International Travel Fair
International Fair for Regional Tourism
Exhibitors praise the new concept for the Go and Regiontour international travel fairs, the driving theme for which was modern technology in tourism
The largest and most modern exhibition Hall of the Brno Exhibition Centre – Exhibition Hall P – was filled with exhibitors from the twin trade fairs Go and Regiontour, while the podia swelled with the accompanying programme. A few short steps away, Hall F came alive with a festival of “experience”. This new concept for Brno’s travel and tourism trade fairs was appreciated not only by exhibitors, but by visitors too - over thirty thousand of whom flocked to event over the course of four days.
Taking part in the tourism trade fairs GO and Regiontour 2018 were 860 exhibiting companies from 26 countries; all the Czech regions put on presentations, with seven of Slovakia’s eight regions doing the same. At the immediately adjacent stands of tour operators and travel agents, as well as those of accommodation providers, spas, sports resorts and other service providers, visitors could buy excursions, trips and other concrete products. Czechs’ passion for travelling, whether through the nation’s regions or abroad, continues to rise, so there was great interest in the available offers. Over the four days, over thirty thousand visitors got the chance to take a good look around – tourism professionals, representatives of national and local government and especially end-clients. The Press Centre accredited 256 journalists, 22 of whom were visiting from Hungary, Poland, Austria and Slovakia.
The importance of the Brno trade fairs was highlighted by the official opening ceremony, with the Regional Development Minister Klára Dostálová and President of the Senate of the Czech Parliament Milan Štěch in attendance, as well as many regional governors and other important figures. The chairman of the association Fórum cestovního ruchu (Tourism Forum), Viliam Sivek, marked the occasion by signing a memorandum of co-operation with the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts CZ, who were represented by chairman of the board Karel Havlíček.
The key topic of the expert accompanying programme was modern technology in tourism. Towns and municipalities are increasingly using tech to promote their tourist destinations. The trade fairs were presenting apps for planning trips as well virtual goggles enabling Brno visitors to look upon distant corners of the globe. The topic of modern technology was similarly a hit with journalists. The expert accompanying programme also touched on areas such as the accreditation of destination management and education within the sector.
For the sixth time, regional gastronomy was the focus of the food festival RegFoodFest, which had tastings and sales of award-winning foods, regional specialities, wines, beers and fantastic coffees. The best of regional gastronomy was presented by the project experience restaurant, in which master-chefs from 9 of Brno’s top restaurants put on a show over the course of 4 days. Another new feature was tasting specialities from the more distant regions of the world. Extreme eating was one of the attractions at the “experience” Exhibition Hall F, offering opportunities to dine on tarantulas, scorpions, crickets or even crocodiles.
The Festival Hall F offered a magnificent show to experience with all your senses. It was especially packed at the weekend – the kids loved the bob track and climbing wall, while adults could examine yacht fittings and mobile homes. The special Traveller’s Bar was a success, offering drinks matching the new visual style of the Brno tourism trade fairs. Nomads also decided to put down roots for the four days of the event – bringing with them specially adapted vehicles and parking them up in Hall F.
The results of the Tourism Grand Prix 2017/2018 were announced during the fair. This prize seeks to raise the profile of exceptional and high-quality achievements in tourism. The best Czech travel agency – based on votes cast by members of the general public – was once again Vítkovice Tours. Young experts on tourism were also competing, while the title Queen of the Regions (REGION REGINA 2018) was also up for grabs. Centre stage at Exhibition Hall P was the international competition and show Gastro Junior Brno – Bidfood Cup, where students were competing in 5 different categories: as cooks, confectioners, waiters/waitresses, barmen/barmaids or baristas.
Part of the trade fair programme was the 21st edition of the festival of travel films, travel photography and travel books, GO KAMERA 2018, with this year’s central theme being Africa. The biggest travellers’ marathon in the Czech Republic and Slovakia welcomed dozens of fascinating figures over the four days, including mountaineer Radek Jaroš, writer and pilgrim Ladislav Zibura, artist David Černý and open water swimmer Rudolf Krautschneider. Making up part of the festival were seven travellers’ exhibitions and a competition to win a trip to Mauritius-Réunion, courtesy of the Livingstone travel agency.
What they said about the GO & REGIONTOUR travel fairs
Klára Dostálová, Minister for Regional Development:
I’ve been tremendously impressed by the fairs during my visit. This isn’t my first time here, in fact, I see it as a natural place to meet up, where a lot of things can be sorted out. I certainly think the event benefits tourism, and I’m fully in favour of the new concept for the GO and Regiontour trade fairs.
Jiří Kuliš, CEO of BVV Trade Fairs Brno:
Tourism represents a very important sector of the economy. It’s a real industry. BVV is recognized as an organizer of trade fairs for different branches of industry, and therefore we’re happy that the GO and Regiontour international trade fairs contribute towards the development of the tourism industry.
Monika Palatková, General Director of CzechTourism:
CzechTourism is a longstanding participant of this event; even still, this year stands out – not only because of the new concept of the fair as a whole, but also because the main marketing theme has been the 100-year anniversary of the creation of Czechoslovakia. Last year tourism in the Czech Republic grew in terms of every parameter, with the standout development being that Prague has seen a slight drop in visitors compared to other regions. In the first three quarters we recorded a high growth of foreign clients in the regions of nearly 16 percent, whereas Prague could only muster less than 7 percent.
František Lukl, Chairman, Union of Towns and
Municipalities of the Czech Republic:
I’m happy that the tourism fairs in Brno have continued to achieve their high standard. If I were to compare it with other with similar trade fairs elsewhere in the EU, I’d say that there is a spirit of friendship and an upbeat mood here. For us mayors, these fairs are essential for two reasons. First, we can show off the beauty of our villages, towns, regions and associations of municipalities. Second, we can establish friendships with other regions and get inspired by how they promote tourism in their region. The new concept behind these trade fairs is certainly a step in the right direction: it’s a convenient solution and the talks going on here about possible co-operation are much more intensive.
Michal Veber, Executive Director, Association of Czech
The new concept is a good move. We had empty chairs for the accompanying programme last year, but this year there are not enough to go round, which means people are gathering here in healthy numbers. Many travel agents weren’t sure what bringing the two fairs together would mean, so they’ve hung back, deciding to come only as visitors. But next time they want to exhibit. The GO international travel fair is a perfect point where supply and demand meet. Three travel agents have already told me that they like how many older people are coming, checking information and choosing their holidays.
Tereza Picková, Executive Director, Association of
Tour Operators and Travel Agents of the Czech Republic:
We welcome the merging of the GO and Regiontour trade fairs and also appreciate how the accompanying programme has been harmoniously combined - the podiums haven’t disturbed one another. From our perspective, visitor levels have been satisfactory. The new trade fairs concept is a step in the right direction and we’re looking forward to next year.
Klára Badinková, Representative of Slovak Tourism in
the Czech Republic:
I like the fact that the fair is alive and kicking, that it’s brought in craftsmen and women, food, and everything that goes along with tourism. This year Slovakia is stepping up the scale of its presentation. This is because our regions and entrepreneurs feel that Moravian customers are very important. And they also recognize the efforts made by the fair organizers to accommodate our objectives.
Petr Vokřál, Mayor of the City of Brno:
The tourism trade fairs have become a fixed part of the calendar, but this year they’ve changed things round a little. The exhibition centre is commemorating its 90th year, while at the same time we’re also celebrating the birth of the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia. At the Brno stand we’re offering a taste of history, and also two festivals that will soon be upon us – the Olympic Games and Re:publika.
Petra Rusňáková, City of Brno
Councillor for Tourism
This year’s GO and Regiontour international trade fairs have been a great a success. I think most praise deservedly goes to the new concept. The Brno stand, which has a distinctly First Republic feel, is drawing many to its coffee shop and photo booth. The success of this year is also confirmed by visitor numbers, both in terms of the broad representation of industry experts and the wider public.
Jana Vildumetzová, Chairwoman of the Council of the
Association of Regions of the Czech Republic and Governor of the Karlovy Vary
Tourism is a key sector in the development of our region. We want our regions to be more accessible, for our roads to be faster and safer. All our regions have something to offer, and I’d love to see the numbers of tourists – guests from both here and abroad – continue to rise steeply. I’m confident that more than 30,000 people have visited these tourism fairs.
Bohumil Šimek, Governor of the South Moravian Region:
It’s brilliant. After recent years, when the fairs have seemed to languish somewhat, this year’s represented a big restart. I’m sure this is going to give other regions and towns a kick up the proverbial, to come and join in next time. I think that Regiontour has a great deal to offer the Czech Republic.
Milan Štěch, President of the Senate of the Parliament
of the CR:
These trade fairs are a good illustration of the progress we’ve achieved in the tourism sector. If you compare today’s exhibits with those of 10 or 20 years ago, the progress is absolutely clear. You really should be proud of the work you’ve done here.
Viliam Sivek, Chairman of the association Fórum
cestovního ruchu (Tourism Forum):
Small and medium-sized businesses create 99% of the tourism revenue that flows into public coffers. In their name I’d like to thank BVV Trade Fairs Brno for the fact that, for the first time in the history of these fairs, they’ve made it possible for small and medium-sized businesses to exhibit alongside the regions.
Jiří Čunek, Governor of the Zlín Region:
I’m a big fan of the Go and Regiontour tourism trade fairs. The new arrangements are better, people have a better idea of what’s available and how to get around, and the promotional sense of individual regions is sharper. A thumbs up from me!
Ivo Vondrák, Governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region:
I’m very pleased that I took part on the first day of the international trade fairs. Naturally, I meet up regularly with my fellow governors, but the trade fair offers us not only a more informal atmosphere, but also the opportunity to visit the stands of the regions, micro-regions and towns, and find out about what opportunities these places are offering. The Moravian-Silesian Region supports high-quality regional foods, so I made sure I got to sample the delicacies made by the winners of the Regional Food competition. Besides everything else, I’m extremely happy to have spoken with the Minister for Regional Development Klára Dostálova and arranged her visit to the Moravian-Silesian Region.
Jiří Štěpán, Governor of the Hradec Králové Region:
I’ve been surprised by the inventiveness and creativity of individual exhibitors. The trade fair has been well-organized and I’m sure visitors have gained a lot from the experience.
Ivana Stráská, Governor of the South Bohemian Region:
I’ve been a regular visitor to Regiontour for a number of years, and I’ve witnessed its progress – after a period in the doldrums, the fair has once again got a new wind in its sails. I think the new the new concept of the trade fair must take some credit for this renewed vigour. Tourism is a real industry, which cannot survive without marketing and development strategies, which is where this trade fair can play a role. The South Bohemian Region is a regular participant, and is used to staging an interesting exhibition with an original idea. My only wish is for even more visitors from the general public to come.
Jaroslava Pokorná Jermanová, Governor of the Central Bohemia Region:
Marketing in tourism is developing extremely fast, which is why I’m very pleased to see that our domestic trade fairs are trying to adapt themselves to the very latest trends with their own ideas. As a result, visitors can sample the atmosphere of individual regions in the same way as they have done at this year’s Regiontour in Brno.
Roman Škrabánek, President of the Association of Tour
Operators and Travel Agents of the Czech Republic:
It’s great that the organizers paid attention to what the travel agencies were saying and put both exhibitions into one big hall. The results confirm that this new arrangement is the right one, because participation on the part of small and medium-sized travel agencies and tour operators has grown.
Bohumil Smutný, Assembly Member of the
South Moravian Assembly for the Communist Party:
Visitor numbers at the start of this year’s GO and Regiontour travel trade fairs are up, thanks in part certainly to the great presentations made by individual regions. What I love most about this event is the opportunity to meet up with partners in friendly regions, thanks to which we can better find a common voice – without a doubt, this then contributes to better co-operation between regions at the national level.
Miriam Kolářová, Deputy Mayor of City District Brno North:
I love the now traditional Go and Regiontour international trade fairs. I make good use of the time I spend here in the company of friends not only from Brno and the South Moravian Region, but also from other allied regions. The atmosphere is very warm and lively.
Jiří Horák, Mayor of Bučovice:
Regiontour is s a superb place to meet and establish contacts with new partners. Speaking as a South Moravian, we’re happy to meet up with friends, say from the Zlín Region, with whom we just don’t get the time to chat during the rest of the year.
Pavel Pichler, Travelbakers.cz:
I’ve come across a number of stands where they’re working with virtual reality and interactive models, which has been a pleasant surprise. The fact that the Go and Regiontour fairs have linked together tourism and food is something that should be acknowledged as a progressive step. For me, it’s wonderful that when I visit the Olomouc Region’s stand, for instance, I can taste some of their tvarůžky cheese right next door.
Ondřej Cahel, exhibitor, ekolo.cz:
Since the morning we’ve even managed to sell a few bikes. Basically, visitors have been tempted by the festival prices. Compared to last year our stand is in a better place, and the test track for our e-bikes is a lot bigger, so people can ride a bit further on their test rides.
Ondřej Blaho, presenter of Czech Television’s Dobré ráno morning programme:
I’m really enthusiastic about this year’s Regiontour! First and foremost I must praise the programme on the joint stage of the Brno and South Moravian Region stands, which is really packed with interesting stuff and some super guests. I most enjoyed the debate with Pavel Anděl about preparations for the project to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, which sounds like a unique project and might well be something unmatched anywhere else in central Europe. And the overall organization of the event is great. I’ve really enjoyed myself here, even though I’ve been rushed off my feet presenting.
Petr Kostka, Sales Director of the travel agents
Shifting the GO trade fair into Exhibition Hall P was a good move. The customer doesn’t have to go anywhere, and the regions’ stands have always had a high number of visitors. Now customers can make their way through the regional stands, taste some food and drink, and come and see us. There are plenty of people here, so we’re satisfied.
Lenka Aliti, Customer Care Department of the Nomád
The overall impression I get is that this year has been very successful - if we compare it to last year’s event. There are more people here. Exhibitors have appealing stands. We also appreciate how the organizers have generally looked to ensure everything has been kept clean and tidy.
Simona Juránková, PR and Advertising Agent, National
Tourist Office of the Dominican Republic:
I can safely say that visitors haven’t given us a moment’s peace. They’ve flocked to us over all four days of the event. They were asking questions and gathering information. It’s great that this year the regions and travel agents have been put together side by side. Visitor numbers at our stand this year have been very high.
Martin Pižem, Regional Tourism Organization Slovak
Paradise and Spiš:
I’ve been very favourably struck by the fair, I can see a real diversity on offer, the domestic regions are exhibiting in force and there are many attractive foreign destinations, too. I like how people are responding actively and asking for more information, which is of course what we’re here for. Partly we want to present destinations, but at the same time we’ve brought some special offers from our towns and accommodation providers. Czech visitors are very important for us, they represent about 30% of our clients.
Michaela Rafajová, Executive Director, Tourism Association
Czech customers are the number one group when it comes to the High Tatra region. So it’s vital that we represent ourselves on the Czech Market. We get guests coming from all over the Czech Republic; I think there’s an element of nostalgia at play, because they regard the Tatras as belonging in part to them. The older generation is now returning, for example, with their grandkids, showing them the places where they once used to visit.
Michaela Bělinová, Hořice Information Centre:
Thanks to the Association of Tourist Information Centres CR, we’ve got a lot more space to present Hořice, so we’re really pleased. We’ve really tried get the most out of this opportunity, and people have managed to find us here OK, even though we used to be part of the Hradec Králové Region exhibition. Kids have been fascinated with the simulator of the local motorcycle race “300 Curves”, and the Hořice tubes have gone down well with everyone.
Jana Plocrová, Hand Painted Maps:
We’re really satisfied. There are a lot of people, we’re always busy and they’re really interested in our aerial photographs and asking a lot of questions. The organizational side of Regiontour has gone without a hitch – absolutely smooth.
Jitka Šašinková, Tourist Stamps (“turistické známky”),
Rýmařov Information Centre:
We are especially satisfied with visitor numbers – it’s been packed here and we’ve handed out a surprising amount of printed materials this year. Fortunately, we were prepared and there are enough of us here, so we have had a chance to go and look round the other exhibitors.
Robert Huszár, Hungary, Manager Balatontourist:
This is my fifteenth year at the fair, so it’s a home from home. The organizers are very helpful and friendly – we love you! The main thing we look forward to every year is meeting up with friends from the Czech and Slovak regional stands, who also make this fair a regular destination. We’re just missing a Polish stand, and then we’d be one big happy family.
Jan Matouš, Secretariat Director, ATIC:
I really like this trade fair. I’m happy to be able to meet with members of our association, who are here to represent their region. This year we used the event as an opportunity to organize a meeting of the council at the conference centre.
Jiří Karpíšek, presenter of the Plzeň Region stand:
We come here regularly, I already know all my colleagues from the other regions. The atmosphere is excellent, friendly, and there are enough visitors to go round. We’re always happy to come here and we have a good time.
Magdaléna Jiříková, Jihočeská centrála cestovního ruchu
(South Bohemian Tourism Office):
I like this year’s new changes – the idea of linking together the Go and Regiontour international trade fairs in one hall. They complement each other superbly, and therefore attract more visitors. For me, the Regional Foods stands are maybe the most interesting.
Tomáš Postl, Director of Pangeo Tours:
Combining the Go and Regiontour is super, there are plenty of people here. They keep streaming through and the place is alive. We’re really happy, and that applies to the organization of the event, too.
Kateřina Vyškovská, exhibitor, owner of the V-Tour
This year we’ve erected two stands at the fair – in Hall F we’ve installed a via ferrata wall and next door we’ve a normal exhibition stand where we’re presenting an exhibition of photos, for example. I think that people like to be very active these days. I welcome this kind of trade fair concept, where people can come and try out all kinds of activities connected with tourism.
Michal Kůra, Director of the Slovenia Center Praha:
Our visitor numbers are comparable with last year’s numbers. Visitors are really interested in Slovenia. For us, we prefer it when travel agencies are linked up with the regions, because it means that there are a lot more people moving about here.
Renata Hořanská, director of the travel agents Valaška:
The strongest days for us were without doubt Friday and Saturday. Visitor numbers have been decent. People still want to travel and explore. I’ve personally noticed a change in that more and more people are coming who know exactly what they want. Before it was different: people wandered around undecided, just collecting catalogues and not knowing what to choose. Putting the travel agencies in the same hall as the regional stands was a brainwave, because it means a much bigger accumulation of visitors.
Blanka Milfaitová, owner of Caravan & Camping
Resort La Marmolada:
This is our first time here, so we’ve nothing to compare it to. Nonetheless, there are enough eager visitors, so we’re quite satisfied. We got the most interest on Saturday.
Věra Molnár, representative of the Natural History
We’re satisfied – we’ve had a lot of visitors coming to the stand. We’ve also made some new and promising contacts. Most people are interested in the Natural History Museum and the Zoo Schönbrunn. It’s always been lively here, and this year’s no exception. In Exhibition Hall P there is a lot of footfall, which is how it should continue to be in future.
Miroslav Kubec, President,
Czech Association of Chefs and Confectioners and Continental Director of the
World Association of Chefs Societies:
Gastro Junior Brno - Bidfood Cup is the biggest and best gastronomy competition currently being organized in the Czech Republic. It was a four-day marathon which offered up great moments of magic and beauty. I’m confident that next year’s 25th fair will see us take another step forward, just like this year, when we made the competition accessible to the general public and presented gastronomy to trade fair visitors so that they could discover everything our young people are capable of.
Náglová, tour dealer, Delfín travel:
We’re overjoyed that this fair has been visited by so many older people, because our offer is targeted primarily at this group. We collect groups in Brno to take them away on excursions, and we also have loads of customers throughout Moravia, so visiting the GO fair is something of an annual pastime. We welcome the change: Hall P is really beautiful and a lot livelier. And the main thing is that we get more clients coming over to talk to us.
Petr Krč, Executive and Production Director, Atis travel agents:
In previous years we’ve also had a lot of visitors coming to the stand because we work actively to make it happen: we invite a lot of people ourselves and offer them special deals. But it’s been a problem reaching out to new clients, which is why we worked hard to bring about the change which arrived this year. It’s necessary not only for the customer to see a region, but also to be able to simultaneously buy a holiday there, which you can’t do at a regional stand. Direct clients come here and do competitions with us, take part in surveys, ask questions. At the same time, we have business partners coming to see us at the fair for whom we distribute catalogues. The new concept has had a tangible impact, visitor numbers in Hall P are much higher.
Krucký, incentive travel specialist, America Tours:
Compared to recent years at Hall F, this year’s GO fair has had way more visitors. In Hall P the concentration of people has been much greater, especially on Saturday – throughout the day – and on Sunday morning, too. This has been reflected in sales: we prepared some trade-fair discounts and have been selling trips at the event.