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IFEMA brings business tourism and shopping tourism together in Madrid with the Bus de compras | Shopping bus initiative

Madrid ranks fourth in the world's business tourism cities, second in Europe as a shopping destination, and eighth in Europe in tourist spending

Driving business tourism is a major goal for IFEMA, which receives more than 2.3 million visitors a year to the trade fairs and conferences held at Feria de Madrid. More than 50% of these visitors come from outside Madrid, and 12% from other countries, representing huge potential in terms of impact on the region's economy, especially in retail and other services.

Noticia Prensa IFEMA G

For this reason the company has recently launched new activities, including the IFEMA Plus programme, www.ifemaplus.ifema.es to provide value-added services to visitors and exhibitors from outside Madrid, encouraging them to stay longer in the city with a carefully selected range of shopping, cultural and leisure ideas. This service is now rolling out an initiative, groundbreaking in Spain and among international trade fairs, to promote shopping tourism in the region. This is a direct action offering visitors, especially those from other countries and provinces, a special transport service when the Fair closes. The Bus de Compras | #Shopping Bus, organised in collaboration with the Madrid Shopping Tour and sponsored by the Community of Madrid and Innova Tax Free, takes visitors to the main shopping centres and outlets in Madrid.

With this initiative, IFEMA hopes to bring business tourism and shopping tourism together, in line with the actions of the Community of Madrid, Madrid City Council and the Chamber of Commerce, to promote Madrid's shopping appeal for the quality tourists with high purchasing power who attend the trade fairs and conferences held in IFEMA's facilities. This initiative is part of the government institutions' broader strategy to consolidate and improve the city's position as a leading national and international shopping destination.
Shopping Bus routes

Enhancing the Moda Madrid brand is one of the goals of this initiative, and so the bus will stop close to the flagship stores of some of the most representative Spanish designers to promote quality products from Madrid and Spain. Luxury fashion, accessories, beauty and cosmetics, jewellery and decoration brands will be among the destinations on the route, which is designed to serve exhibitors and visitors at IFEMA events, especially those from other countries and provinces, offering new options in the city to promote Madrid as a shopping destination.

The project will begin in the central neighbourhoods of Serrano, the Museo del Prado area, the Barrio de las Letras and Castellana, known for their exclusive shops, a premium market which is worth around 5 billion euros a year in Spain, representing up to 30% of tourism income. The outlets area of Madrid-Las Rozas will also be included, to cater for diverse shopping needs. The Salamanca and Azca y Bernabeu districts are two of the areas that attract the most tourist spending. In 2012 they generated 39 and 2.5 million euros, respectively, from this source .

However, this product has been designed to develop strategically to meet the needs and preferences of the different visitor profiles of IFEMA fairs, adapting to the different sectors so that this service can boost shopping, not just in top areas like Triball, Fuencarral or Barrio de las Letras, known for their uniqueness, design and independent shops, but also providing an opportunity to try, for example, the trends and new business models which are emerging in Madrid.

Madrid, rising in the rankings
These initiatives will reinforce the promotion of Madrid as a destination for business tourism and shopping tourism, and enhance the Madrid brand. In recent years, Madrid has found a place at the top of world and European rankings. In 2012, it rose to 4th place in the list of the world's best venues for conferences, according to the ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association, behind only Vienna, Paris and Berlin, and 10th among the European cities with the most foreign visitors, according to the 2013 Global Destination Cities Index, with nearly 5 million visitors, who spent 5.1 billion dollars in the city, making Madrid the 8th city in Europe by volume of tourist spending.

Also, according to the shopping tourism ranking put together by The Economist (Business Research), which rated the business, prices, infrastructure, public transport, climate and culture of 33 European cities, Madrid scores an average of 67.1 out of 100, a few decimal points behind London (67.3) for convenience, climate and culture. This figure jumps to 69.2 for the number and variety of shops. The Economist ranks both Barcelona and Paris below Madrid. The advantage of Madrid, according to this study, is its strong appeal for shoppers in terms of brands, malls and stores, as well as good food, convenience and low prices for designer goods.

Meanwhile, a study by the BBVA Research Centre in collaboration with the Madrid Visitors & Convention Bureau on commercial activity in Madrid during 2012 reveals that spending by international tourists rose by 13.6%, with the heaviest spenders coming from the United States, followed by France, the UK, Italy and Brazil, and by continents, Europe and Asia, with Chinese tourists among those allocating a large part of their travel budget (34%) to shopping. The spread of electronic payment methods has helped to accelerate retail and tourism, generating a high volume of transactions, which according to MasterCard, has led them to include Madrid, their only Spanish destination, in their exclusive Priceless Cities programme, which groups together the world's leading shopping destinations. Credit card transactions in Madrid were worth 1.053 billion euros in 2012, a 15% increase.

At the same time, according to surveys by the Community of Madrid, 98% of repeat visitors to Madrid come to shop, with a satisfaction level of 8.8 points, one of the highest scores. Last August, according to the Tourist Spending Survey, tourists spent nearly 400 million euros in Madrid, with average expenditure per person and average expenditure per day both rising, by 2.8% and 6% respectively.

Madrid's strengths as a shopping destination
A study by Madrid Shopping Tour analyses the city's main strengths in shopping tourism, highlighting the diversity of shops in areas of tourism interest, which suit all types of tastes and budgets; the availability of Tax Free tourism services and the widespread acceptance of credit cards and currencies; the high specialisation of shops; the unique qualities of Madrid as a strategic centre for manufacturers and designers; a network of establishments associated with local and regional trades and associations, and an excellent range of accommodation in commercial areas, representing 90% of Madrid's hotels.

The study also highlights the opportunities emerging in the near future for shopping tourism in Madrid, such as the deregulation of opening times and days in new areas of tourist interest, the freedom to hold sales at any time, and improved infrastructure in the city, which has transformed the shopping experience in some traditional shopping areas. We can add to this the large public transport network, the variety of shopping events in the summer season, and the increasing image among tourists of Madrid as a shopping destination.

For more information: www.ifemaplus.ifema.es

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