ILTM UltraTravel Forum predicts future of luxury travel

ILTM UltraTravel Forum predicts future of luxury travel

The International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) 2011 opened in Cannes today preceded by the annual ILTM Ultratravel Forum which gave thousands of Hosted Buyers and exhibitors an economic insight into 2012, as well as hearing the views of industry leaders on the needs of a new generation of luxury travellers.  Last night’s ILTM Ultratravel Forum closed by honouring Isadore Sharp, Founder & Chairman of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts with the ILTM Lifetime Achievement Award.

During his live interview on stage with Graham Boynton, Group Managing Director of Telegraph Media Group, Mr Sharp commented:

“When we opened in 1970, our first key strategic decision was to try to be the best – quality, service, culture and brand are now the four pillars that define Four Seasons. We fly the flag of luxury by being innovators – not inventors.  We do things that differentiate and always keep an open mind.”

Mr Sharp’s interview followed that of John Andrews, Consultant Editor of the Economist who addressed ‘The World in 2012’.  In his predictions for the world economy in 2012 and beyond, he highlighted that China would overtake the US as the world’s largest importer by 2014 and they would also become the world’s largest outbound travel market in the same period. By the end of next year, some three fifths of the US export market will be purchased by emerging economies.

He went on to say that within the BRIC markets of Brazil and China, economies would grow by approximately 8% and Russia and India, by 4% in 2012 alone.

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His presentation was followed by trend forecasters The Future Laboratory - Chris Sanderson and James Wallman - who highlighted their specific research into luxury traveller lifestyle trends.  They predicted that the ‘New Luxurians’ of the future would not be interested in too much choice, realising that they themselves are the real curators of choice.  Luxury travel is key in this behavioural pattern. Chris commented:

“There is an enhanced sense of just being today’s luxury consumer rather than being surrounded by possessions.”

The ILTM Ultratravel Forum also featured a high profile panel debate discussing “Does the Luxury Travel industry meet the needs of a new generation of Luxury Travellers?” with panellists:

  Ellen Bettridge - Vice President of U.S. Retail Travel Network, American Express
  Justin Wateridge - Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent UK
  Hamish McVey – Head of Customer Experience and Innovation, British Airways
  Sir Rocco Forte - Chairman, Rocco Forte Hotels
  Jennifer Fox, President, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Trends and issues highlighted included the rise and rise of multigenerational travel, the importance of acting swiftly to manage the online brand reputation, the ongoing respect for a commitment to sustainability and how adding value via new and creative solutions is essential to stay ahead. Hamish McVey added:

“Luxury travellers today seek that precious resource of time – where else can one be ultimately un-contactable than on an 8 hour flight.”

ILTM showcases only the most prestigious of luxury travel products and experiences to the most discerning of international luxury travel buyers – confirming the importance the event plays in the luxury travel market calendar. The event ensures buyers of luxury travel can achieve what might take months of travel and research, in just four days of tailored networking at this exclusive event.

Simon Mayle, Marketing Manager said:

“ILTM 2011 features 49,214 appointments between 1265 luxury travel suppliers and 1268 high-end travel buyers - an increase of 4% year on year.  The event really does represent the positive future for luxury travel today.”

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