ITB Asia opens in Singapore with confident outlook for travel industry

SINGAPORE: ITB Asia 2010 opened here today with the travel industry in Asia looking confident again and enjoying strong growth in leisure, meetings and corporate travel.

Exhibitor numbers at the travel show organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore) was up 6.0% compared with 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 Raimund Hosch, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin.

Malaysia’s travel industry players such as YTL Hotels, Sunway Hotels and Resorts, Pulai Springs Resort, Sarawak and Sabah Tourism Boards, are also making their presence felt at the three-day B2B (business to business) annual travel show.

Hosch said there was an increase in demand for floor space in this year’s travel show and more companies were positioning themselves to get a bigger part of business meetings within the travel industry.

He told a press conference that the show this year was characterised by five themes, namely, exhibitor growth, better quality buyers, a much greater MICE (meetings) industry profile, the importance of Egypt as a partner country, and other travel events to start up alongside ITB Asia.

Melissa Ow, Assistant Chief Executive of the Singapore Tourism Board said with the continued development of Asia Pacific as a destination and a thriving outbound market, much of the world’s travel and tourism growth was occurring in this region.

ITB Asia 2010 has attracted 720 exhibitor organisations from 60 countries, the same number as last year.

New attendees this year include the Moscow Exhibition and Convention Agency, Israel, the Korean National Tourism Organisation, 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.

One outcome is that the percentage of MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) travel buyers at ITB Asia this year has increased from 32 per cent to 43 per cent, the organiser said.

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 until 2013.

Speaking at the opening of ITB Asia 2010 today, the show’s Executive Director, 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.– Bernama
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