12th ITB-ASIA 2019, SANDS EXPO & CONVENTION CENTRE, SINGAPORE
Annually held three day B2B travel trade show and convention, the 12th ITB-Asia on the theme “Bold Thoughts, Bold Moves,” was held from 16 to 18 October, 2019, at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore. Organized by Messe Berlin (Singapore) Pte Ltd and supported by the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau. International exhibitors from all sectors within the travel-value chain commerce, and Asia Pacific’s leading travel companies and emerging small and medium-sized enterprises meet with top international buyers from the MICE, Leisure and Corporate Travel markets, to establish high-quality contacts and conduct business.
The Show featured educative key note addresses, and hundreds of exhibiting companies from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, covering not only the leisure market, but also MICE and corporate travel. Exhibitors from every sector of the industry, including destinations, airlines and airports, hotels and resorts, theme parks and attractions, inbound tour operators, inbound DMCs, cruise lines, spas, venues, other meeting facilities and travel technology companies.
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The opening ceremony was graced by four guests-of-honour:
-Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Republic of Singapore;
-Michael Müller, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany;
-Dr Christian Göke, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Messe Berlin GmbH and
-Keith Tan, Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board.
According to Katrina Leung, MD Messe Berlin (Singapore), ITB Asia’s organiser: “ITB Asia continues to maintain its position as the leading travel trade show in the region. Working in close collaboration with international exhibitors, travel companies and international buyers from across the MICE, leisure and corporate travel markets, we look forward to unveiling this year’s engaging and exciting programmes that will benefit all. With the expansion of the show and the launch of MICE Show Asia, we’re delighted to welcome our visitors . . .”
OVERVIEW – FACTS
A 38% rise in exhibitors from Europe summing up a total of 1,300 exhibiting companies showcasing travel products, more than 1,250 buyers and accredited International Media participated this year’s show-the largest ever. To accommodate its growth, ITB Asia 2019 expanded its space with two floors of the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. More than 27,000 business appointments made at ITB Asia 2019, exceeding past years’ performances, which recorded more than 7,000 minutes of conference, about 11,000+ attendees and 25,000+ business appointments. www.itb-asia.com,
Emphasising the global reach of ITB Asia, over 110 National Tourism Organisations (NTO) and Regional Tourism Organisations (RTO) exhibited this year, including first-time appearances for NTOs from Armenia, Czech Republic, Malta, Russia and the Balkan States – Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, and RTOs from Busan, Frankfurt, LA and more. Some of the exhibitors and presenters worth mentioning, in terms of hospitable interaction, booth decor, presentation and product display included: Thailand, Singapore, Russia pavilions (Kamchatka Tours); Amara Sentosa (Hotel group), Far-East Hospitality (The Outpost Hotel Sentosa); Genting Cruise Lines; Jewel Changi Airport; Wildlife Reserves Singapore; ezlink Singapore; Accommodation Kuukkeli Lapland; Finland; Bangkok Airways, Kohinoor Continental India; Oakwood Hotels; Altara Suites, Eden Tour Armenia; Vision Travel Kazakhstan; Department of Culture-Tourism Abu Dhabi, Traveloka, to name a few.
Conference keynoters and partners pushing boundaries of the travel industry
Under the theme of “Bold Thoughts, Bold Moves,” key industry leaders shared innovative ideas and knowledge on practical applications to keep pace with industry changes.
Opening Day (16 October) keynote line-up included Booking.com and IBM, addressing the industry’s common challenges such as readying businesses for their next wave of growth; rethinking and reinventing distribution strategies; and how the travel industry can capitalise on the digital revolution to succeed.
On Day 2 (17 October), delegates attended discussions, delivered by leading companies including Google and Wego – relating to the ever-evolving market. Pakistan is the featured country in the Muslim Destination Spotlight. The presenter highlighted the recent ease of visa and freedom of travel movement in the country. The country deserved a much better perspective than it was delivered during the talk show.
On the final Day 3 (18 October), Booking.com, OYO China, and Tujia lead the conversation on maximising opportunities to meet the needs of a new generation of Chinese travellers.
Other noteworthy sessions during the show included those led by ITB Asia’s partners in the Destination Marketing and Muslim Travel conference tracks.
The Destination Marketing track featured a series of tours and activities led by iVenture Card, Rezgo, TourRadar and Trip Ninja. The discussion related to multi-city travel, what experiences can learn from hotel distribution and how to get the most for brands via online travel agencies (OTAs).
In the Muslim Travel track, CrescentRating, in its fourth year of partnership with ITB Asia, presents “Halal In Travel Asia Summit”. Attendees of ITB Asia 2019 gain key insights from the official release of Mastercard and CrescentRating’s Muslim Women in Travel Report, and CrescentRating’s report on Gen Z Muslim Travelers.
New initiatives at ITB-Asia 2019
With the fast-growing demands of the MICE and Corporate Travel sectors, ITB Asia 2019 launched the inaugural MICE Show Asia, a MICE-dedicated show moderated by Martin Donovan and on the panel: Nichapa Yoswee, SVP – Business, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB); Yumiko Iwata, Convention Specialist, Chiba Convention Bureau; Ksenya Boykova, Head of External Relations & MICE; Moscow Project Office for Tourism and Hospitality Development; Deborah Elias, President, Elias Events.
The visionary TCEB, represented by Nichapa Yowsee commented on TCEB success through working with thought leaders with a dynamic approach translating trends from international partners and transforming unrelatable ideas to relate. Khun Nichapa enlightened the attendees what it takes for a successful MICE destination, summarizing on what do buyers see in MICE? How essential it is for clients to participate in the WOW moments and Return on Business with a sustainable approach. Clients should be given the option of variety of Destination, Food safety reassuring business continuity. The TCEB is working with several partners to win bids that would bring 18 national conventions to Thailand between 2020-26. Other experts on the panel shared their knowledge and attendees learnt about forecasts for the global meeting and events industries in 2020, and how digital transformation is impacting the industry.
In addition to the launch of MICE Show Asia, ITB Asia 2019 also introduced the Buyers Elite Partner Programme. Forty one partners as part of the program provided a forum to develop stronger trade ties with recommended buyers and to maximize business opportunities together.
ITB Asia has announced that it will launch Travel Tech Asia in 2020. A complement to the existing ITB Asia and MICE Show Asia, it will be part of Asia Pacific’s largest travel trade show dedicated to travel technology. New buyers in charge of purchasing travel technology will be introduced to the latest innovations, emerging trends, leading industry brands and innovative startups that are gathered at one place to create new possibilities of travel. For more information, visit www.miceshowasia.com, www.traveltechasia.com,
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