Role of tourism fairs and exhibitions in boosting brands

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Role of tourism fairs and exhibitions in boosting brands


Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa at the launch of a month-long photo exhibition by the Ministry of Tourism on August 2, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Trade shows, fairs or exhibitions are organized events where different companies from a similar sector come together in one place to present their products and services. Some local examples are; Kenya Homes Expo, Magical Kenya Travel Expo, Secureexpo EA and Buildexpo.

Professional visitors are usually representatives of companies, distributors, resellers, suppliers and industry media. Exhibitions, on the other hand, are organized events focused on promoting products and services in a thematic category or specific topic.

Trade shows can focus on B2B or business-to-customer (B2C) audiences, but generally aim to appeal to the general public. There are also hybrid events in which both professional visitors and consumers participate on separate days, as planned by the organizer.

High-end international tourism fairs and exhibitions are expensive. However, a well-formulated equity strategy often leads to impressive medium to long-term returns.

At the annual three-day World Travel Market event in London, the minimum starting size of a stand of nine square meters (3 meters x 3 meters) costs a cool £4,300 (about Sh595,000) .

If you add in round-trip airfare, accommodation, meals, local transportation, and other incidentals, you’ll come up with an estimate of what you’re likely to spend. Tourist offices normally reserve spaces with an average size of 200 to 400 square meters depending on the number of exhibitors sharing.

This space is used to build the destination exhibit of a country or region. Other essential services including; exhibit design and construction, catering, event technology, and branded graphics are additional expenses.

The tourist boards therefore subsidize the participation costs on a share basis with the participating private sector exhibitors in order to cushion their financial burden. However, this is often still not enough to enable small businesses to pay the participation fee.

To meet this challenge, the Kenya Tourism Board designed and hosted the inaugural Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) in 2011 with the aim of providing a platform for small and medium-sized tour operators, destination management companies, service providers hosting and other stakeholders to present their services. and products at an affordable price.

This year’s MKTE is scheduled to take place October 5-7, 2022 at Bomas in Kenya. Around 200 exhibitors from Eastern and Southern Africa and 150 global buyers from major source markets are expected to attend.

Tourism trade shows and exhibitions provide excellent opportunities for building the destination brand, generating leads, nurturing existing business relationships, acquiring new customers and assessing market trends to inform development. of products.

Major tourist destinations hardly ignore the chances of securing their presence and visibility in renowned global tourism events. The crucial question is how to effectively harness the obvious power inherent in these trading platforms.

Right from the start, the selection of targeted events is a key strategic consideration. However, you should check whether the event profile matches your marketing objectives.