ITB Asia 2016 will open its doors to usher in its biggest and best show to date, featuring industry movers and shakers including Google and Priceline Group who will helm the show’s opening keynote.
For the first time ever, the keynote sessions will stretch across all three days, exploring pertinent topics such as the impact of mobile and digital disruption in the travel industry.
In its ninth year, Asia’s leading travel trade show will take place in Singapore from October 19 to 21 this year at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands. TTN spoke to Katrina Leung, executive director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organisers of ITB Asia, ahead of the show.
What’s new at ITB Asia this year?
ITB Asia will mark its ninth year, and as Asia’s leading think tank, we are always looking for fresh, new ways to bring industry innovations, trends and content to all players in the travel value chain. ITB Asia is a trusted and go-to platform that gives delegates an opportunity to learn and establish meaningful business contacts.
Seeing the huge potential in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) sector, our Mice sessions are now extended to become a full day session. This will give delegates an opportunity to delve deeper and understand the issues facing the sector today. We have also expanded our partnerships with Mice players such as the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) to promote Japan as a premier Mice destination.
Keeping on top of industry trends, the dynamic panel discussions and tailored workshops by CrescentRating, the world’s leading authority on halal travel, will look at how to tap into the burgeoning Muslim business travel sector.
For the first time ever, ITB Asia will be extending the keynote session to cover all three days. Movers and shakers such as Google and Priceline Group will take the stage for the opening session; in light of the rise of OTAs, we have invited Expedia, Zuji as well as prominent Chinese corporations like Tuniu Corporation and Yifiqei Travel to share their view, zooming in on China. In addition, panellists from hotel groups such as Marina Bay Sands, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, A Niccolo Hotel and Marriott International will provide insights on how to differentiate in the presence of intense competition, through customer experience and adoption of technological innovations.
How many hosted buyers will attend ?
The hosted buyer programme is a very important part of the show and helps bring together top buyers from Mice, leisure and corporate companies to meet with key decision-makers on the show floor. As we gear up for the show, we believe that this year’s numbers will match our commitment towards holding a great show.
In 2015, we received 880 buyers at the show from all around the world and each year, we carefully evaluate all potential buyers before allowing them to enter into the pre-scheduled appointment system to meet with exhibitors. As we continue to facilitate key business meetings, we also consistently listen to feedback from both buyers and exhibitors to continue making the show a great experience for everyone.
What kind of presence will we see from Middle East companies?
The Middle East region holds a lot of possibilities for the travel industry. We have Qatar Tourism Authority, Jordan Tourism Board, Dubai Parks Destination Management, Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha, Turkey Tourism Office. Our partners from the Middle East see us as a great platform to reach out to the Asian market and a valuable partner who enables optimal business networking at the show.
Who are the speakers for this year’s educational programme?
As a leading think tank for the Asian travel industry, we welcome many industry heavyweights to share their expertise, best practices and insights into recent trends. We welcome speakers from our first Official Medical & Travel Security Partner International SOS, as well as leading representatives for our daily keynote sessions featuring Priceline Group’s Senior Vice President, Adrian Currie and Google’s Asia Pacific Head of Hotel and Airline Suppliers, Jenn Villalobos who will start off the show on a high.
Our inaugural Mice Day will also feature speakers such as Bert Li, associate director of event production at Amway China and Aileen London, senior manager global, meeting services JAPAC at Oracle Corporation sharing on their experience and perspectives on event planning during the session by ICESAP.
Join Airbnb on day 3 as Kevin Hoong, APAC Business Travel Lead at Airbnb, shares on how the company is moving to cater to the corporate travel market with Airbnb for Business.
These are only a few of the great speaker line-up prepared.
What are the most interesting travel trends you notice/anticipate this winter from Singapore and greater China?
Asia-Pacific region is a key driver of world travel and marks the strongest growth compared to the rest of the world. Asia is expected to post strong growth this year as reflected in the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2015 / 2016 and we are very optimistic about the growth figures.
In countries like Singapore and China where there is a strong appetite and spending power for travel, we foresee that there will be a demand for ‘try before you buy’ services. Travel providers will look into introducing virtual reality (VR) concepts to travel so that these travellers are able to experience parts of a holiday thereby making an informed choice. It is predicted that Asia’s VR market will grow to more than $10 billion over the next five years largely driven by investment stemming from China, and we have started seeing that with players like Tencent and Alibaba.
Does the ITB World Travel Trends Report mention any outbound and inbound travel trends from the Middle East?
According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2015/2016, the Middle East travel market has a lot of potential and is poised for further growth. The outbound market was actually the world’s fastest-growing market in 2015 with a 9 per cent increase in outbound trips over the first eight months of the year.
Besides Saudi Arabia, the UAE is the most attractive outbound market in the region and is characterised by high spending and long trips.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.