"The record number of exhibitors this year and the expected number of visitors will provide our show with even more diversity, and is strong proof that the travel industry in Asia is well-poised for growth despite all obstacles. For everyone in the travel industry, ITB Asia 2011 is definitely the place to be," said Raimund Hosch, CEO, Messe Berlin.
ITB Asia 2011 opened today and will be held at Suntec Singapore until this Friday, 21 October. The show completely sold out four months ahead with around 20% of exhibitors booking larger booths this year. The three-day travel trade show also saw record numbers of over 750 exhibitors representing over 70 countries around the world such as Botswana, Finland, Croatia and even Iraq, as well as many first-time exhibitors including official partner hotel Hilton Worldwide.
"The strong exhibitor showing this year demonstrates the event’s growing importance and enhanced international appeal. It is also a validation from our partners that ITB Asia is indeed an effective and critical platform for marketing, networking and learning all about the Asian travel market,” added Nino Gruettke, Executive Director of ITB Asia.
“As an anchor event in TravelRave, we are excited to see ITB Asia return to Singapore in 2011 for its fourth consecutive edition. We are also pleased to see ITB Asia, bolstered by strong support from industry players, strengthen its roots in Asia with an even broader suite of conferences, seminars, panel discussions and workshops. In this way, apart from being the Asian tradeshow and marketplace for global travel products, ITB Asia also functions as a valuable knowledge exchange for the industry, embodying what TravelRave stands for,” said Melissa Ow, Assistant Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board.
Setting the tone for the event at ITB Asia 2011’s official opening press conference, Hosch also reiterated some of the regional industry’s most impressive achievements.
"The Asia Pacific travel sector has been put under the spotlight in recent years as the economic downturn and devastating natural disasters made major waves in the regional industry landscape,” said Hosch.
“The March 11 earthquake, for example, kept all eyes on Japan this year. But the country displayed amazing resilience during this period, and recent reports on hotel rates, occupancy levels and other indicators show how quickly the nation has bounced back just a few months after the tragedy. We are very honoured to support them as our official partner country this year,” added Hosch.
According to statistics from the Japan National Tourism Organisation, while post-earthquake foreign visitor numbers to Japan fell by almost 40% in a month, the figure has been steadily increasing, returning close to pre-disaster levels in just six months. Over 3.3 million travellers visited Japan between January and July this year, pointing to a strong recovery being underway.
According to travel industry research authority PhoCusWright, Japan has one of the highest online travel penetrations in Asia Pacific with online travel playing a key role in the country’s recovery.
Newly released figures from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) also indicated the strength and potential of the Asian travel industry.
“UNWTO is pleased to be a long-time partner of ITB. ITB has created a unique platform for the tourism sector in Europe and is now building the same success here in Asia in the scope of TravelRave, an innovative initiative fostering tourism potential in this region. UNWTO just released long term forecast Tourism Towards 2030, showing that we will reach 1.8 billion international tourists worldwide by the year 2030 and that Asia will be the region to gain the most of the new arrivals. This is definitely the place to be for businesses and destinations and ITB Asia is leading the way, “said Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, UNWTO.
ITB Asia 2011 expects to attract over 6,000 visitors representing the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) sector, leisure and corporate travel markets. The show is also a partner event of TravelRave, a mega travel and tourism festival week organised by the Singapore Tourism Board.
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