ITB Asia opened its doors on 21 October at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
The three-day event kicked-off with a number of powerful keynote panels discussing key trends and opportunities that will shape the future of the travel industry.
At the opening panel represented by industry heavyweights including Expedia, Airbnb and the World Tourism & Travel Council (WTTC), personalisation, innovation and technology were cited as some of the leading industry growth drivers.
“Mobile is the new default. More than 1 in 4 of our global transactions on Hotels.com in Q2 was booked on a mobile device and we are investing in technology to enable our hotel partners to reach travellers in the way that they want to shop. The speed of innovation is faster than ever and the industry needs to focus on being nimble,” said Mieke De Schepper, Vice President, APAC the Expedia Group.
“The number of travellers looking for a local experience and staying in an Airbnb when they travel across Asia has grown by almost 400% in the last year alone. A growing number of these bookings are now made on mobile devices, a 60 times increase as compared to 2013, when the app was first introduced. Our success in the region would not be possible without a growing community of hosts in this part of the world who share their homes which has become a part of their lifestyle.” said Julian Persaud, Regional Director for APAC, Airbnb, Inc.
“ITB Asia is a platform where the travel industry comes together to create, build and introduce new ideas. We understand the importance of keeping our delegates one step ahead and it is gratifying to have attracted the best-in-class who will share more details on overcoming obstacles and forging successes to grow in this market. With more than 150 forward-thinking speakers of the highest calibre providing visionary keynotes, insightful discussions and experience-led case studies, we aim to help delegates navigate into the next level of their businesses,” said Christian Göke, CEO Messe Berlin, organiser of ITB Asia.
WTTC expects the strongest growth in international tourist arrivals in 2015 to come from Asia and the Pacific regions and adds that companies looking to penetrate these markets even further should focus on individualisation and innovation.
“Today the tourism industry needs to cater to a great diversity of traveller types as people seek individual and personalised experiences. The growing Asian middle class with its varied travel requirements provides great opportunities for travel and tourism. Thus, the industry needs to stay innovative making use of the latest travel technology and the opportunities provided by digitalization. Products and services need to be available online, even bookable via mobile devises and the tourism industry has to actively engage in social media and stay in touch with travellers throughout the customer journey. Further, it is of outmost importance to be able to collect information and to utilize the aggregated data to tailor products to customer needs.” Dr Michael Frenzel, Chairman, WTTC said.
This year’s ITB Asia attracted close to 760 exhibitors from 73 countries, as well almost 880 buyers including a significant increase in participation from Asia. The show is now in its eighth year and sees a strong presence from the Philippines, who have increased their booth space by nearly 70% as well as Finland, Egypt, Argentina and India. It also welcomes newcomers including Iceland, Laos, Azerbaijan, Lithuania and Portugal.