykhovy, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine, and other high-ranking officials.