ITB Asia 2015, the eighth instalment of the leading regional trade show will take place from October 21 to 23 this year at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. ITB Asia is a partner event of TravelRave, a premiere travel and tourism week organised by the Singapore Tourism Board. Last year’s show attracted close to 750 exhibitors from 76 countries and 850 buyers from
TTN spoke exclusively to Katrina Leung, who took over from Nino Gruettke as executive director, Messe Berlin (Singapore) in November 2014, for insights into this year’s show.
What’s new at ITB Asia this year?
ITB Asia has become Asia’s must-attend travel trade event as we continue to forge new partnerships and connect our delegates to hundreds of companies from all segments of the travel industry around the world.
Instead of a traditional keynote speaker, this year ITB Asia will host keynote panels with travel industry leaders including representatives from companies such as Airbnb, Agoda, Ctrip, Tuniu, TripAdvisor and Uber, moderated by PhoCusWright founder and industry veteran Philip Wolf. These industry leaders will share their insights on ideas and strategy that drive growth while shedding some light on what separates market leaders in 2015 and beyond.
As part of our enhanced conference programme, Airbnb will address the economic impacts of home sharing in cities around the world, while TripAdvisor will share some key traveller trends and insight for hoteliers, and Tuniu will share its experience managing the growing demands of the booming Chinese economy.
This year, ITB Asia has also inked a number of new partnerships. In particular, we have collaborated with CAPA (Centre for Aviation) to organise an aviation industry outlook forum, and have also collaborated with DestinationElite to organise the show’s first 'Luxury and Travel' Forum.
How many hosted buyers will attend this year’s show?
The hosted buyer programme has always been an integral part of ITB Asia, helping to bring together key regional buyers and decision makers. We are currently working to finalise the number of buyers for this year.
Last year, 852 buyers attended the show, and over 90 per cent of them endorsed the show as a great business environment with valuable contacts. With our stringent screening process to place evaluating all potential buyers, only the best enter the pre-scheduled appointment system. As we continue facilitate these important face-to-face interactions at this year’s show, we are confident of ITB Asia’s continued success.
What kind of presence will we see from Middle East companies?
The increasing prominence of ITB Asia has allowed us to attract more quality exhibitors from all around the world. Middle Eastern companies have always shown their strong support, and this year our Middle Eastern exhibitors include a range of tourism boards and organisations, hotels as well as tour companies including the Egyptian Tourism Office, Jordan Tourism Board, Conrad Dubai and Qatar Airways Holidays.
Who are the speakers for this year’s educational programme?
Each year, we plan our show’s events and conference line up around the trending topics within the rapidly changing travel market. We address these topics by partnering with leading professional associations as well as bringing in speakers who are at the top of their respective industries and can share their experiences and insights with our delegates.
At our keynote sessions, delegates will be able to listen to a wide range of industry pioneers including Donald Yu, chief executive officer of Tuniu Corporation, Cindy Xiaofan Wang, chief financial officer of Ctrip, Deep Kalra, founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip Limited and Timothy Hughes, vice-president of marketing at Agoda.com.
What were the most important findings from ITB Asia 2014?
ITB Asia 2014 welcomed almost 9,650 attendees from 108 countries, a 6 per cent increase over last year, reflecting the increased prominence of this travel trade show. As a business platform for the travel industry, ITB Asia allows all sectors to come together to identify the latest trends, creating opportunities for all delegates.
As one of the region’s most international travel trade events, we recognise the importance of keeping a finger on the pulse of our fast moving industry, identifying key trends and new developments to share the most important insights with our delegates.
During one of the key conference sessions at last year’s show, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) forecast that the Asia-Pacific region would account for 40 per cent of global business travel spend, we expect even more valuable insights at this year’s show as we will be providing our most comprehensive business-focused programme for all delegates.
At last year’s show, we also collaborated with Robb Report, where they hosted a keynote session detailing research and insights on the growing trends of the affluent Asian traveller. This year, we have also inked a new partnership with DestinationElite, further examining trends in the premium travel and hospitality sector.
What are some of the most interesting travel trends you anticipate this winter from Singapore and greater China?
According to the ITB World Travel Trends report, the outlook for outbound and inbound travel trends have been very optimistic, with Asia projected to remain as the strongest growing outbound market.
In particular, China has a huge demand for outbound tourism, with the fast-emerging middle class contributing significantly to Chinese outbound travel. At this year’s conference, delegates can gain more insights from companies such as Ctrip and Tuniu during our keynote panels.
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