By Tang Hsiang-yi
The 21st Taipei International Travel Fair (Taipei ITF, 台北國際旅展) opens today at the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) with 900 exhibitors from 60 countries taking up 1,350 booths in TWTC’s Halls 1 and 3. The four-day mega event is expected to receive 300,000 visitors, setting another historical record after last year’s 262,590. To encourage exhibitors to go all out for their booths, the Taipei ITF will give away a list of awards including Best Booth Design, Best Booth Performance, Most Popular Booth and Best Performance Group, which are decided by visitors’ votes. In an earlier press event, Taipei ITF Chairman Cherng Tyan Su (蘇成田) proudly announced that this year the number of exhibitors has increased to 900 from last year’s 850. “Exhibitors from 60 countries around the world will span 1,350 booths in TWTC Halls 1 and 3. To accommodate more exhibitors than before, we expanded to the second floor of TWTC Hall 1, which is the Area H,” Su explained last week. “Our record breakthroughs symbolize support from the tourism industry and general public,” he added. The list of exhibitors includes five new participating countries this year: Argentina, Chile, the Seychelles, the Netherlands and Poland. The largest national pavilion is Japan’s, which occupies more than 100 booths, followed by the U.S.’ 40 booths and Macau’s 24. TWTC Hall 1 is usually the busiest, hosting the pavilions of nations, city and county governments, travel agencies and airlines. The second floor of Hall 1 is where you go for food vouchers and B&B deals. TWTC Hall 3 is the hoteliers’ zone. Whether you are looking for promotions provided by starred hotels, hot spring hotels, leisure farms or motels, Hall 3 is where you want to be. More than 1,000 procurement meetings took place yesterday with 79 worldwide buyers, who showed interest in what Taiwan’s tourism industry has to offer. The business-to-business Travel Mart has always been an effective match-making platform and is fostering potential business opportunities, as well as acting as a channel to bring more tourists to Taiwan. As for the Travel Forum, the focus of this year is on senior travel and individual travel, which are two markets worth looking into, according to Su. “We think the travel market for elderly and individual travel can be further expanded. Some people prefer traveling in the off-season, which is an advantage for the business,” Su said. The forum will take place on Oct. 21, the last day of the Taipei ITF, on the second floor of TWTC Hall 1. Promotions and Cloud Wi-Fi Network The attraction for general visitors to the Taipei ITF lies in the promotions provided, whether it’s discounts on airfare, accommodation or the whole package, good deals always catch visitors’ eyes. For the first time the Taipei ITF has set up a theme for the fair to get more people interested. “I Love Travel,” this year’s theme, is exhibited in the Area H, featuring a lucky draw session every two hours. The prizes include domestic and international air tickets, accommodation vouchers and bicycles. Meanwhile, visitors can join a series of DIY activities, travel expert talks and culinary demonstrations.
An exhibition-wide Wi-Fi network is available to all visitors for free. As long as your mobile phone or tablet device has Wi-Fi access, you can link to the “2013 ITF WIFI” for booth information, performance schedules, promotions and more. The cloud network service doesn’t require users to download an app or type the Web address to be able to get the information.
The Taipei ITF is always overwhelming — the diversity of booths and performances, and of course the crowd it attracts. Therefore, thinking about what you want to look for at the fair and making a list of booths you would like to visit is always a good start to prepare yourself for this exciting mega event.