SINGAPORE – ITB Asia 2010 opened today in Singapore with the travel industry in Asia confident again and enjoying strong growth in leisure, meetings, and corporate travel.
Exhibitor numbers at the three-day B2B travel show organized by Messe Berlin (Singapore) are up 6 percent on last year, with growth in the travel industry reflecting much improved economic growth figures and demand in Asia.
“There is a real sense of new growth and consumer optimism once again in Asia,” said Mr Raimund Hosch, CEO of Messe Berlin. “At ITB Asia we can see that in increased demand for floor space and more companies positioning themselves to get a bigger part of meetings business within the travel industry,” he said.
Mr. Hosch told a press conference on the opening day of the third ITB Asia that the show this year was characterized by five themes: exhibitor growth, better quality buyers, a much greater MICE (meetings) industry profile, the importance of Egypt as a partner country, and the fact that ITB Asia, with its broad appeal to multiple sectors of the travel industry, was now attracting other travel events to start up alongside ITB Asia.
“With the continued development of Asia Pacific as a destination and a thriving outbound market, much of the world’s travel and tourism growth is occurring in this region,” said Ms. Melissa Ow, assistant chief executive, Industry Development II Group, Singapore Tourism Board. “This is an opportune time for the travel and tourism industry to seize the prospects offered by Asia’s vibrant economic growth. It gives us great pleasure to see ITB Asia broaden its influence and scope with the participation of new exhibitors and visitors this year. As the host destination, Singapore is proud to be a part of that growth.”
Reflecting renewed travel industry confidence, ITB Asia 2010 has attracted 720 exhibitor organizations. This represents a 6 percent increase on last year when there were 679 exhibitors. There is representation from 60 countries, the same number as last year.
This year, ITB Asia has attracted 62 national and regional government tourist organizations. This is up from 54 last year.
New attendees this year include the Moscow Exhibition and Convention Agency, Israel, the Korean National Tourism Organization, the Moroccan Government Tourist Office, the Nagasaki Prefecture Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Tourism Council of Bhutan, and the Tourism Administration of Guangdong Province in the People’s Republic of China.
On the aviation side, exhibitors include IATA, Qatar Airways, THAI Airways International, Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways, Vietnam Airlines, and LAN Airlines from Chile.
GREATER MICE APPEAL
The 2010 edition of ITB Asia has introduced Association Day, a first in Asia. The “day” includes special events, networking, and discussions spread over three days of ITB Asia. The objective is to empower the travel industry in Asia to attract more association events. These occur when professionals such as doctors, scientists, researchers, chemists, and insurance executives convene for their annual, bi-annual, or four-yearly association meetings.
Some 94 association and travel industry professionals have signed up for the inaugural Association Day at ITB Asia. Important association meeting organizations have combined to make Association Day a reality, including the International Congress and Convention Association, ASAE – The Center for Association Leadership, the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, and professional convention organizer, ace:daytons direct.
One outcome is that the percentage of MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) travel buyers at ITB Asia this year has increased from 32 percent to 43 percent.
IMPROVED TRAVEL BUYERS
This year, Messe Berlin (Singapore) management is emphasizing the advances in the quality control of its 580 hosted buyers at ITB Asia.
“The quality and relevance of buyer-seller interaction is the foundation of nearly everything we do at ITB Asia,” said Hosch. “Therefore, this year we introduced an even more stringent vetting system for buyers.”
He said that this year buyers had to be recommended either by exhibitors or by other established high-quality buyers who could vouch for the professionalism and relevance of the proposed hosted buyer.
Buyers who performed well at ITB Asia in 2008 and 2009 were also invited back. A staggered invitation process meant that a more balanced geographical market mix among buyers was achieved.
“I am very confident that ITB Asia exhibitors will appreciate the rigorous steps we have taken this year on our hosted buyer program,” said Hosch.
EGYPT AS OFFICIAL ITB ASIA 2010 PARTNER COUNTRY
For ITB Asia 2010, Egypt, which uses the tagline, “Where it all begins,” will be the official partner country. It will receive advanced and extensive branding and positioning before, during, and after the show.
The Egyptian delegation to ITB Asia is being led by Mr. Hisham Zaazou, First Assistant Minister, Ministry of Tourism. “Asian Markets are among the most favored tourism markets for Egypt, and we are always looking for opportunities to attract more tourists to the jewels of Egypt,” said Mr. Zaazou. “It is our pleasure to participate in large-scale events such as ITB Asia and promote Egypt as an emerging international holiday destination.”
Egypt will host Egypt Night on October 20 for all ITB Asia attendees. During ITB Asia, Egypt will promote specific elements of destination Egypt including Luxor as the “the world’s greatest open air museum,” the ruins and temple complexes at Karnak, and new luxury cruises on the River Nile on board the MS Darakum.
MORE EMPOWERED TRAVEL CONSUMERS
Web in Travel (WIT) 2010 – a large part of the new ideas and “conference” element of ITB Asia – has attracted over 350 attendees and 80 speakers this year. WIT represents the largest, most diverse, and highest-level gathering of travel industry professionals in the Asian travel distribution, marketing, and technology sector this year.
Speakers will assess a wide range of travel-related online, technology, and branding issues. Much of it will revolve around the empowered role of consumers using new mobile devices and applications to make travel decisions.
An intense two-day WIT conference, October 19-20, at Suntec Singapore will be preceded by specialist WIT activities, such as WITovation Entrepreneur Bootcamp (October 18), followed by the WIT Ideas Lab and WIT Clinics October 21-22, which ITB Asia attendees can join at no extra charge.
ITB ASIA’S SPECIALIST FORUMS, RELATED EVENTS
In his speech to mark the opening of ITB Asia 2010, Mr. Hosch told the assembled media and guests that after only three years, ITB Asia was becoming a “powerful nucleus” for other travel industry events.
He said specialist travel events such as Web in Travel, Association Day, the Luxury Meeting Forum, and the Responsible Tourism Forum were increasingly important events within ITB Asia and each had their own loyal following.
Mr. Hosch said: “Our partners at the Singapore Tourism Board have launched an innovative festival of tourism events this week and next called TravelRave. As part of TravelRave, some of the best minds in the travel business are at ITB Asia this week. Many of them are also participating in the Asia Travel Leaders Summit and Aviation Outlook Asia, both taking place this week in Singapore.”
He described ITB Asia as now being at the center of a “perfect storm” of travel events in Singapore.
SINGAPORE A STABLE PLATFORM FOR ITB ASIA
As part of its commitment to growing ITB Asia, Messe Berlin (Singapore) in September signed a new deal to keep ITB Asia in the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre for at least three more years – 2011 to 2013 inclusive.
Speaking at the opening of ITB Asia 2010 today, the show’s executive director, Mr. Nino Gruettke, said that the continued partnership would allow the travel industry in Asia to “lock-in” ITB Asia into its annual marketing schedules and give travel companies confidence to plan ahead.
“Furthermore, we have an excellent working relationship with [the] Suntec management team. They now anticipate many of our needs and requests. Plus, Singapore has great access and infrastructure for major travel business events,” he said.
In other show news, visitors to this year’s ITB Asia can download a free guide to the show on their mobile phones. After the success at last year’s ITB Asia, the ITB Asia Mobile Guide again offers the entire show at one’s fingertips, including a list of exhibitors, a floor plan, and information on press conferences and sightseeing in Singapore. The ITB Asia Mobile Guide, provided by GIATA & TOURIAS, will make it easy for ITB Asia visitors to find their way around Suntec. It contains the program of Web In Travel 2010, the Associations Day program, as well as a list of ITB Asia events, presentations, and receptions.
Summarizing ITB Asia 2010 on its opening day, Mr. Hosch said: “ITB Asia in only three years has grown to be more than twice the size of its long-established competitor events. We have a very effective team based in Asia and great partnerships with Singapore and beyond. As CEO of Messe Berlin, I am optimistic that ITB Asia will continue to grow and attract quality participants as the trade show for the Asian travel market.”
ABOUT ITB ASIA 2010
ITB Asia is taking place at the Suntec Singapore Exhibition & Convention Centre, October 20-22, 2010. It is organized by Messe Berlin (Singapore) Pte Ltd. and is supported by the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau. Egypt is the official partner country of ITB Asia 2010. The event features 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 corporate and MICE travel. ITB Asia 2010 includes exhibition pavilions and tabletop presence for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) providing travel services. 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 are all attending. At no extra charge, ITB Asia attendees can join the Web In Travel Ideas Lab and Clinics, October 21-22.