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ITB Asia 2009 Opens in Singapore

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Send to Friend ASIA Travel Tips.com Latest Travel News Thursday, 22 October 2009

(video below) The 2009 edition of ITB Asia opened on Wednesday in Singapore, amid increased travel industry belief that the worst of the global recession is over and that there are real prospects for travel industry growth in 2010.

The three day B2B show organized by Messe Berlin (Singapore) positions itself as “The Trade Show for the Asian Travel Market”. Launched a year ago, the second edition of ITB Asia has this year maintained a growth trajectory despite recent economic challenges.

“This year, I’m happy to say ITB Asia has broadly maintained its size,” said Mr Raimund Hosch, CEO of Messe Berlin. “We exceeded our targets with the inaugural show last year. To effectively maintain that benchmark is a strong achievement given the operating environment. It is time now to plan for new travel industry growth.”

Exhibitors from 60 Countries

Mr Hosch reported that ITB Asia 2009 features 679 exhibitor organizations from 60 countries. The exhibitors will engage with 553 vetted quality buyers from 50 countries. Nearly 18,000 buyer-seller appointments have been scheduled.

In addition, 1,144 trade visitors have registered online and some 130 journalists have pre-registered.

ITB Asia will report the final number of trade visitors on Friday, 23 October.

Mr Hosch said “This year the quality of buyers has been of paramount importance to us. That’s why in April we appointed Ms Siti Banding as our Assistant Director – Buyers Programme. All indications are that Siti and the ITB Asia team have done a great job in attracting even higher quality buyers compared to last year.”

The 2009 edition of ITB Asia has a greater preponderance of Asian buyers compared to last year. In part this is due to Asian economies doing better than economies in Europe and North America.

Mr Hosch said, “Showcasing global travel products to Asian buyers is the core value proposition of ITB Asia. Soft economies in Europe and North America have made ITB Asia more of an Asian show this year.”

Other trends are apparent this year. Many exhibitors have chosen to book space in their respective NTO pavilion. There are 54 national tourism offices, a 10% increase over last year.

Exhibitors at ITB Asia 2009 represent the leisure, MICE, and corporate travel segments of the travel industry. The show this year includes 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.

Nearly 43% of exhibitors are accommodation related. Tour operators and travel agencies make up 31%. Tourism organisations and associations are 10%.

Strong Strategic Support from Singapore

ITB Asia, taking place at the Suntec Singapore Exhibition and Convention Centre, is supported by the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, a division of Singapore Tourism Board.

Ms Melissa Ow, Assistant Chief Executive, Business Travel & MICE Group, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said, “ITB Asia is well on track to becoming a strategic networking platform and vibrant marketplace for Asia’s travel industry, evidenced by the sell-out of its exhibition space despite a challenging global business climate. Over the years, STB has cultivated a close partnership with Messe Berlin and we share the common vision of establishing ITB Asia as the region’s leading tourism tradeshow.

“We are confident that ITB Asia will successfully harness Singapore’s strategic connectivity, pro-business environment and robust economic sectors, as well as strong fundamentals as an award-winning business events destination, to capitalize on the exponential growth potential of the Asia-Pacific travel trade industry and enhance its size and stature in the years to come.”

Travel Technology, Marketing and Distribution Trends Explored

As last year, ITB Asia’s partner event, Web In Travel (WIT) is taking place alongside ITB Asia at Suntec. Special price tickets have again been made available for travel professionals attending both shows.

“Web In Travel is Asia’s leading travel technology, distribution and marketing interactive forum,” said Dr Martin Buck, Vice President of Messe Berlin. “We therefore took the strategic decision to entrust ITB’s thought provoking ‘convention’ element to Web In Travel. WIT delivers a uniquely Asian perspective on travel technology matters. This fits well with our overall ITB Asia objectives.”

This year’s Web In Travel has the theme “Tough Love”. ITB Asia attendees who attend WIT will gain unique insights at sessions entitled, “Taming the Social Media Beast”, “Is Content Really King or Is It All About Price?” and “Positioning Your Business for the Recovery,” to name just some of the sessions.

A Platform for Responsible Tourism

In a new development, ITB Asia and partners will hold a responsible tourism networking event today, 22 October. The objective is to share experiences and strengthen contacts and business opportunities between environmentally and socially responsible travel operators.

The event is a continuation of the responsible tourism networking event supported by Messe Berlin during ITB Berlin in March and at the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE) in New Delhi in April. The responsible travel event at ITB Asia is being co-organised by The Blue Yonder, Traveltocare.com and Wild Asia.

“Our objective is to show tourism operators how easy it is to implement practical measures,” said Dr Buck. “Tourism operators can now easily find out more about the many initiatives that are ready to use. These best practice measures help the environment, boost a company’s credibility and save money in the long run.”

ITB Asia has also worked with responsible operators to create the Responsible Tourism Centre at ITB Asia. The centre is an 18 square metre booth on the ITB Asia show floor made from recycled and reusable material walls, carpets and signage boards. The centre – booth number S01 – is being manned by experienced representatives from groups and associations dealing with responsible tourism in Asia. The centre is a resource and contact point for all ITB Asia attendees interested in becoming more responsible in their tourism practices.

Continued Support for SMEs in Asian Travel

Financial and economic challenges of the past year have had a significant impact on Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Asia’s travel sector. An ITB Asia-sponsored survey of developments over the past year concludes that SMEs specifically in the travel and tourism sector of the national economies are neither getting their fair share of the assistance, nor are they mounting a strong case to get the assistance they deserve.

To be released at ITB Asia 2009, the report shows that SMEs urgently need to find ways to work more closely with each other, identify their specific requirements for assistance, press their case more strongly, create more networking opportunities, and underscore their importance to both national economies and ecological sustainability.

The report will be presented by Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire at: Room 204 at Suntec Level 2 on 23 October, 2pm to 3pm.

Mobile Innovation at ITB Asia

Visitors to this year’s ITB Asia can download a free guide to the show on their mobile phones. The first ITB Asia Mobile Guide 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 easier for ITB Asia visitors to find their way around the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The ITB Asia Mobile Guide also contains the programme of Web In Travel 2009, and a list of ITB Asia events, presentations and receptions. The app can be easily downloaded onto many commonly available mobile phones at www.itb-asia.com/mobile (charges for downloading may apply - especially roaming etc).

Positive Outlook from the CEO

Messe Berlin CEO, Mr Raimund Hosch, said that ups and downs in the global economy were only to be expected.

“We’ve seen them all at ITB Berlin over the last 40-plus years,” he said. “Importantly, if you are a strong, well respected brand, an established brand, such as ITB, you can survive the choppy waters of global economics. We have done just that with ITB Asia 2009. And the news is getting better every day. The resilient travel industry is once again preparing for new growth. ITB Asia is here to help that process along.”

He said that in a very short time, ITB Asia had quickly established itself in Asia as a reliable brand. The show has grown to become twice the size of its nearest travel trade competitors in the region.

“This is what happens when you join part of an established brand that is positive about its future direction,” he said.

NOTICE: The entire ITB Asia 2009 opening press conference (as well as almost every other press conference and the opening ceremony) will soon be featured on ASIA Travel Tips.com in Full HD format. Do check back.

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