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Here too: Quality before quantity

With the 2nd ITB Asia in Singapore, MICE moves into focus

ITB Asia 2009.  

Singapore/Berlin (November 6, 2009). "Yes, it was right to start up the ITB Asia." Dr Martin Buck, Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore) doesn''t regret the expensive decision to create an Asian offshoot of the world''s biggest tourism trade fair. The second time the event took place, this time in the Singapore Suntec Convention Centre, just two weeks ago, management were able to show good results in spite of the economic crisis. On closer inspection though, movements on the market are reflected - as they are everywhere. The hotel industry was accordingly less well represented. Those taking part, however, praised the high quality of the meetings. In 2010, the trade fair organisers intend to return to growth.

"The hotel industry wasn''t represented quite as strongly as last year," Martin Buck reports: Large chains were forced to make savings as their budgets were cut or even stayed away altogether – as was the case with Starwood Hotels. All the same, there was positive news: The luxury hotel chain Ritz-Carlton was represented in Singapore with a small stand – in contrast to the case in Berlin where the hotel company has said goodbye to the "masses"; Worldhotels and Moevenpick Hotels doubled their presence in the exhibition halls and Carlson Hotels'' presence at the stands grew by 50%.

Those there were generally "happy". This was also due to the fact that Messe Berlin has learnt much about hosted buyers since the premiere. Their number fell markedly by around 250 – and the Trade Fair selected strictly in accordance with quality criteria, the tight budget also helped here. Over half (54%) of buyers at the ITB Asia 2009 were travel leisure specialists, followed by planners in the MICE business (34%) and business travel agencies (approx. 10%). The majority of purchasers came, as to be expected, from Asia (56%). Europeans made up only 22%, though were considerably more numerous than the Americans (10%).

Asia with greater optimism

That the ITB Asia is seen as a "regional" springboard for the enormous Asian market is evident in the fact that seven national tourism organisations (NTO) extended their stand spaces. All in all, NTO representation grew by 10% on the previous year (currently 54 NTOs)

"In Asia, the mood is more strongly optimistic than in Europe or the USA," Martin Buck describes of the general atmosphere. And the desire to be able to look one''s business partner in the eyes is not only attributable to the Asian culture of politeness, but also to the crisis which has given "face-to-face" business a new significance. "The feedback to the second ITB Asia was better than for last year," the Trade Fair Director reports happily.

  ITB Pressekonferenz Ms Melissa Ow, Assistant Chief Executive, Business Travel & MICE Group, Singapore Tourism Board (STB); Mr Martin Buck, Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore); Whey Whey Ng, General Manager Messe Berlin (Singapore) (l.t.r.)
  Happy about the second ITB Asia : (from left) Melissa Ow, Assistant Chief Executive, Business Travel & MICE Group, Singapore Tourism Board; Martin Buck, Director Messe Berlin (Singapore) and Whey Whey Ng, General Manager Messe Berlin (Singapore).

Over 400 visitors also took the time to listen to the specialist lectures and discussions which were presented in parallel to the trade fair in the "Web in Travel Ideas Lab". Above all, younger guests from the travel agency branch took an interest in "online" ideas.

The organisers won especial praise for their MICE focus. In contrast to the case in Europe, many Asian organisers operate both in the leisure as well as in the MICE sectors. For this reason, the ITB Asia will next year launch a two-day "Associations Programme @ ITB Asia 2010". This initiative is a joint project with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the Centre for Association Leadership, Suntec Singapore and other international experts and is also a first in Asia. The event is to put together an attractive offer with agreed discussions topics by exhibitors and association representatives and an interesting lecture programme for exhibitors from congress centres, resorts, hotels, professional conference organisers (OCOs), destination management companies (DMCs), solution providers as well as convention and visiotr bureaus (CVBs) from the Asian region. "This will create new added value for our visitors," Buck says.

The first new idea for ITB Asia 2010 has thus been born. Despite all its modesty and caution in light of the economic crisis, all signals are lit up "green". / map

Oct 30, 2009 Successful for the second time: ITB Asia to establish itself



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