The 2009 edition of ITB Asia opened on Wednesday in Singapore, amid increased travel industry belief that the worst of the global recession is over and that there are real prospects for travel industry growth in 2010.
The three day B2B show launched a year ago and the second edition of ITB Asia has this year maintained a growth trajectory despite recent economic challenges.
“This year, I’m happy to say ITB Asia has broadly maintained its size,” said Mr Raimund Hosch, CEO of Messe Berlin. “We exceeded our targets with the inaugural show last year. To effectively maintain that benchmark is a strong achievement given the operating environment. It is time now to plan for new travel industry growth.”
Mr Hosch reported that ITB Asia 2009 features 679 exhibitor organizations from 60 countries. The exhibitors will engage with 553 vetted quality buyers from 50 countries. Nearly 18,000 buyer-seller appointments have been scheduled.
In addition, 1,144 trade visitors have registered online and some 130 journalists have pre-registered.
Mr Hosch said “This year the quality of buyers has been of paramount importance to us. That’s why in April we appointed Ms Siti Banding as our Assistant Director – Buyers Programme. All indications are that Siti and the ITB Asia team have done a great job in attracting even higher quality buyers compared to last year.”
The 2009 edition of ITB Asia has a greater preponderance of Asian buyers compared to last year. In part this is due to Asian economies doing better than economies in Europe and North America.
Mr Hosch said, “Showcasing global travel products to Asian buyers is the core value proposition of ITB Asia. Soft economies in Europe and North America have made ITB Asia more of an Asian show this year.”
Other trends are apparent this year. Many exhibitors have chosen to book space in their respective NTO pavilion. There are 54 national tourism offices, a 10% increase over last year. Nearly 43% of exhibitors are accommodation related. Tour operators and travel agencies make up 31%.