Four days, 70,000 meetings, 6,000 industry professionals, over 100 VIP media, 1,885 exhibitors, 1,850 buyers and countless networking events – that was ILTM Cannes 2019, held last week in the French Riviera.
As ILTM heads towards its 20th anniversary (2021) and the new decade, this year’s edition hit the spot for everyone who contributes to a high net worth travel industry worth billions of dollars.
“It’s one of our favourite shows,” said Sean Taylor of Black Tomato. “It’s the greatest collection of hospitality executives that gather under one roof, it really is,” added Farhad Heydari of AMEX Magazines (Centurion, Departures, Netjets).
“It’s the most premium you can find,” said Nini Anderson, of new exhibitor Villa Copenhagen.
And Roger Kershaw of Canada’s Custom Travel Inc who has been attending as a hosted buyer for 13 years added, “There are always so many serendipitous moments”.
More than 70,000 meetings took place over three days, and an incalculable number of additional networking events were held after hours in Cannes, contributing to even more business. As always, Cannes’ main drag, La Croisette, became the venues for parties, entertainment, award ceremonies, The Travel and Leisure Women in Travel breakfast, The ILTM official party, and many more individual social gatherings for exhibitors and buyers alike. The hub of the show – Le Palais des Festivals et des Congrès hosted the event itself and its opening session, the Global Forum.
ILTM Cannes also hosted over 70 of the world’s most influential travel editors from publications that are the voice of luxury travel to their high-net-worth readers around the world. Other VIP media attended independently. Exhibitors are given the opportunity to brief them through speed networking and briefings plus one-to-one meetings organised over the course of the week.
Winston Chesterfield of Barton Consulting presented at this year’s Leaders Lunch where some 50 industry CEOs met to hear how the ecosystem of travel is a new way of covering everything about travel that is not lodging and transport. The WealthX report highlighted how the total spend on activities, food, drink and entertainment is some $1.54 trillion a year and concluded that if luxury travel were a country, its value would mean it would be within the world’s top 15 economies.
The ecosystem of travel developed into the theme of this year’s event, with participants showing how sustainability, conscious travel, culture, and the environment take front of stage for most luxury travel brands and also the traveller into the new decade. Albert Herrera, SVP Global Product Partnerships at Virtuoso Travel, presented their trends to the media, showing that in general 48% of their clients rate preserving natural and cultural heritage as important, 39% want experiences that benefit local people and the economy and 41% expect to adopt environmentally friendly practices. Top of ‘what matters to travellers’ is culture, accommodation, food, new experiences and activities/atmosphere.
Michelle Woodley, President of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, expanded on how important ILTM is to its business year-on-year. “We have been coming to ILTM for more than 15 years, and every year we have more and more demand from our hotels to attend. But the reason we really like to be there is that it’s a great place to see a lot of buyers from around the world, I’m always really surprised at how many buyers outside of the European region come to this show”.
As part of the conscious travel theme, this year’s RETREAT on the show floor created a respite area for participants to experience to seek some down time which ranged from a Six Senses massage to a SHA Wellness brain analysis, Yoga Nidra offered instantaneous deep rest and relaxation and Canyon Ranch presented relaxing reiki and there was also an excellent sports physicist to help get people moving.
Denise Bruzzone of Canyon Ranch in the US said, “It was our first time here and we wanted to capture the worldwide appetite for wellness. I was really surprised by the number of buyers especially from new markets for us, specifically the US, France and Spain.”
Paul Dhadda of Exquisite Travel Group in the US attended ILTM as a buyer and tried several sessions; “You never get a chance to reset yourself during an exhibition such as this, you are up late at night and early in the morning, so I came here and picked up a few tips and a little recovery – it was an amazing opportunity. I had my spine re-aligned by a specialist and was given tips on how to stretch more. I felt a sense of calmness after the session, so I am good to go again back to the show floor”.
Alison Gilmore, Portfolio Director of the ILTM Portfolio concluded: “The overwhelming support from the industry for ILTM demonstrates the real value of the show for luxury travel business. We are already looking forward to ILTM Cannes 2020 and a new decade of continuing to work with our partners and support their business opportunities, business growth and ultimately their business relationships.”
ILTM Cannes 2020 takes place 7-10 December and other events in the portfolio next year are:
- ILTM Africa, Cape Town, 4-6 April 2020
- ILTM Arabia, Dubai, 20-21 April 2020
- ILTM Latin America, Sao Paulo, 5-8 May 2020
- ILTM Asia Pacific, Singapore, 18-21 May 2020
- ILTM North America, Riviera Maya, Mexico, 21-24 September 2020
- ILTM China, Shanghai, 28-30 October 2020
For further information, see www.iltm.com
All images featured are from the ILTM Cannes Facebook posts.