MICE Travel Advisor talks with Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of ITB Asia, Travel Tech Asia and MICE Show Asia and shares with its readers about her experience of Asia’s largest travel trade show in 2022. She also emphasizes on sustainable tourism as a part of their future event plan.
After two grueling pandemic years, ITB Asia returns in its 15th year bringing together the industry players, their counterpart and clientele. So, how has been the experience of this year’s show? Please share the footfall statistics.
Katrina Leung: The success of the first in-person ITB Asia since the beginning of the pandemic signalled returning confidence amongst travel industry professionals. Over three days, Asia’s Leading Travel Trade Showrecorded over 27,000 business appointments and meetingsand has attracted over 80 National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) and Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East. Co-located with MICE Show Asia and Travel Tech Asia, the show covered the key verticals in the travel industry such as Leisure, MICE, Corporate, and Travel Technology.
From the virtual to hybrid, what changes would want our readers to know about ‘Asia’s Largest Travel Trade Show’?
Katrina Leung: ITB Asia has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, and we have taken the lessons learned from past virtualITB Asia shows and applied them to the physical show to provide a better overall experience for our customers both online and offline. For example, we provided an online business matchmaking platform that allowed attendees to make appointments in advance and schedule time to attend conferences and networking functions. Attendees with appointments had access to the business matching platform, which was designed to bring together attendees, buyers and exhibitors.
We are pleased to have once again provided the Asian travel industry with a global gathering space to forge new partnerships and strengthen existing business relationships with key players in the region. With three trade shows in one event, ITB Asia has become Asia’s largest travel trade show.
This year your theme was “Go Big & Go Forward: Travel Industry on the Road to Recovery and Growth” How did ITB Asia 2022 align with its chosen theme?
Katrina Leung: The conference theme reflected the revival of tourism in all countries around the world, which is positively impacting global travel demand in the APAC region and gaining momentum on the road to recovery. ITB Asia’s Conference once again proved to be the leading knowledge hub for travel executives seeking information and inspiration on the latest trends and developments in the travel industry.
This year’s conference sessions ended with over 3950 minutes of high-powered content over 100+ sessions where over 180 leading industry heavyweights and innovatorstalked about the future of travel. Prominent speakers included senior representatives from Agoda, Amadeus, Corporate Travel Management (CTM), Expedia Group, FCM Travel, IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG), International SOS, George P Johnson, Marriott International, Saudi Tourism Authority, Travelport and many more.
What have been the key discussions in this year’s show? Please share with our readers in details.
Katrina Leung: Industry experts and executives shared their thoughts and visions on “The Future of Travel,” “Emerging Trends,” and “Key Issues for the Travel Industry.” Discussions focused on what is happening in the travel, tourism and MICE markets in the Asia-Pacific region, and on finding strategies to move the industry forward, such as how travel and MICE companies can remain competitive and how they can now quickly leverage and maximize their growth potential created by various trends in specific industries.Travel technology also plays a crucial role in the travel industry. How technologies create meaningful connections between travel brands and customers to enable a seamless end-to-end customer journey was also one of the key discussions.
What is your chosen theme for next year’s show? Which areas in travel and tourism do you intend to highlight in ITB Asia 2023?
Katrina Leung: The theme of next year’s show will be released in 2023 as we are still in the initial phase of speaking to speakers and conference partners. Key pillars of focus are Business Travel, Travel Security, Cruise, Destination Marketing, Sustainable Tourism, Travel Technology, Adventure Travel, Halal Travel, Healthcare Tourism and Sports/ Special Interest Tourism.
Sustainability is a burning topic in the hospitality industry. Please share in details your plans for reinstating sustainability in your upcoming events.
Katrina Leung: Socially responsible tourism has been on our agenda for many years. Sustainability is definitely a key aspect of consideration and we work very closely with venue and local partners in addressing the demand for responsible business travel. Singapore has also launched a sustainable MICE destination roadmap which includes developing a set of sustainability standards by 2023 that the industry can readily apply. We look forward to working with STB, SACEOS and local venue/suppliers in achieving a more sustainable show.