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18 May 2021

FITUR Begins: The Strategic Event For Tourism Recovery

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Organised by IFEMA MADRID, from 19th to 23rd May, FITUR will be the first trade fair on the international circuit of major tourism sector events.

The Fair brings together more than 5000 participants from five continents, with the presence of all Spain’s regions, companies and destinations from 55 countries, and 37 official representations, in addition to the participation of trade visitors of 79 nationalities on the new digital platform: FITUR LIVEConnect.

The Madrid Region will have a special presence as FITUR 2021 PARTNER destination. Its participation at the Fair will focus on promoting the capital as a preferred destination for international tourism under the new brand, Greater Madrid.

There will be new special-interest sections: FITUR LINGUA, FITUR WOMAN and the FITUR TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY space.

Next 19th to 23rd May, IFEMA MADRID is organising the first in-person trade fair on the international circuit of major tourism industry events: FITUR 2021 Tourism Recovery Special. This edition will focus on recovery in this strategic sector for the economy. It will especially focus on Spain, one of the world’s most competitive economies in terms of tourism (World Economic Forum data), where this industry accounted for about 13% in terms of employment and GDP in 2019.

So, next Wednesday, 19th, FITUR 2021 will open its doors to members of the international tourism community who represent the sector’s entire value chain in terms of supply and demand. This edition, so critical for tourism’s recovery, will be attended by destinations, the transport and accommodation industries, the solutions and services sectors, the intermediation sector, travel agents, and tour operators. It will also serve all segments that act as drivers of this business to provide a dynamic scenario for moving the revival ahead and the long-awaited re-encounter between professionals.

The Fair is grateful for the significant institutional support it has received from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, from the Madrid Regional government, and from international organisations such as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, of which FITUR chairs the affiliate members committee), as well as all the Spanish regional governments, companies, countries and destinations. This backing has been instrumental for launching this edition, which aims to mark a turning point for relaunching tourism globally, to help strengthen business tourism, and boost the image of Madrid and Spain as major opinion leaders and safe tourism destinations.

FITUR will also be the first experience of safe international mobility after many months of restrictions. It will be an extraordinary measure, one to which the Government of Spain has contributed by declaring attendance at FITUR as “essential travel, enabling exhibitors and visitors from abroad to come to the capital of Spain. The Spanish government has also supported FITUR  by declaring FITUR Tourism Recovery Special an Event of Exceptional Public Interest, included in the National Budget for 2021, over three years. This status will be especially beneficial and will give a boost to relaunching the industry and Spain’s tourism image.

In addition to this, IFEMA MADRID has designed a strict Covid-19 sanitary protocol which has four national and international certifications. The protocol covers all the necessary measures to manage aspects such as attendee flows and mobility, occupancy controls, safe distancing, eliminating direct contact by using online registration, and incorporating the latest technologies for health safety and people counting, and especially for air renewal in the halls. Furthermore, for the trade days, there will be an additional measure, the requirement for a negative Covid-19 test, in addition to the mandatory PCR tests at origin and the quick onsite tests.

The Madrid Region, FITUR 2021 destination PARTNER

The Madrid Region will be FITUR 2021’s tourism destination Partner for this Tourism Recovery Special edition. This partnership will be an excellent opportunity to reposition the Madrid region as a world leader and preferred tourist destination for international travellers. Furthermore, this is an active involvement in partnership with the FITUR brand to show the world the Region’s leadership as an economic driver, with its competitive industry and business community. Freedom and legal certainty are features of its legislative and political context.

Over the past year, Madrid’s tourism sector has been hit by the pandemic. Still, it has shown itself to be an example of solidarity, collaboration, and adapting to changing social and economic circumstances.  So, at this year’s FITUR, the Madrid government wants to salute the region’s effort with a stand designed as a participatory space for Madrid’s different destinations, products and tourism businesses.

FITUR is also an excellent showcase for the Madrid region’s new tourism model in a changing and increasingly competitive environment. This new tourism model aims to maintain the Madrid region’s competitiveness and leadership with a strategy that can respond to the sector’s needs and contribute to a sustainable and digitalised tourism business in an environment that keeps everyone safe. One of the new developments this year will be on Thursday 20th May at 12 noon on the Madrid Region stand’s main stage, when the Region presents its new brand image and new concept as an international tourism region: Greater Madrid, and the new Destination Weddings tourism product which proposes the Madrid region as the ideal destination to celebrate unique and unforgettable experiences.


At this special edition, FITUR is launching its LIVEConnect community. LIVEConnect is an advanced technology platform designed to complement face-to-face participation. It is part of IFEMA Madrid’s commitment to digitalising its trade fairs by introducing products and services to enable it to reach other markets. FITUR LIVEConnect has been operational from 5th May to 4th June. It has a powerful search and recommendations engine backed by Artificial Intelligence. It enables users to do business networking and strengthen interaction with the international tourism community outside the dates of FITUR’s face-to-face Fair in Madrid.

Taking Part in FITUR 2021

FITUR has 44,000 sq. m net exhibition space across seven halls. This special edition brings together 5000 participants, representing five continents and with direct participation by 55 countries, between destinations and companies, 37 of which are attending as official representatives. In addition to this international representation, for the first time, its figures include participation to date by 79 nationalities on the FITUR LIVEConnect online platform. Also, 17 of Spain’s regions will be participating, and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

The attendance forecast for this event is around 50,000 national and international professionals, from Wednesday to Friday. In addition, another 50,000 general public visitors are expected over the weekend.

Special-Interest Spaces and Sections

FITUR covers different topics that address trends that will be vital for relaunching the tourism industry. So, as well as the main cross-cutting themes like digital transformation, technological innovation and sustainable development, which will be part of FITUR’s overall offer, all the verticals will be represented in different sections at this edition: -Business Opportunities For Meetings and Business Travel Tourism At FITUR MICE, health tourism at FITUR HEALTH, film shooting destinations at FITUR SCREEN, cultural event opportunities at FITUR FESTIVALS & EVENTS, talent and professional training, at FITUR TALENT, destinations for diversity at FITUR LGBT, technology solutions for businesses, destinations, sustainability and future trends, at FITURTECHY, and digitalisation, sustainability, and smart tourism destinations at FITUR KNOW-HOW & EXPORT.

FITUR is launching special-interest sections for language tourism at FITUR LINGUA and leadership by women in the tourism industry at FITUR WOMAN. There is also a new space, FITUR TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY, bringing together technology suppliers and innovative solutions that are already setting future trends for new travel concepts. Another new space is CEAV b2b to host business meetings between travel agents and tourism industry suppliers present at the fair.   

The FITUR NEXT Observatory focuses on promoting good tourism sustainability practices. This year it has been surveying tourism’s contribution to gender equality and women’s empowerment. It will be presenting the Afrikable, Codespa Foundation and Women in Travel CIC initiatives, winners of the 2021 challenge. In addition, it will host a series of dialogues and testimonials highlighting female talent and the fight for equality in the sector.

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Professional Activities

FITUR también será sede de celebración de grandes eventos relacionados con el turismo, entre ellos acogerá el  XII Foro de Inversiones y Negocios Turísticos en África, INVESTOUR, que organizado por la  OMT,  en colaboración con, FITUR y Casa África, se enfoca en potenciar la promoción del desarrollo sostenible en África, y  favorecer las oportunidades de inversión y negocio. En esta ocasión se desarrollará en formato virtual y será retransmitido por FITUR LIVEConnect, el jueves 20 de mayo.

The UNWTO has also prepared a programme of events and activities during FITUR. Over five days, these events will invite experts to talk about the sector’s recovery and its sustainable future based on the vital role of innovation, cooperation and tourism investment. UNWTO will also actively participate in FITUR NEXT and FITURTECHY.

As a prelude to FITUR, the 24th Ibero-American Conference of Tourism Ministers and Entrepreneurs, CIMET, on Tuesday 18th May, will bring together the sector’s leaders and decision-makers. It will host panels in partnership with the UNWTO: “Keys to Post Pandemic Tourism”, “Investment and Spanish Know-How”, “What the New Traveller Will Be Like,” and “Quality and Health Safety for the New Tourism.” In addition, there will be a space for networking with Tourism Ministers and entrepreneurs from the Spanish tourism sector to help Spanish companies expand in Latin America.

Awards and Recognitions

There will be awards and recognitions again this year as IFEMA MADRID, FITUR and various other organisations highlight efforts to develop tourism activity in different areas. For the second time, FITUR will award the Sustainable Stand Award, organised in partnership with the Responsible Tourism Institute (ITR). This award highlights exhibiting companies’ efforts to make their presence at FITUR environment and climate change friendly, contribute to improving social and cultural aspects, and governance and economic issues. In addition, the 22nd edition of the FITUR-Jorge Vila Fradera Committee Award organised in partnership with the Spanish Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (AECIT). The award aims to improve competitiveness through knowledge and disseminate a tourism research project in academia worldwide. Both awards will be presented during FITUR.  

There will also be the 26th edition of the AireLibre Tourism Competition, organised jointly by  FITUR and the magazine AireLibre. This award aims to promote development and marketing in the tourism industry and showcase top-quality active tourism products. Furthermore, SEGITTUR is organising the 2021 Chatbots Tourism Awards as part of FITUR KNOW-HOW & EXPORT. They are for the best chatbots, voice apps, and conversational technology solutions, from Spain and abroad, integrated by destinations and tourism sector companies to improve travellers’ experience. Finally, the AMT Smart Destinations Awards are organised by the Hotel Technology Institute (ITH) in the context of FITURTECHY. These awards recognise the best Spanish technology solutions and tools to help tourist destinations overcome the challenges of implementing and developing smart destinations.  

FITUR At the Weekend

As it does every year, on Saturday and Sunday, 22nd and 23rd May, FITUR will open its doors to the general public. This will be an opportunity to discover the proposals offered by destinations and regions worldwide, and enjoy the activities provided by some of the sections and stands at this edition while feeling protected by FITUR’s safety measures.