The new design of tourism fairs has proved its worth and attracted larger audiences – professionals in tourism as well as travel enthusiasts. Organisers managed to arrange a more specialised programme for the first day, while non-trade visitors arrived on the following days, when the new gourmet festival GO to FoodPark was opened. The Five Continents Festival also had its premiere, and live invitations to Czech and Moravian regions were a great attraction. Another feature was the move of the 23rd GO CAMERA 2020 festival of films, photographs and books on travel directly to the centre of the expo – to Hall P. The traditional start of the new tourist season at the Brno Exhibition Centre welcomed more than 30,000 visitors. According to preliminary estimates, visitor traffic increased by 10 percent. GO and Regiontour 2020 trade fairs were attended by 822 exhibiting companies from 27 countries.
Czech tourism is undergoing huge development. According to preliminary estimates, already 22 million tourists booked their accommodation here in 2019. Both the influx of visitors from abroad and domestic tourism kept growing. The favourable economic situation also manifested itself in the growing desire of Czechs to discover the beauty of foreign countries, including those exotic and very far away. The Association of Travel Agencies of the Czech Republic estimated that last year Czechs purchased package tours worth about 31 billion crowns, which means a year-on-year increase in Czech travel agencies' sales by almost one fifth. The growth of sales also reflected rising demand for higher quality of services and more attractive destinations.
A great desire for travel experiences was also visible at GO and Regiontour 2020. “Tourism is an important sector of the economy. It certainly needs a presentation of destinations and services offered, including a live presentation at an expo. GO and Regiontour are proof of this,” said Jiří Kuliš, CEO of BVV Trade Fairs Brno. This year, the organizers strengthened the festival character of the trade fairs in order to make them more entertaining, more varied and to give visitors more authentic experiences rather than catalogues. The GO fair has recently taken on the form of a Five Continents Festival and showed the beauty of travelling to various corners of the planet. The exhibitors appreciated the higher attendance and better structure of visitors.
The concept of a partner country also proved its worth. This year it was Thailand, which presented the full range of its tourist offer, including live demonstrations of Thai boxing, dancers, massages or cuisine. “It is a great honour for us to be a partner country at the fair, which is the largest presentation of tourism in the Czech Republic. This is a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about Thailand, including its fantastic destinations. I believe that this will further strengthen our countries' cooperation in the field of tourism," said Ureerat Chareontoh, Ambassador of Thailand to the Czech Republic.
This year's interest from foreign tourist authorities was extraordinary. Visitors were able to obtain "first-hand" information about travelling to the Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Indonesia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia or Cuba.
A lot of tips for holiday in the homeland were brought by the Regiontour fair, which was attended by most of our regions and a number of tourist areas, cities, but also providers of tourism services and tourist destinations. Active forms of tourism were focused on the sections Holidays on Water, Holidays in Caravan and Holidays by Bike, and the popular test track for electric bikes was also in operation. The traditional RegFoodFest gastronomy festival with tastings and sales of award-winning regional foods and local specials invited people for trips to flavour experiences. This year's wine section was extensive, and tens of local breweries were also featured.
The importance of the tourism fairs in Brno was underlined by the opening day with the participation of Milan Štěch, Vice-President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Klára Dostálová, Minister of Regional Development, Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister of Culture, MPs and Senators of the Czech Parliament, six regional governors, Ureerat Chareontoh, Ambassador of Thailand, Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and other prominent personalities.
The results of the Grand Prix of Tourism 2019/2020 were announced at the fair; this competition highlights exceptional and high-quality achievements in the field of tourism. Competitions of young professionals in tourism PROFI GO and PROFI GO – tourist product were staged. A professional supporting programme focused on trends in tourism and the use of modern technologies, such as the Travelevolution – 21st Century Destination Management conference and an international conference on the hot topic of overtourism.
A novelty to the supporting programme for the public were workshops focusing on topics such as ultralight travel, smartphone photography or digidetox on holiday. All the time there was a stage programme of shows and presentations, which attracted to new experiences and visits to various destinations. Famous travellers such as Dan Přibáň and Tomáš Poláček told stories about their travels.
The GO to FoodPark gastronomic festival, the largest event of its kind in Brno, had a successful premiere. For three days, from Friday to Sunday, Hall F scented with regional cuisine and international gastronomy, which attracted a lot of new visitors to come in. In total, over 60 companies and retailers participated in the festival. More than 22,000 servings of food, over 800 litres of beer and 600 bottles of wine were sold. There were also restaurants recommended by Lukáš Hejlík's 365 Gastromap. And it was Lukáš Hejlík with his Gastrokroužek (Gastroclub) to be the main guests of the GO to FoodPark festival. The new project also included a cooking match, a food market, a food bookstore and a show by the maxi-eater Jaroslav Němec.
The main theme of the GO Kamera festival were traveller legends Jiří Hanzelka and last year's centenary Miroslav Zikmund. For the first time in history, visitors could see in one place their Tatra trucks, with which H+Z undertook trips around the world. The biggest travel marathon in the Czech and Slovak Republics welcomed dozens of interesting personalities during its four days, including filmmakers Václav Marhoul and Igor Chaun, actresses Jitka Čvančarová and Jana Paulová, rock climbers Radek Jaroš and Dina Štěrbová, physician Tomáš Šebek and world champion in skiing Martin Koukal. The main star was the Austrian climber Peter Habeler.
This year's tourism fairs were complemented by a communication campaign in the form of an online competition #ZaSedmero. A total of 223 people participated, sending 252 travel stories. The winner was Přemysl Luljak with his photo „Somewhere in the Pyrenees“.
What people said about the expo
Milan Štěch, Vice-President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Tourism is constantly increasing its share of our GDP. This shows that our country is doing well, and it also reflects the purchasing power of citizens.
Klára Dostálová, Minister of Regional Development of the Czech Republic
I am very happy that GO and Regiontour are always the first to open the expo season. I have many partners here and it is always a nice meeting, whether on the stands of regions or individual actors in the field of tourism. Let the year 2020 be successful again, so that we have something to look forward to in terms of tourist interests, attractions and experiences.
Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic
In our country, almost a tourist avalanche rolls on museums, castles, chateaux and other cultural monuments. These visits are growing dramatically around the world, with museums developing incredibly dynamically. This is a huge trend, and therefore I am glad that, together with the twenty organizations managed by our ministry, we are present at tourism expos.
Jaroslava Pokorná Jermanová, Governor of the Central Bohemian Region and Vice-President of the Association of Regions of the Czech Republic
I would like to thank the Brno Exhibition Centre for organizing this event regularly, because the regions have an opportunity here to present everything they can offer to tourists. Thanks area also ought to professional unions, travel agency associations and the Tourism Forum. I hope that visitors not only from the trade community, but also potential tourists will find here what they are looking for.
Petr Hýbler, Deputy Governor of the South Moravian Region
At the Regiontour expo, we have an opportunity to continue our communication campaign that was launched last year, which shows South Moravia from a different angle and invites visitors to less famed locations. It is a good direction – last year it turned out that the most exposed destinations have sometimes experienced a slight decrease in tourists, on the contrary those less known marked an increase. The preliminary figures speak of a 10% increase in the total number of tourists in the South Moravian Region, which we consider a success.
Petr Hladík, Deputy Mayor of the City of Brno
GO and Regiontour are trade fairs where traditionally the whole Czech Republic as well as partner cities and regions meet to share experiences in tourism development and to inspire in methods of addressing visitors. I would like the Czech Republic to remain at the forefront of the quality of the offer and at the same time manage not to overwhelm our cities and regions with those tourists that we do not want to attract.
Jan Herget, Director of CzechTourism
We all know that a lot of foreign tourists come to the Czech Republic and most of them are in Prague. Our task is to get these tourists to the regions. That is why we started bypassing the regions and we want to create a kind of hotspot in every region, for example a regional city that has sufficient infrastructure and from there people could go on trips to attractive places.
Vladimír Dolejš, Chairman of the Association of Travel Agencies of the Czech Republic
Tourism has a growing tendency in the Czech Republic. It contributes more and more to the state budget, currently around 3% of GDP, and employs more than 5% of working people. This share continues to rise and will continue to rise as our industry has a great future. I would also like to thank this oldest tourism expo in the Czech Republic. It is an honour to be here and I hope that the fair will help all entrepreneurs in their further development.
Roman Škrabánek, Chairman of the Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agents of the Czech Republic
We are a long-term partner of these fairs, which inherently belong to our industry. It is an imaginary gateway to the new travel season. I want to appreciate the organizing team for the courage and professionalism with which this expo was prepared. It is some kind of a challenge, a new and ambitious concept.
Viliam Sivek, Chairman of the Tourism Forum
Regiontour opens the gates to the regions of the Czech Republic for tourists and the Tourism Forum has been regularly participating since its inception. I am pleased to be launching our new logo here.
Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications for the Tourism Authority of Thailand
I am very glad that we are a partner country of GO for the first time. It is a great opportunity for us to present our country in the full complexity of its tourist offer and invite to visit it. I am grateful to Trade Fairs Brno for its hospitality and friendliness and I am looking forward to our partnership leading to increased interest of Czech tourists in our beautiful country.
Jana Hašlarová, Tourism Authority of Thailand
We are at GO in Brno for the first time and we are happy to be the partner country this year. A large delegation arrived directly from Bangkok, a Thai television crew was filming in Brno. We see this expo as an opportunity to show Thailand and its tourist opportunities also outside Prague, especially to visitors from Moravia.
Dorothea Massawe, Managing Director, Tanzania Tourist Board
According to statistics, 8,877 Czechs visited Tanzania in 2018. I believe the increased publicity in the Czech Republic will bring growing interest in Tanzania as an attractive tourist destination, which is why we are here. The Czech Republic, but also neighbouring Slovakia, Austria and Poland represent interesting regions for us in terms of tourism expansion. We are glad that our ambassador also came to see the fair.
Alena Koukalová, Branch Manager, Switzerland Tourism
I was very surprised by the quality of the visitors who came to our stand. They are people who really want to visit, or regularly go to Switzerland. They asked about specific things and were very interested, so we are really happy.
Klára Badinková, director of Czech representation for Slovak tourism
Czechs like to travel to Slovakia and thanks to its diversity they also like to come back. I am very glad that Slovakia came back to the fair two years on with a national stand. There were of course exhibited Slovak regions and independent entities with interesting offer of specific destinations and products.
Petr Kostka, Commercial Director at EXIM TOURS
We have returned to GO and are exhibiting here with our partner, CEWE FOTOLAB. We organize various events together and this year we decided to make a joint presentation here in Brno. On the first day our partners came in mainly to pick catalogues and new promo materials, and a number of meetings took place at our stand. On Friday, direct customers started to come in as well.
Tomáš Háva, Partner Manager, Slevomat
We are exhibiting at the Brno fair for the first time in order to promote our business in Moravia. So far it looks very promising. A lot of people keep coming here, end customers spin their credits on the wheel of fortune and compete for discount holidays. We have a number of partners who work in tourism, but we are also visited by partners from other areas, so it is mainly about pleasant meetings for us.
František Kába, Product Manager, Delfín travel
We are very satisfied with GO. This year, people interested in trendy destinations which only we offer, drop by. The biggest influx was on Saturday, when there were queues at our stand. Next year we will certainly not be missing and we will come up with even better deals.
Michal Kúra, Slovenija travel agency
It is always great to see visitors at GO who either come to see our offer or are interested in specific options of our package tours. Of course, Slovenia is more and more trendy. Therefore, we recommend people to visit less famed places, which cannot be found anywhere else.
Jan Polák, marketing representative of Atis a. s. travel agency
Our clients will always find their way to us at the fair. Most of them have already chosen their holiday and come here to buy it with an expo discount. We have come to Brno for this expo for 29 years and we are satisfied with the visitors.
Romana Hrstková, America Tours v. o. s.
People are interested in travelling around America and come to us to get information. Usually they already know where they want to go and what they want to see, and we only advise them how to arrange for it. We are happy to be at this expo, because it makes us visible. We will definitely be back next year.
Stanislav Rojík, Sales Representative, Grand Afrika Ltd.
For visitors, the possibility of travelling around Africa is still something new and they come to us with interest. Our participation in GO and Regiontour will certainly help bring the possibility of travelling around Africa into the awareness of people. The tourism fair allows us to make ourselves visible, and that is why we will be happy to return again.
Jan Bordovský, Chairman of the Association of Camping and Caravaning
The presentation of caravaning at the tourism fair is very interesting for us. At a specialized exhibition, most visitors already have experience with caravaning, but people come here who perhaps go camping and only start to discover caravans. We see a great potential in attracting new users and customers. At the same time, it is an impulse for our cities and regions that often do not realize the economic power of travellers in caravans and motor homes.
Lukáš Hejlík, patron of travel fairs and face of GO to FoodPark project
Combining food and travel is a great idea. Tourism trade fairs are very traditional, but after all my whole undertaking with Gastromap shows that in the last three years people have travelled incredibly for food. Sometimes, food is even the main reason why people set out on their travels.