All systems go in Florence for the 7th edition of BTO – Buy Tourism Online

Appointment at Fortezza da Basso on 2nd and 3rd December for the international event dedicated to travel 2.0

Florence, 21st November 2014 – TripAdvisor’s secrets and new developments will be revealed at BTO 2014, the international event dedicated to travel 2.0, to be held on 2nd and 3rd December at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence. A few days ago, Giancarlo Carniani, scientific director and head of BTO’s artistic concept, met Steve Kaufer, founder and CEO of TripAdvisor, in Los Angeles. The result of that meeting is an exclusive 30 minute interview in which Kaufer speaks of his creation and how it will develop in the near future. This will be just one of the must-see events scheduled for the seventh edition of BTO. Another exclusive presence will be Andrea D’Amico, Regional Director for Italy of, the world’s leading accommodation booking portal. Alex Bellini, the adventurer famous for rowing solo across the Atlantic, will be a special guest at the event. He will bring with him the 7 metre long orange rowing boat that accompanied him on the 35,000 km journey over 560 days. Bellini will be interviewed by Riccardo Luna, Innovation Ambassador and Digital Champion for Italy, and Massimiliano Ventimiglia, Founder of H-Art.

There are a good 125 events taking place over two days promoted by the Regione Toscana, Toscana Promozione and the Florentine Chamber of Commerce, organized by Fondazione Sistema Toscana and PromoFirenze – a Special Agency of the Chamber of Commerce of Florence. Some stand-out events include the interview with the Minister for Heritage, Culture and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, the panel that will host the piece on tourism, innovation and digital by Paolo Barberis, the Prime Minister’s Director of Innovation, and the round table that will bring together at the same table: Helena Egan Director, industry relations at TripAdvisor, Sydney Burdick, Global Communication, Trivago, Gurhan Karaagac, Country Manager for Italy, Kayak, and Filippo De Matteis, Marketing manager at Skyscanner Italy. Expedia returns to the event with Walter Lo Faro, Senior Director, Market Management Southern Europe & European Regional Territories. Each slot will be introduced and moderated by Giancarlo Carniani and the other two scientific editors: Philip Wolf, Founder of PhoCusWright®, and Roberta Milano, Co-founder of BTO Educational and BTO’s Scientific Committee.

The heart of the event will be the Emirates Hall where previews of debates, interviews and research presentations will take place, such as Future Brand’s Travel Brand Index. New developments include the panels on China: how to welcome, accommodate and win over Chinese travellers, with a focus on their attitudes towards the use of social networks. Another absolute first for BTO will be the focus on Hospitality Internet of Things. Thanks to Fabio Lazzerini, Country Manager for Italy at Emirates, we will see examples of how the internet makes life easier for the user-traveller. The topic of sharing economy is back with Uber, HomeAway and with the special participation of Lago.

This year, again, so many Italian regions have chosen to take part in BTO. In addition to Tuscany we will have representations from: Lazio, Liguria, Basilicata, Sicily, Puglia, Umbria, Abruzzo and Emilia Romagna. Our region will take the opportunity to present data on tourism and our plans for 2015 during the slot ‘Toscana 2020’ on 2nd December at 11.30. There will be an unmissable panel discussion with Matera Capital of Culture in 2019, along with the other finalists – Siena, Perugia, Cagliari, Ravenna – on how to capitalize on all the work done in recent years. Back Daniel Edward Craig, founder of Reknown, returns to BTO to discuss “Social Media & Storytelling”; another big name at the event is Josiah MacKenzie, founder of Gradigio Group and a partner of ReviewPro who will speak on “Opportunities from Interconnectivity”. Tourism for children will also be discussed, thanks to Serena Riglietti, the illustrator of the Italian version of Harry Potter. Riglietti will talk about the rules of engagement for involving children and young people, and getting them to travel with their imagination, in a journey to the world of adults.

After .ITisME, main theme of the 2013 edition (centred on the individual, the desire to shake off pessimism, and the proud proclamation “l’Italia sono io”, “Italy is me”), BTO 2014 shifts its focus from being to doing, and claims for itself the London Undergrounds’ warning: “MIND the GAP”. Be careful, in other words, of that suspended space that is created underneath us during the transition from one fixed point to another. Pay attention to each time of change, and use your heart as well as your head. Playing on the phrase MIND the GAP, the format and scientific program of BTO 2014 are designed to be a bridge between old beliefs and new scenarios, including those related to tourism and the market, with a warm invitation to act. This is why the closing slot of BTO 2014 has been entrusted to Alex Bellini, the man who embodies the spirit of challenging, and exceeding, all limits.