7 questions with… Alison Gilmore
LATTE chats with Alison Gilmore, director – The ILTM Collection, about its recent changes, innovations and new events, and the changing landscape of luxury tourism.
1. Alison, can you tell us a bit more about the ILTM Collection?
The ILTM Collection provides the luxury travel industry with platforms to do business and build relationships. Each event invites individual regional travel advisors, agents and planners looking to create private leisure itineraries for their clients.
Alongside the global flagship events in Cannes and Asia Pacific, ILTM has four core local events; ILTM North America, ILTM Arabia, ILTM China and ILTM Latin America, as well as two specialist inbound events: ILTM Africa and ILTM Japan.
The ILTM brand is also providing knowledge, not only through experiences on the show floor created by every individual exhibitor, but also through thought leaders who provide analysis, research, opinions and trends either at the ILTM Opening Forum or through individual reports available to every one of our attendees.
2. Tell us more about your new event ILTM Asia Pacific?
These are two new dynamic events dedicated to their own audiences: ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 21 – 24 May, welcoming luxury travel buyers and agents from 21 countries across the region and ILTM China in Shanghai, 31 October – 2 November 2018, welcoming exclusively Chinese buyers.
ILTM Asia Pacific in the modern, efficient city of Singapore will be international in look and feel and 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.
3. In addition, can you tell us more about ILTM China?
ILTM China 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.
4. And what about the two specialist inbound events: ILTM Japan and ILTM Africa?
All of the events within the ILTM Collection are open to global luxury travel brands. But ILTM Japan (26 – 28 February 2018 in Tokyo) and ILTM Africa (15 – 17 April 2018 in Cape Town) are platform for brands from within these specific countries to meet with international buyers. Ideal for either Japanese or African travel specialists from across the world to understand more about the region as well as research and visit new properties in each region.
For ILTM Japan, the 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 visitors, particularly as the Japanese experience combines both the modern and the traditional concepts of
Africa is proving to be the growth story of the 21st century – the variety of beautiful locations available to the luxury traveller throughout the continent is huge. As more hotels are developed (5,000 new rooms in 210 new hotels are already planned to open in Africa by 2018), this story of success for African tourism is only going to continue.
5. And Travelweek Sao Paolo has now rebranded to become ILTM Latin America? How does this event differ from ILTM North America in Mexico?
In 2018 Travelweek Sao Paolo becomes ILTM Latin America, the event stays the same in format and location, and the dates will be 8 -11 May. The change of name brings the event into the portfolio brand with its name now clearly highlighted as an ILTM event and it also identifies the region that it supports, the 15 key Latin American source markets. This name change does not in anyway change or affect ILTM North America in Riviera Maya – which is an event for international luxury travel brands and experiences who are looking to connect with front line buyers and agents from Mexico, Canada and the US.
6. How do you think luxury tourism has changed in the last 10 years?
We are now immersed in a world of ‘transformational travel’ – the biggest change in luxury travel since the dawn of the boutique hotel in the 1980s.
Travellers are now questioning their own sets of values and looking for travel experiences that deliver simplicity, mindfulness and transformation.
Today, it’s not enough for luxury brands to focus on demographics – ‘psychographics’ are what is defining luxury tourism today. In 2017 and beyond, luxury travel brands must be able to adapt to their customers’ personalities and needs in order to win their loyalty, love and ultimately their ongoing business.
7. And finally, what defines a luxury travel experience for you?
Three words: culture, cuisine and customisation! Like many luxury travellers, I really welcome the opportunity to learn something new; perhaps about cultural heritage or local arts or luxury products that showcase traditions and techniques.
At the same time, cuisine is key. Whether in taking local cooking classes, using a culinary experience as a trip theme (as in wine region tourism), or dining at finerestaurants around the world, cuisine is a priority of the luxury travel currency.
And lastly but definitely not least, customisation allows luxury travellers to orchestrate their own unique travel experiences, which is key to the luxury traveller today. The more choices luxury travellers are allowed and the greater the support given in making these choices, the better the experience – a strong incentive to entice repeat business.
For further information on taking part in any ILTM event, please see www.iltm.com