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Encounters, discussions and meetings at BIT

Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 1 Marzo 2002

The four days of the International Tourism Exchange, in Milan, have been tiring days. Starting Wednesday with the preview on invitation, the event has been a quick succession of meetings, conferences, encounters and discoveries. The Milan Fair is tiring in itself, spreading as it does over different detached pavilions, so that visitors are forced to go up and down, in and out, from overheated areas to the cold outside air… This is how tourist operators are put to the test of Darwinian survival. As far as I am concerned – and I am sure this applies to all participants – the most important moment has been the lecture on “Future Tourism Between Sustainability and Technology” held by Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends of Washington, D.C., in which – after an overview of his own theory of the age of access – the speaker has outlined an unconventional scenario for the future of tourism. After Rifkin, no other meeting could have attracted so much attention, even though this year – admittedly – the issues of tourism have been discussed and analysed more intensely than ever before. This year, too, like in the past, the presence of exhibitors has been significant, even though with some surprises, reflecting the moment of uncertainty: historic companies which had always been highly visible at the fair were now keeping a lower and less impressive profile, while a few new operators presented themselves aggressively, in large and sophisticated exhibition spaces. All major operators were present, however, and from a handshake and a comment on the situation the conversation easily developed into an interesting exchange of ideas. As a whole, this post-11th September BIT has had the merit to focus on quality and contents, shunning exhibitionistic temptations. Events that grow too fast are always exposed to the risk of implosion – BIT has chosen an approach that avoids this risk and ensures its authoritativeness.

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