The CITM took place on the 14th of November in the bustling city of Shanghai. I was there as a journalist, observer, and as a Tourism Consultant, for a client. I have to admit, that I was highly disappointed by the level of organization, or shall I say disorganization. I heard that it was organized by the ITB of Berlin, or may be the same people; however, my mind refuses to believe it. I was there with my client one day before the exhibition started, to organize and decorate the booth, set our stuff, and decide on the branding. It was shocking how you can’t get any help from the organizers in terms of handy people, workers, or if you need to rent any tools. No body from the organizers, pass to check if you need any help, or they can’t even be seen anywhere except, where the registration disc is. All you have is a bunch of hustlers coming around, passing by every five minutes, offering to rent you a lamp, or a TV, where you have to bargain your heart out, as if you were in a flea market.
On the opening day, there were unbelievable queues packed and squeezed against one another in front of the entrance gate. People have to go around in something like a labyrinth of steel barricades, to get in the security check. After one hour we finally got in. There was a heavy presence from Europe, can’t say the same about Africa though. All eyes now are on the Chinese market, and the Chinese client. Compared to London’s WTM, there was no Wow element, especially from the Brazilian booth, which always managed to lure, and attract people to their stall. However, I have to say, that Korea, managed to steal the spotlight this year with a fantastic creative brand “the United Nations of Imagination” They were really vibrant, creative, and they had fun performances almost all day, although a bit noisy. It was inevitable not to notice them, when you here people screaming from across the hall, and when I approached, it turned out they were playing a match of Taekwondo, or Kung Fu in the BOOTH. With their brand you actually get a passport that has the United Nations of Imagination written on it, where you have to go around and stamp it from three different places. Inside you get to see the tourist attractions of South Korea, highlighted with the names of its different regions.
New Zealand was also another interesting booth, with some of their people dressed like natives with their faces painted, and a catchy slogan; “100 Pure”, as the title of their promotional campaign. The nice thing about New Zealanders (Kiwis) in the campaign that they managed to get audience involved in their singing and dancing, which was so engaging. An interesting thing was that almost all the countries hired Chinese personal in their booth, so they can communicate with the visitors, and most booths had no one who spoke English. Also, all flyers, brochures, and booklets, were in Chinese. Personally, I understand that this is geared towards the Chinese market, but did it occur to some people, that also other tour operators from other countries might be present, interested, and a potential client, and if they had some English brochures, that would be hunting two or more markets with one stone.
Few other countries, had some action going on like; Japan, Namibia, and Madagascar. However, the pinnacle of creativity when it comes to booths’ decorations, were the Chinese themselves. They represented, their Islands, their different regions, with some astounding pictures, colours, and scenic backgrounds, that when you see them it wouldn’t cross your mind that you these places are in China. The thing is I didn’t expect China to have all this diverse landscape, and variety of touristic products. I lingered in each stall, trying to absorb the amount the diversity that this country encompasses, but still didn’t manage to absorb all the wonders this land has to offer.