Asia Pacific is set to continue to lead as the world’s fastest-growing travel region next year, reaching US$357 billion, a 64% increase over 2009, according to a study released today at ITB Asia by industry research authority, PhoCusWright.
ITB Asia, “The Trade Show for the Asian Travel Market,” now in its fifth year, opened today and will be held until Friday, October 19 The Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
“Asia Pacific is definitely one of the growth engines driving global tourism, and at this year’s show we’re seeing exhibitors from as far as South America and South Africa which confirms the optimism they share for this region,” said Dr. Martin Buck, Vice President, Messe Berlin (Singapore), organizer of ITB Asia.
“This year will be the largest ITB Asia show to date, and we’re seeing a double-digit growth in all segments of the show. We have 865 exhibiting companies from 72 countries, which is a 15% increase from 2011, and about a 13% and 17% rise in gross and net floor space, respectively, compared to last year. We also have over 3,720 minutes of conference content to be delivered this year, which is around 24% up from 2011. It is without a doubt that ITB Asia has clearly established itself as the strategic gateway for the global travel trade to reach out to this region,” added Dr. Buck.
ITB Asia 2012 completely sold out five months ahead of the event even after the increase in floor space. The top four industry sectors representing the show this year include hotels and resorts, tour operators and travel agencies, tourism organizations and associations, as well as business travel and MICE.
“Indeed with Asia fueling the growth in global tourism, there is no better time to focus our efforts on this region. In order for tourism businesses to leverage this growth, it is necessary to gain a deeper understanding of the breadth and diversity of Asian travelers. We believe that ITB Asia, along with the complementary events under TravelRave, will provide the much-needed Asian centered insights that will help businesses reach the fast-growing source markets within Asia,” said Neeta Lachmandas, Assistant Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board.
According to the PhoCusWright-ITB Asia study, Asia Pacific’s travel market will maintain high single-digit growth at 9% and 8% in 2012 and 2013, respectively, with offline distribution still accounting for a majority of regional travel sales.
“Wholesalers and traditional travel retailers continue to serve a large segment of leisure travel demand as travelers in many markets prefer buying tour packages and completing transactions offline, especially for more complex international travel,” said Chetan Kapoor, Research Analyst – Asia Pacific, PhoCusWright.
“But travelers are steadily shifting to the Internet in search of price transparency, variety, information, and convenience, and demand for independent travel is also on the rise,” explained Kapoor.
The study also states that China’s slowing but growing economy, surging consumer travel demand, and double-digit gains across all travel segments will push the country ahead of Japan to make it the region’s largest travel market by 2013. China’s travel gross bookings are expected to nearly double in the next few years, from US$54.8 billion in 2009 to US$105.5 billion in 2013.
“Asia is the single biggest driver of the growth in the global travel and tourism industry. While other regions are growing sluggishly, Asia leaps ahead. WTTC is forecasting growth for the overall region of almost 6% in 2012, triple the growth of Europe. There are variations within the region, with strength in China, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines compensating for weaker growth in Thailand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, but the overall picture is one of dramatic growth over both the short term and long term,” said David Scowsill, President&CEO, World Travel&Tourism Council (WTTC).
At the epicenter of the booming Asian travel market, ITB Asia has assembled a record conference program line-up, bringing in speakers who are at the top of their respective industries to deliver the latest knowledge and insights to capitalize on these trends.
This year, the show has forged new partnerships with leading travel industry experts representing UNWTO, MCI, National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS), Panacea Publishing Asia, Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), Asia Cruise Association (ACA), Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), the BBC, and strengthened existing programs with WTTC, PhoCusWright, TTG Asia Media, and Web In Travel, delivering over 3,700 minutes of high-quality content altogether.
ITB Asia has also launched a new strategic initiative this year, Future Leaders, to help attract and groom talent. Taking place on Friday, October 19, the inaugural event aims to bring together eminent business leaders from the industry and over 100 of Singapore’s brightest sparks to provide a strategic solution to the industry’s manpower needs.
In partnership with the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers (SACEOS), the invitation-only event will target the top 10% of travel, tourism, and hospitality students from Singapore’s five polytechnics. With support from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in attracting high-achieving business leaders, the event aims to raise the caliber of individuals who already have a keen interest in the industry and in doing so, develop and even secure the next generation of talent.
ITB Asia 2012 is expected to attract over 7,500 attendees from over 90 countries and is also a partner event of TravelRave, Asia’s most influential travel trade festival organized by the Singapore Tourism Board.