November 5, 2015
Fair for leisure and travel—f.re.e 2016
From dream holidays to diving courses—all under one roof
In the coming year, Bavaria’s biggest travel and leisure fair offers innovations and trends from the subject areas of Travel, Caravaning & Mobile Recreation, Water Sports, Outdoor, Health & Wellness and Bicycles. f.re.e takes place on February 10 to 14, 2016 at Messe München.
On an area of about 70,000 square meters—equivalent to seven football pitches—around 1,200 exhibitors from almost 60 countries present a wide range of leisure gear and travel. In addition, the numerous action areas at f.re.e provide the opportunity to test the equipment for different sports like cycling, diving and climbing directly at the fair. For Reinhard Pfeiffer, Deputy CEO of Messe München, f.re.e wins out because of its adventure factor: “As every visitor young or old can try out all the leisure activities here with us and get advice about holiday destinations in personal talks with the exhibitors, f.re.e clearly sets itself apart from digital buying and booking possibilities in the internet.” At the last event, f.re.e recorded over 118,000 visitors in five days.
The center of attention at the coming f.re.e is our partner country—the Seychelles. Among other things, this island state in the Indian Ocean presents its numerous possibilities for water sports as well as the May Valley, its World Heritage Site. Consistent with this choice of partner country, the German tourism research community FUR has determined in its travel analysis for 2014 that the Bavarians have an especially great affinity for long-distance travel compared to the rest of the German population. Apart from the Seychelles and other long-distance destinations (Hall A4), visitors to f.re.e will find offers of holidays in Bavaria and the Alpine region (Hall A5) as well as the Mediterranean countries (Hall B4). In addition, f.re.e offers thematic days about special travel and leisure possibilities. The first day of the fair, February 10, 2016, is themed as ‘f.re.e Solo’ with holiday and leisure offers for singles and persons traveling alone. On Thursday 11 February 2016, visitors can discover cuisine from around the world at the “f.re.e Culinary Tour” by savoring the various specialities from the countries taking part. The holiday and leisure possibilities available to families with children are featured by exhibitors on Friday 12 February 2016 at “f.re.e Family”.
The trend topic of cruises is presented at the coming event in an exhibition area of its own—“f.re.e Ahoy”—about traveling by water. For the first time, the relevant program on the Harbor Stage takes place not just on one day but for the entire duration of the fair.
Health & Wellness
Apart from massagers, beauty products and fitness equipment, the subject area Health & Wellness in Hall A5 at the coming f.re.e presents the subject of golf for the first time with exhibitors and a joint action area. Under the professional guidance of the BGV (Bavarian golf association), visitors can get an initial feel for the sport at six tee areas. In addition, various Bavarian golf courses introduce their offers for newcomers as well as experienced golf players. What’s more, experts on the Health Stage give tips on fitness and wellness programs each day.
Caravaning & Mobile Recreation
The level of interest in holidaying with the camper or caravan has increased sharply in recent years. One reason for this: it’s easily combined with leisure activities like cycling or water sport. In the subject area Caravaning & Mobile Recreation (Halls B4/B5), the range at f.re.e extends from camping equipment to entry-level models of vans and caravans right through to large motor homes. Next year for the first time, “Campingwelt” will be here with its own area just for equipment and accessories for holidaying at the camping site. Information on planning trips with the caravan or camper is available to visitors at the stand of the CIVD (German camping industry association) as well as at the campsite service station.
In the subject area of Water Sports, the focus is on trying it out and joining in. On the 70-meter test run for canoes, beginners have the opportunity to make their first attempts at paddling on a river course that’s true to life with boardwalks and shingle bank. Those who’d like to venture into the cool water can take a trial course in diving. New here is the SUP Lounge where anyone who’s interested can test their paddling abilities on a simulator and get advice about a suitable board. In addition, exhibitors present and sell the latest canoe models as well as diving equipment and surfboards. And just like in recent years, advice about sailing and cruising is available in Hall B4—as well as the free regulator check for divers—on all days of the fair.
The great interest on the part of f.re.e’s visitors in recent years has shown that hiking and mountain climbing are back in vogue. Apart from a large range of equipment and accessories, the Outdoor subject area offers a varied stage and contest program. Together with the Munich and uplands branch of the German Alpine Association (DAV), f.re.e is holding CLIMB FREE next year for what is already the eighth time. Taking place from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th February at the bouldering wall in Hall A6 are the Oberlandcup and the Bayerischer Bouldercup as well as the Bavarian championships in bouldering. Visitors who themselves want to reach for the heights can mount the climbing tower under the professional supervision of DAV staff.
Almost every second visitor of f.re.e states that they visit the subject area of Bicycles. So along with Travel, this ranks among the most popular areas of the fair. Here, around 90 exhibitors present almost 60 brands of bicycles. The range offered by the dealers and manufacturers extends from trekking bikes to mountain and e-bicyles to special models like cargo bikes and recumbents. So that the visitors can get an exact idea of the individual bicycles, they have the possibility of doing some trial runs free of charge on the bicycle course.
As digitization doesn’t stop at bicycles either, f.re.e offers a large selection of equipment and information to do with navigation, operating the e-bike, anti-theft and the recording of heart rate, wattage and calorie consumption. All this data can be controlled by smartphone too. For this reason, f.re.e is enlarging the thematic village “navi+apps” to include the areas of ‘Connectivity’ and “Smart Cycling”.