Alison, what was behind the decision to split ILTM Asia?
We undertook research with our clients and it showed some key changes to the way the industry views both China and Asia Pacific. Both regions are growing so fast that the luxury travel industry is separating their current and future business plans and marketing plans to focus on China and Asia Pacific as two independent strategies and opportunities. As a result of what we learned we will now deliver exactly that, two dynamic events dedicated to their own audiences. ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 21 – 24 May and ILTM China in Shanghai, 31 October – 2 November 2018.
You mention that the new event, ILTM Asia Pacific (taking place 21 – 24 May, 2018 at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel) will be more like the Cannes event – how so?
Similar to ILTM Cannes, the event in Singapore will be international in look and feel – the one key difference though will be that the majority of buyers will be from the Asia Pacific region. Another similarity to Cannes is the Marina location with its 3.5km of waterfront promenade and giving the show a community feel with everyone being in one place at the same time just like Cannes where the hub of the show spills out into the streets at lunch and after hours, with the partner hotels playing a key part in providing a social place to meet.
At the same time, Singapore is a beautiful green city, modern and efficient with a multi-cultural diversity that lends itself to some great venues for networking events so we will have some fun with creating and delivering a similar social scene as we do at ILTM Cannes. But, it will be influenced by this modern city that is so famous for its history, beauty, values and traditions - Singapore really can deliver the very best of mixing business with pleasure!
What were the other cities in the running to host the event?
We have had RFP’s from several Asian countries, all of which were keen to collaborate with ILTM, however Singapore delivered not only the best proposal but it’s significance as Asia’s gateway city with one of the world’s award winning airports made it so appealing. Changi Airport serves more than 100 airlines flying to some 380 cities in about 90 countries worldwide equally the City’s excellent infrastructure enables visitors to enjoy its sites and attractions in a safe, clean and efficient subway system as well as public transport and walkways connecting everything.
ILTM China will still take place in Shanghai (31 October – 2 November) but will it be more bespoke event with one-to-one pre-scheduled appointments, similar to other ILTM events in Japan, Africa and Dubai?
ILTM China will indeed remain in Shanghai and be repositioned specifically to bring Chinese luxury travel planners and buyers to meet with international exhibitors of luxury products and services. This event is key to every luxury travel supplier who wants to remain focused on the continually growing outbound market. Every year we see a big increase in the number of Chinese luxury travel planners wanting to attend ILTM and with this new style of event we can now increase our number of buyers dramatically. There will be no overlap of Chinese buyers with any other ILTM event so every exhibitor can rely on 100% assurance that their participation will deliver on their business objectives and return on investment.
ILTM China will be similar in look and feel to this year’s ILTM Asia, it will remain in the same venue in Shanghai and exhibitors will be able to exhibit as always with their own individual stands. Every ILTM event is driven by the pre-scheduled appointment system where both buyer and seller choose who they want to meet with, and this will remain for ILTM China. The one key difference of this event in 2018 will be that it focuses purely on bringing only Chinese buyers, providing a dedicated show for this growing outbound luxury travel market.
Given the incredible growth in the country, is there a chance we may see more than one China event?
For now Shanghai is the venue, but of course, the buyer community will come from every part of China reflecting the growth of individuals looking to find the most unusual experiences for their private leisure travel plans.
It’s not the only change to the Asia portfolio – ILTM Japan (Tokyo, 26 – 28 February 2018) will now become an inbound event – can you explain why?
The key reason is that Japan’s inbound market has hit a record high, with a 21% growth in the first quarter of this year alone from neighbouring Asian nations. A combination of the relaxation in visa restrictions, the impending Rugby World Cup, the Olympics in 2020 and the Winter Olympics has led the Japanese government to planning upgrades to airports and seaports, as well as improving access to national parks and cultural attractions – the inbound experience is only going to get better. The perceived simplicity of Japanese culture continues to be extremely appealing to those in the West, particularly as the Japanese experience combines both the modern and the traditional concepts of luxury.