Well-attended travel mart boosts Latvia’s profile

Balttour 2011 attracts 40,000 people and 600 exhibitors from 34 countries

Beginning a season of three well-attended travel industry fairs in the Baltic countries, the 18th International Travel Trade Fair Balttour 2011 took place on February 11-13 at the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre in Riga, Latvia.
Hosting 600 travel and tourism companies from 34 countries around the world this year, Balttour attracted around 40,000 Latvians, many of them families eager to travel abroad again as the country recovers strongly from a deep economic recession.
Balttour is the first and the biggest of the Baltic travel fairs in 2011, the others being Tourest in Tallinn this week and Vivattur in Vilnius on February 25-27.
Balttour’s organisers are so confident about Latvian’s renewed ability to spend that they forecast bigger attendance than Helsinki’s Matka within five years. That’s an ambitious target. Around 83,000 people visited Matka 2011, where 1174 exhibitors from 73 countries attended.
The Association of Latvian Travel Agents and the exhibition organiser BT1 worked closely on the preparation of Balttour 2011 following almost a year of disputes, which are now settled. A new focus this year was to provide a range of outdoor family entertainment, from Siberian husky sled rides, which are now available in Latvia, to a ready-made ice bar.