Completely updated Vakantiebeurs (Holiday Exhibition) gives the travel sector a boost
Europe increasingly popular, desire for luxury, enthusiastic campers
The completely new Vakantiebeurs has generated a lot of interest among Dutch holidaymakers and given the travel sector a boost. One of the many ‘firsts’ this year was a presentation of the most popular types of holidays in six, much-visited Plazas, provided by specialist international exhibitors. Thanks to the combination of these Plazas and the clear geographical layout of the exhibition by country, it was easy for visitors to find their way around the Vakantiebeurs, which was held from Wednesday 15 January – Sunday 19 January in the Jaarbeurs venue in Utrecht.
VNU Exhibitions Travel Market Manager Editha Hoogenberg, organiser of the Vakantiebeurs: ‘’It’s great that, together with our participants, we were able to give the travel sector a boost this past week. Our exhibitors have given us lots of positive responses to the quality level of the visitors, many of whom actually booked their holiday right there at the Exhibition. As an organisation we are proud that we were able to make such an excellent start to the travel season together with our participants and partners.’’
A total of 117,073 holidaymakers visited the Exhibition, which is a significant increase of 13% compared to last year. Many of the visitors take several holidays a year. One of the noticeable findings from the evaluation of the Exhibition organisers is the growing interest in European holidays. Of course this doesn’t change the fact that a large proportion of the visitors were also looking for destinations elsewhere in the world. At least one in five visitors came to find out specifically about short trips or longer holidays in the Netherlands.
When asked about their anticipated spending level for future holidays, the visitors of the Vakantiebeurs indicated that on average they will be spending nearly 3300 euro per person per year on holidays. This is three times as much as the amount of just over 1100 euro the average Dutch holidaymaker spent on holidays last year.
Visitors named Italy, France and Germany/Spain as the top 3 popular destinations in Europe. Greece rose significantly in popularity and comes 4th, followed by Austria/Switzerland in 5th place. The most popular destinations outside Europe are Asia, the United States/Canada, Africa, Central and South America and the Caribbean respectively.
Desire for luxury
The main reasons for people to visit the Vakantiebeurs were: collecting specific information, finding inspiration, selecting a holiday, a day out and entertainment, the exclusive exhibition offers and finding additional information about a holiday they have already booked. The holidaymakers’ preference for a hotel as the most popular accommodation shows a clear desire for a bit of luxury during the holidays, followed by camping, a guesthouse/B&B and an apartment.
Camping by Night
There were plenty of camping aficionados among the visitors, who like to go exploring with their caravan, camper van, pop-up camping trailer or tent. To be able to give this group – and especially the non-campers – a sense of the real camping experience a spectacular and highly visited Camping by Night exhibit had been set up in a darkened hall of the Vakantiebeurs. Avid campers will also be able to look forward to and research the 50th edition of the Camping and Caravan Fair scheduled to be held at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht from 8-12 October.
Germany was the Guest Country at the Vakantiebeurs and made every effort to promote the country, the regions and the cities among the visitors. Among other things the country surprised the visitors with a wine tasting and was also present in all the Plazas with the most popular types of holidays, to draw attention to the country’s enormous variety as a tourist destination.
The themes ‘Sail’ (Cruises & Sailing), ‘Active’ (Bicycling & Walking), ‘Together’ (Families & Children), ‘Discover’ (Adventure & Remote Destinations), ‘Outside’ (Camping) and ‘Look’ (Cities & Culture) were selected for the different Plazas. The ‘Look’ Plaza was the most popular, followed by ‘Discover’, ‘Outside’, ‘Active’, ‘Together’ and ‘Sail’. The cruise options in ‘Sail’ constitute only a small segment of the total holiday sector, but still attracted the attention of 1 in 5 Vakantiebeurs visitors.
Other ‘firsts’ were the participation of UNESCO with a focus on World Heritage, the Zoom.nl photography pavilion, the Vakantiebeurs Photo Competition and the Culinary Route with tasty traditional snacks and drinks at six varied destinations. For the first time in the history of the Vakantiebeurs the Dutch Railways put on two extra trains for Exhibition visitors. This ‘Vakantiebeurs Express’ ran on Saturday from Zwolle to Utrecht via Amersfoort and delivered the passengers in an excellent mood and fully informed about the Vakantiebeurs in Utrecht.
The public days of the 2015 Vakantiebeurs will be Wednesday 14 January – Sunday 18 January.