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Assessment of IFTM Trop Résa 2014: is the cup half full or half empty?

Some of the exhibitors expected more visitors.

The show is over at IFTM Trop Résa 2014 that closed its doors on Friday September 26, 2014. A 4 day trade fair during which the exhibitors noticed an inconsistent flow of visitors. Few people Tuesday due to the strike of Air France’s pilots, but a stronger presence the following days. Especially on Wednesday and Thursday.

Rédigé par Pierre Coronas translated by Joséphine Foucher le Lundi 29 Septembre 2014

For its 36th edition, the attendance of the IFTM Top Résa rose by 8% - Photo DR
For its 36th edition, the attendance of the IFTM Top Résa rose by 8% - Photo DR
The 2014 edition of IFTM Top Résa ended, this Friday September 26th, with a rise in visitors.

Yet in terms of attendance, these 4 days of encounters between tourism professionals had started off badly. Many visiting travel agents and some exhibitors couldn’t get to Paris Porte de Versailles due to the cancellation of flights caused by the strike of Air France’s pilots.

"The attendance rate was clearly lower on Tuesday, confirms Thomas Desplangues, the Trade Fair’s Director. But on Wednesday and Thursday this loss was compensated with a high influx of visitors.”

An opinion that Nam Nguyen, CEO of Asia King Travel, a Thai DMC, doesn’t agree with: “This edition went very poorly. We had around 50% less visitors at our booth this year.

Even though the fair was very well organized, the atmosphere was a bit morose. I still don’t know if we’ll come back in 2015.”

A lack of visitors that Camilla Zea, Sales and Marketing Directors of EPG Travel, a DMC based in Burma, also laments about. She blames it on the economic crisis and the Air France strike.

But she was happy however of having “made very interesting contacts” and thanks the IFTM teams for “their warm welcome.”

Aspiring for notoriety on destinations

Equally in the aisles dedicated to destinations, the exhibitors would have like to see more visitors. This is the case of Rahed, for instance, in charge of the Palestine booth.

Even if he noticed “a steep drop in attendance, especially on Thursday” he is happy to have been able to attend the fair this year, “despite a difficult context for Palestine.” He was able to establish contacts that he hopes will materialize soon.

And, “if it’s possible”, he will come back in 2015 to represent the booth of the Middle-Eastern destination.

On the other side of the fair, in the section of Tourism Offices, Domitille expresses a lot of satisfaction concerning the Benin booth: “During the 4 days, we received a lot of people. This enabled us to introduce Benin to the visitors, a destination that some do not even know about.“

Travel agents and representatives of tour-operators followed one after the other to get information on the country and its tourism offer. The Benin Tourism Office was even visited by the managers of Corsair. The airline company is considering opening a line there soon.

All smiles also at the stand of Tourism and Conventions Office of Okinawa (Japan.) “It is the first time we attend the IFTM.

It is an excellent opportunity to introduce our destination to the French market. It still lacks a lot notoriety
”, explains Yoko Toyama, Communications Manager.

“It is necessary to be on IFTM!”

But it is at the center of the TO Village that all of the action was happening. A majority of the exhibitors are very satisfied with the fair’s turnout.

In fact, that they had a large selection of activities and meetings to attract a maximum number of visitors: Speed dating, and other games…

“We are very happy. Like every year, confirms Nicolas d’Hyèvres, Perfume Director at Parfums du Monde.

"We attend the IFTM to become known and, every year, the fair helps us to efficiently develop our notoriety. For this edition, the attendance rate was excellent. Our booth never experienced a slow moment.

Our goal was to seduce and show visitors that we can be a "group travel" company and still be sexy. I think that our message was well received!”

On the TO Village, meetings multiplied from Tuesday to Friday. Creating contacts between providers and distributors that will most likely materialize into new partnerships and future collaborations.

“Our fair is a launching pad”, declares Thomas Desplanques.

And according to him, it worked well: “on Thursday, I walked around the aisles with my teams and I truly had the feeling that this was a successful edition. Many exhibitors told me “it is mandatory to be at the IFTM.””

The TO and Networks Villages too far from one another

When he met Carole Ange, Tapis Rouge Director that represented Boiloris Voyages, a distribution network attending the fair for the first, the IFTM Director admitted that the Networks Village was too far from that of the TOs.

“The flow of visitors tends to stop at the level of tour-operators, she noticed. In turn, some of them don’t come to see us. It’s a shame…”

According to her, the fair was well organized. However, she regrets the lack of a logistical service that could have helped “smaller exhibitors” to ask for “water bottles for instance, even if it meant paying a bit more.”

She adds that she would have liked to see food catering for those working the booths during lunch time.

The Networks Village had 6 booths this year. However, Leclerc Voyages was missing, which Thomas Desplanques regrets.

“For the second consecutive edition, it is a collaborator of Leclerc Voyages who won the Travel Agents Cup. I am very happy that it is a professional coming from this major distribution company”, nuances the IFTM Top Résa Director.

He closes this 36th edition with lots of satisfaction and many projects in progress for 2015.

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