ITB Asia News 2019 Preview Edition



10 OCTOBER 2019


















Katrina Leung

Managing Director, Messe Berlin


Our conference sessions are

designed to get attendees to

rethink how they understand the

industry. See page 7


Taking nations to Asia

ITB Asia returns with highest ever number of

participating National Tourism Organisations

Demand from National and Regional

Tourism Organisations at this year’s ITB Asia

is up around 25% compared to 2018. There

has been unprecedented exhibition demand,

with 110 NTOs and RTOs registered at last

count; a new record. Largest exhibition

spaces registered are from Indonesia, Russia

and South Korea.

“NTOs and RTOs are the backbone for

creating established inbound and outbound

travel. The increased interest and high

confirmed demand for exhibition space from

NTOs and RTOs at ITB Asia 2019 affirms the

value associated with ITB Asia as the leading

travel trade show for Asia and beyond,” said

Katrina Leung, Managing Director, Messe

Berlin (Singapore), organiser of ITB Asia.

The growth in NTO participation comes at a

time when OTAs are also seeing increased

contact with these organisations when it

comes to winning the eyes of more potential

travellers, and the methods of OTAs are

evolving rapidly (see our exclusive interview

with Angel Llull Mancas, Vice President and

Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Booking.

com page 11).

Christopher Lee

Founder of

Our acquisition by hotelplanner.

com will definitely broaden our

canvas and we are really thrilled

about this partnership. See page 10





Angel Llull Mancas

Vice President and Managing Director,


Bahruz Hamzaev

Strategy Advisor to the State Committee for

Tourism Development, Uzbekistan

People from Malaysia and

Indonesia are increasingly attracted

to our country. See page 12

In the Americas, with growth

in inbound tourist figures

in the first half of 2019 at

2%, results improved in

the second quarter after a

weak start to the year. The

Caribbean (+11%) benefitted

from strong US demand

and continued to rebound

strongly from the impact of

hurricanes Irma and Maria in

late 2017, a challenge which

the region unfortunately faces

once again. Discover more

about leading players from

the Americas at ITB Asia this

year, from page 18.



Finding the


As travel distribution becomes

more complex in a challenging

market, with competition

coming from all angles, at

the same time there are

opportunities opening-up from

others. The industry players

opening the gates to success

will no doubt be those with

the most innovative strategies.

These strategies must be based

on a clear understanding of

industry trends, underlining the

vital nature of the keynotes and

conferences at ITB Asia.

The conference sessions this

year are set to deliver a series

of themes, including Corporate

Travel, Destination Marketing,

Muslim Travel and Travel

Technology. Attendees will have

the opportunity to experience

over 200 sessions led by more

than 260 speakers. Alongside

this event, ITB Asia 2019 will

share the Sands Expo and

Richard Barnes


Convention Centre at the Marina

Bay Sands with its inaugural

co-event, MICE Show Asia. At

MICE Show Asia, attendees will

get to hear about forecasts for

the global meeting and events

industries in 2020, and how the

industry is transforming.

Keynote sessions (outlined

on page 7) explore practical

applications for businesses to

keep pace with technological

developments in the travel

industry. In particular, the

Keynote session on Day Three

will also highlight evolving

opportunities presented by the

new Chinese traveller.

This exceptional knowledgebase,

an integral part of ITB

Asia, is a not-to-be-missed part

of your visit. The goal is to leave

with more (mental) baggage

than you arrived with – which is

okay, as it’s easy to carry!

New ideas…

new exhibitors…

It’s all about diversity. As with

other ITB shows, exhibitors at

ITB Asia 2019 are drawn from

a wide range of companies

and representatives from

travel agencies and operators,

business travel and MICE, travel

technology, accommodation,

and transport. The eleventh

edition of ITB Asia last year

saw more than 127 countries

represented, making this the most

international travel trade show in

the region. The show proved to be

an especially effective business

platform, with one in two buyers

signing contracts with exhibitors.

The strongest participation this

year comes from Asia, with

Southeast Asia well represented,

and newcomers Myanmar and

RTO, Jakarta, taking part. North

Asia will see an expanded South

Korean contingent with RTOs

from Gyeonggi, Jeju and Seoul

securing their own booths.

South Asia will also see a larger

presence as new exhibitors such

as Bhutan, the Maldives, and

Sri Lanka join the show, while

Central Asia is represented by

Uzbekistan which will be taking

part for the first time.

Europe has seen a 37.8% increase

in the number of exhibitors

buoyed by an increased interest

from Southern and Eastern

Europe. The Balkan states of

Macedonia, Montenegro and

Serbia will be taking part for the

first time along with the Czech

Republic and Estonia. Compared

to previous years, Hungary and

Russia will also bring larger

contingents. New RTOs from East

Bavaria, Franconia, Frankfurt and

Magdeburg will also be part of a

larger German contingent with

existing destinations like Berlin

and Saxony, present at ITB Asia


This year will see oneworld,

taking part as the Official Airline

Alliance for the first time.

The stunning growth in exhibitor

demand is fuelled by growth in

tourism globally. The UNWTO,

highlighted that tourism is one

of the most powerful drivers

of economic growth and

development. The predicted

target of 1.4 billion international

tourist arrivals by 2020 was

reached in 2018. The Asia-Pacific

region contributed 343 million

international tourist arrivals into

the region for 2018, a growth

of 6% compared to the previous



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ITB Asia show floor 2018

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019






ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019



A stellar line up

of industry giants

ITB Asia keynote sessions to explore ways to keep pace with

technological developments in the travel industry

Katrina Leung

Managing Director ,

Messe Berlin (Singapore)

Attendees during the Opening

Keynote at ITB Asia 2018

ITB Asia is set to deliver a series of keynote presentations

this year in line with the theme, “Bold Thoughts, Bold


The keynote sessions will

focus on sharing innovative

ideas, where attendees can

expect to gain knowledge on

practical applications to keep

pace with industry changes.

Recognising the revolutionary

impact of technology on the

travel industry, speakers from

leading online travel agencies

(OTA), travel-related partners

and technology companies will

share their perspectives on how

businesses can innovate and

leverage on technology as they

tackle the challenges of this era.

“By bringing together leading

industry experts in the keynote

sessions, ITB Asia will get to the

heart of today’s complex travel

issues. We will discuss major

game-changing issues within

the industry and strategies on

innovating business models in

order to remain competitive.

As the industry continues to

evolve, attendees want to

gain more than just insights of

what leading businesses do to

remain at the top. Through our

sessions, they will be equipped

with actionable steps on how to

drive their business forward,”

said Katrina Leung, Managing

Director of Messe Berlin

(Singapore), the organiser of

ITB Asia.

The show will open with a

keynote session on managing

industry’s biggest pain points.

The session on 16 October

brings together experts from

the biggest pillars in the travel

industry – accommodation,

distribution and technology: and IBM.

Addressing the industry’s

common challenges, topics will

include how businesses can

ready themselves for the next

wave of growth; rethinking

and reinventing distribution

strategies; and how the travel

industry can capitalise on the

digital revolution to succeed.

“Technology plays a critical role

at every phase of a personalised

traveller journey, helping to

deliver a seamless, connected

trip by enabling localisation

and consumer insights,” said

Angel Llull Mancas, Vice

President and Managing

Director for Asia-Pacific for “Constant

innovation in how we optimise

the customer experience will

be key to continued growth

and expansion in the highly

competitive and diverse Asian







ITB Asia 2019’s keynote panel

on 17 October, “The Future

of Travel Distribution”, will

identify business solutions for

challenges faced by the sector

during a time of uncertainty.

The discussion will be led

by senior executives from

Agoda, Expedia Group, Google,

TripAdvisor and Wego. They

will answer the big “Where to

next?” question, as they explore

the rapidly changing travel

industry, new technological

advancements, and implement

diverse distribution strategies

to improve the consumer


“People make up to 50 searches

before deciding on a flight,

and shopping around for value

is the norm for many global

leisure and business travellers.

Making it simpler to compare

fares, understand inclusions,

recognise value adds while also

delivering unique ways to save

remains core to our technology

development. As an industry,

we’re working towards a

more personalised experience

for travellers, and a more

integrated and seamless supplydistribution

relationship ahead,”

said Demi Kavaratzis, Partner

Marketing Director, Commercial

Strategy and Services, Expedia






In addition to the discussions

of the travel industry’s three

pillars, ITB Asia 2019 will also

feature a keynote panel on 18

October focused on the new

Chinese traveller, of which

their overseas consumption

is predicted to grow as large

as US$120bn as preferences

evolve. Titled, “The New

Chinese Travellers”, industry

leaders will examine the

growing significance of this

market. Amongst notable

industry experts are Booking.

com, OYO China and Tujia, who

will analyse the preference shift

in the range of destinations,

products and brands of

interest, as well as maximising

opportunities from this market

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019


© SPECTRUM images









A speaker during

a conference

at ITB Asia 2018


the hearts of

MICE buyers

The inaugural MICE Show Asia

conference aims to redefine industry

practices and identify new trends that

will shape the future of MICE events

As the MICE industry is highly competitive, the long-term

success of MICE players remains contingent on their ability to

understand and anticipate their customers’ needs. To explore

this notion, the first ever MICE Show Asia 2019’s featured

panel discussion will see industry experts challenge and

provide new perspectives on archetypal approaches to the

MICE buyer-seller paradigm.

Thus, the inaugural MICE Show

Asia, which takes place alongside

ITB Asia 2019 in Singapore

between 16 - 18 October, has the

theme of “Winning the Hearts of

MICE Buyers”. It is where the

incentive travel, meetings and

events industries come together

to connect and build the future

of MICE. The annual three-day

business-to-business trade show

and convention will feature

industry suppliers, meetings &

events professionals to up-andcoming

MICE innovators from a

wide range of disciplines, sectors

and all levels of seniority.

Across three days, more than

30 speakers from Convention

and Visitor Bureaus (CVB), MICE

buyer organisations, MICE tech

companies and start-ups, will

discuss topics ranging from events

organisation and management,

technological applications to

trends forecasting and challenging

conventional practices.

MICE Show Asia 2019 features

a diverse programme of key

presentations and discussions

touching on ground-breaking

developments and opportunities

that are shaping the industry

such as sustainability and the

role of social media for event

marketing. The show will see

top buyers’ partners and MICE

industry players, such as BestCities

Global Alliance, HelmsBriscoe,

Professional Convention

Management Association (PCMA),

United Networks of International

Corporate Events Organizers

(UNICEO), come together to speak

and share their expertise.

“The mission of MICE Show Asia

2019 is to provide industry suppliers

with the insights and strategies to

meet ever-evolving buyers’ needs.

As the MICE scene continues to

grow, there has never been a

greater need to bring together

industry professionals from across

varied disciplines to share their

knowledge and perspectives. Our

conference sessions are designed

to get attendees to rethink how

they understand the industry, and

gain the ability to set themselves

apart,” said Katrina Leung,

Managing Director of Messe Berlin

(Singapore), the organiser of MICE

Show Asia.

The speaker panel will include top

management leaders from Chiba

Convention Bureau, Elias Events,

Mix – Asia’s Creative Meetings

Magazine, Thailand Convention &

Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and The

Project Office of the Moscow City

Tourism Committee.

In addition to the panel, attendees

will hear from buyer organisations,

leading industry players and fastgrowing

MICE tech companies

such as American Express

Meetings & Events, Aventri,

Cvent, Meetingbox bei Succevo

GmbH and PouchNATION. With

discussions focusing on MICE tech,

improving audience engagement

and trends forecasting, attendees

will gain fresh perspectives about

managing events, including

catering to different personality

types, reducing audience attrition,

and responding to shifting industry


The show will also include a

keynote session on the power of

collective intelligence. Breaking out

from traditional silo-thinking, the

session will demonstrate the value

of collaborative and ‘community’

approaches to navigate the

complex promotion and business

development landscape.

Start-ups and CVBs are

also scheduled to introduce

revolutionary approaches of

adding value to event experiences.

CVBs will discuss methods of better

managing events to cater for the

audience, including multilingual

content and virtual events. Startups

and new players will share

their expertise on how the running

of MICE events is being shaken

up. Highlights will include new

developments in events space,

indoor mapping and working with

Smart Data.



MICE Show Asia will share the

Sands Expo and Convention Centre

at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore

with ITB Asia 2019. Attendees will

have full access to both events

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019



Gran Meliá Chengdu, China

For the first time, four times Special Events 25 Top DMC and one of the largest

DMC Groups in the world – Global DMC Network by JTB Group – will feature all of

its companies during ITB Asia 2019. This “Global Village” debut in Singapore will

showcase the multi-dimensions and global presence of the Group. The purpose

of this omnipresence is to display unlimited travel possibilities to (potential) Asia

Pacific partners.

“This is the first time that all of our companies are

present at ITB Asia with a shared booth,’’ says

Abrar Uppal, Senior Manager Global Marketing

of the Global DMC Network by JTB Group. “We

really wish to showcase our strength as One

Group in Asia Pacific. Are you looking for a

service not available in a certain destination?

No problem, another DMC underneath our

umbrella, which is present in the desired

destination will take care of all your needs. We

are proud to be a Global Village.”

The companies attending are: Tour East

(Tours in Top 10 Experiences TripAdvisor in

Singapore), JTB Global Marketing and Travel

(Japan Inbound), LOTTE JTB (South-Korea

Inbound), Kuoni Global Travel Services,

Tumlare Destination Management (Europe),

Europamundo Vacaciones (Seat-in-Coach Tour

Operator), TPI (Americas) and - for the first

time ever - MC&A, Inc. (Hawaiian Islands and

Handara Golf & Resort Bali was recently

announced as the winner in Best Golf Resort

Destination and Best Wedding Resort in 2019

by the Asia Pacific Tourism Travel Awards. The

golf club and resort has already been ranked

among the “Top 50 Golf Courses in The Word”

by Golf Magazine and was chosen as the 2015

winner of the “Best Golf Hotel in Indonesia”

by the prestigious Word Golf Awards. Located

away from the hustle and bustle of Bali’s tourist

areas, up in the mountains of Bedugul, 1400m

above sea level, the Handara Golf Resort Bali is

a great getaway to escape the heat!


The new website for

Global DMC Network

by JTB Group brings

together all players in

one place

Global DMC Network by JTB

Group brings all DMCs to ITB

Asia 2019 for first time

USA destination and event management and

conference planning).

The European side of the Network

accommodates to the trend: e.g., Tumlare

Destination Management offers igloo tours and

Small Groups in Chinese in the Eastern European

and Scandinavian regions. The recent possibility

from October 1st 2019 to obtain an e-visa for St.

Petersburg and the Leningrad Oblast area for

many APAC travellers will simplify the process

for Guaranteed Departure tours to Russia.

On the East Asian side, JTB Global Marketing &

Travel Inc., focuses on presenting the essence

of Japanese hospitality as well as specialist

knowledge in a Japan getting ready to host two

of the biggest sports events in the world. One

kicked off in late September


Bali’s Handara Resort arrives at ITB

Asia with major awards in hand

The Handara Golf & Resort in Bali






The booking technology

specialists TravelCarma will

be showcasing a whole suite

of distribution, ERP and TDX

solutions at ITB Asia.

The company will showcase its suite

of travel technology solutions that


Emperia – A Travel ERP Solution

that helps travel agencies and OTAs

automate reservations, streamline

back office processes and centrally

manage distribution

Adventia – A package booking solution

for tour operators that allows them

to load their tour packages online,

configure B2B markups/commissions

and allow their agents worldwide to

log in and make bookings

E-IMDP – Inventory Distribution

and Channel Management software

allowing wholesalers, DMCs and large

B2B players to manage and distribute

their contracted inventories via API

across multiple sales channels

TDX – A powerful, platform-agnostic

aggregation engine that can bundle

multiple requests/responses through a

unified API. It also enables travel firms

to tie-up with any partner globally

without making any change in their

existing system

In addition to these solutions,

TravelCarma will also be showcasing

exclusive solutions for Umrah

operators, OTAs and other providers

targeting Muslim travellers. According

to a Skift research, Umrah travel is a

US$220bn market, and Saudi Arabia’s

Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is exploring

ways of digitizing and automating the

reservation and visa processes


TravelCarma demo site

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019








Christopher Lee


Meeting MICE demand –

the right way now under the umbrella of

– at ITB Asia to spread the word and “network”

Christopher Lee, Founder of, talks about

the recent partnership with, and how the MICE

market is evolving from a demand point of view. We asked

him to tell us a little more about his organisation, and how

he started out in the business.

I’ve been working in the events

and entertainment business

industry for almost 15 years,

servicing hundreds of corporate

clients. We started off with simple

dinners and dance projects, then

slowly moved into other segments

such as exhibitions, meetings,

conferences, weddings and road

shows. Over time, we gained a pool

of regular clients who placed their

trust in us and asked us to manage

their yearly calendars of projects,

from sourcing venues to catering

services and entertainment.

Nowadays, for venue hiring in


is emerging as one of the leading

online venue marketplaces.

There are more than 100

venue space options available on including

different restaurants, bars,

country clubs, unique venues like

karting circuits, Singapore Turf

Club and many more. In just a few

clicks, be it corporate or individual,

one can hire the ideal venue.

Our acquisition by hotelplanner.

com will definitely broaden our

canvas and we are really thrilled

about this partnership. It is a win

for both parties. Our target is to

increase the market share by up to

300 event spaces by the end of this

year. By 2020, we are hoping to

broaden our network to Asia Pacific

to cover the needs of corporates

as well as individuals to assist

them in getting the right venue

spaces with our highly compatible

products. The events industry is

evolving with new technologies

and more people are coming in

to hire venues and undergo new

personalized experiences. All of us

at are really

eager to be at the lead of these


How hard is it for people to “get

things right” when booking for

weddings, conferences, parties,

product launches, etc., and how

do you help?

In general, it can be a real headache.

But it is very easy and convenient

to use

Options available on the platform

allow consumers to search for

places of their preferences.

They can easily search for an

appropriate place and it lessens

their difficulties in sourcing for

good venues. The venuexplorer. platform saves the

customers from the hassle of

calling and getting quotations for

venues. Our platform provides

the facility of instant booking and

consumers can hire venues for

their next events.

If consumers are unable to search

for their ideal venue online, they

can simply ring one of our venue

experts and they will provide a list of

suitable venues according to their

requirements. We are also offering

a number of other services, such

as anger management activities,

bungee jumping, or bike riding for

corporate travellers.

What are you seeing as being

the key trends in terms of

MICE bookings at the moment?

It is quite common for many

corporate travellers and

individuals to seek distinctive

venues for their events as they are

moving away from the traditional

places such as hotels. Everything

is now available online and people

can book hotels, rooms and

restaurants, but there was no

facility that offered a one-stop

online venue booking platform.

Such a platform can ease the life

of many people.

As you are attending ITB Asia,

what are the main things you will

be looking for at the show?

We will share our platform and are

looking forward to partnerships

for the growth of our network in

the Asia Pacific region.

How important is it for you to

network at events like this?

It has great importance for us as it

definitely helps us in the growth of

our platform. With this opportunity,

we will come in direct contact

with our partners, or client and we

can personally share the benefits

and features of our platform

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019













Angel Llull


Vice President and Managing Director,

Asia-Pacific, Booking,.com

The evolution of


Exclusive interview: Angel Llull Mancas, Vice President and Managing

Director, Asia-Pacific,

The Dutch Online Travel Agency, has been present

in the Asia-Pacific region for 11 years. In an interview with

Angel Llull Mancas, Vice President and Managing Director,

Asia-Pacific, we asked him about the current

trends in online bookings in the region.

With increasing mobile penetration

globally and consumers in Asia

being at the forefront of all things

mobile, travellers are looking to

their mobile devices to help them

do more, see more and experience

more before, during and after

their trips. Today, more than 50%

of accommodation reservations

on happen through

mobile devices. Intra-region travel

is also burgeoning with the influx

of low-cost carriers, simplified visa

processes and growth in supply.

That being said, we also see similar

online booking trends that transcend

the region. Globally, we continue to

see an increasing overlap between

business and leisure travel, with

people increasingly tying personal

travel into a business trip. We’re

also seeing a demand for more

unique experiences and the appetite

to explore different places to stay.

Which regions are emerging?

Asia is a region in which we’re seeing

continued growth and it continues

to be a focus for our business. It is

certainly a region with many unique

aspects and challenges. On the

one hand, you have markets such

as Japan, Singapore and Thailand,

with an extremely strong inbound

booker market and well-developed

tourism industries. There are also

markets that are just opening up to

tourists, like Myanmar, and markets

that are quite fragmented within

themselves such as Indonesia. It is

an extraordinary region with many

complexities and many amazing

destinations for visitors locally and

globally to experience.

How are you working in India?

India is an important market for

us where we see a lot of growth

potential. We opened our first office

in Mumbai in 2012 with just 4

employees, and we now have over

80 employees across 4 offices in

the country. We offer close to 45k

properties in the country, which

represents thousands of listings

across traditional hotels as well

as homes, apartments and other

types of unique places to stay. We

are a meaningful player today in the

market, with having

grown at about 68 per cent in 2017-

18 in terms of supply.

You have been moving into the

home and room rental market.

How is that coming along?

What most people don’t realise

is that the first apartment on was listed in 2000,

before Airbnb ever even existed.

Through our rigorous A/B testing,

also known as bucket testing, we

learned early on that travellers want

options in one place. They may not

always want to stay in a home or in

a hotel, so showcasing our breadth

of offerings is what customers want.

Now, we see other sites following

suit. Today this is a big and very

important business for us. We have

seen over 3 billion guest arrivals at across all properties

since 2007, with 750M guest arrivals

in our alternative accommodations

segment alone since 2007. Booking.

com also doesn’t charge customer

fees. What we’re striving towards

is providing travellers with the

widest selection of offerings and

leveraging technologies like AI and

machine learning to narrow down

the options to help them make their


How important is ITB Asia for you

as a platform for networking?

I always look forward to ITB Asia.

It’s a great moment to catch up with

many of our key business contacts,

but also to come together with

thought leaders from across the

industry, evaluate the trends that are

shaping the future of our business

and get inspired by the incredible

work that’s being done around Asia

and throughout the world

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019


Uzbekistan targets “Haj plus”


With an enormous wealth of Islamic sites, the nation is reaching

out to the world at ITB Asia

Bahruz Hamzaev is Strategy Advisor to the State Committee

for Tourism Development of Uzbekistan. We asked him how

tourism has been progressing in past years in his nation.

Inbound tourism has been

increasing exponentially. In 2016,

we had 1.3 million tourists. For

the end of this year, projections

are for 6.3 million. Every year,

the number of tourists coming

to Uzbekistan is doubling. One

of the main reasons for that is

the easing of the visa process.

By 1 January 2020, the number

of visa-free countries will reach

86, including China. This is the

biggest driver of tourist numbers

in our country. More airlines are

also flying to Uzbekistan.

How are you looking to further

increase tourism figures?

We would like to diversify. At the

moment, the core audience is

generally the baby-boomers. They

stay longer, they stay in better

hotels, and their expenditure

is higher. However, tourism in

Uzbekistan is seasonal, and we

would like to change that, so we

are targeting a younger audience,

including millennials and solo

travellers. Uzbekistan is the

number five safest destination

globally in the solo travel index.

It has been one of the safest

countries for the past ten years.

So, we would like to increase the

capacity for tourism, diversify, and

have more tourists throughout

the year.











How important are the Eastern

and Southeast Asian markets

for you?

They are equally as important

as Europe. Uzbekistan is mainly

a Muslim country, with world

renowned Shrines in Silk

Road places like Tashkent and

Bukhara. Samarkand is home

to dozens of magnificent tombs.

Notable figures like the emperor

Tamerlane, the astronomer

Ulughbek and Kusam Ibn

Abbas, the cousin of the Prophet

Muhammad, who brought Islam

to this land in the 7th Century, are

all buried here. There is also the

tomb of the prophet Daniel, or

Daniyar as Uzbeks call him.

For this, people from Malaysia

and Indonesia are increasingly

attracted to our country. Added to

this are the facts that we have a

direct flight from Kuala Lumpur in

Malaysia, and since the beginning

of this year, there are regular

flights from Jakarta, and we have

the visa-free system for these

travellers. Our idea is to attract

more people for Haj “plus”, where

people can prolong their journey

with a visit to our sites. Many add

a third destination after doing

Mecca and Medina. Now, as we

have a direct flight, this makes it

interesting to pass by Uzbekistan.

Another interesting fact is that

Indonesia and Malaysia don’t

have a winter, and Uzbekistan has

four real seasons, with snow in

winter and great ski resorts. Many

of these people have never seen

snow, so that’s an added plus.

How important is ITB Asia for

reaching your potential clients?

It’s one of the shows that our

government has listed as “not

to be missed”. We consider

the region very important as a

potential market

Bahruz Hamzaev

Strategy Advisor to the State

Committee for Tourism Development,







On 22 July, Bekabad and Tashkent districts

of the Tashkent region on the territory of

the “Oybek” and “Gisht-Kuprik” checkpoints

opened two tourist information centres. The

checkpoints are respectively on the borders

the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of


Earlier, during the visit of the President

of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the

Tashkent region a number of tasks were

set, one of which was the creation of tourist

information centres at these points. The

purpose of tourist information centres is to

provide foreign visitors with all the necessary

information about the tourist potential of the

country, accommodation facilities, popular

destinations and domestic routes. Also, the

centres provide tourists with handouts in the

form of booklets, brochures and magazines

about the regions of the Republic, as well as

assistance in calling taxis and buying tourist

SIM cards

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019




Yoga at the Handara resort, Bali

Wellness is becoming an essential

part of the travel industry around

the world

Wellness tourism is becoming increasingly important not

only in Asia but also in other parts of the world. In recent

years, countries such as Italy, Morocco, Spain or the USA

are turning into popular destinations for wellness. While Asia

accounts for some of the most prestigious wellness retreats

around the world, Europe is still leading in terms of wellness


In its annual Global Wellness

Trends ,released at the end of last

year, the Global Wellness Institute

indicates that the wellness industry

was worth US$639.4 billion,

including all the programmes,

services and products dedicated

to the wellbeing of people.

According to GWT, wellness

tourism is a segment that has been

growing by 6.5% annually from

2015-2017 (more than twice the

growth rate for general tourism)

with travellers accounting for 830

million wellness trips in 2017, a

growth of 139 million trips over


The blossoming of the wellness

sector in the travel industry is

driven by the rapid rise of the

middle class around the world and

particularly in Asia. According to

the latest report, Europe remains

the destination for the largest

number of wellness trips, while

North America leads in wellness

tourism expenditures.

According to the Global Wellness

Tourism Economy report,

“Wellness tourism growth is

very much a tale of developing

markets, with Asia-Pacific, Latin

America-Caribbean, Middle East-

North Africa, and Sub-Saharan

Africa accounting for 57 per cent

of the increase in wellness trips.

Over the past five years, Asia is

the number one growth sector in

both wellness tourism trips and


The report indicates that Asia

Pacific recorded 258 million trips

with expenditures reaching US$

136.7 bn in 2017. The continent

was second after Europe with 292

million trips and ahead of North

America with 204 million trips.

Growth has been driven by an

expanding global middle class,

growing consumer desire to

adopt a wellness lifestyle, rising

interest in experiential travel, and

increasing affordability of flights

and travel options.

While there is a trend to practice

holistic wellbeing at home or in

a private environment, spas and

hotels in Asia continue to attract

travellers looking for a healthy

mind and body. The continent has

indeed some of the best renowned

spas and wellness retreats in the


But many countries are now

looking at promoting wellness

destinations to their visitors. The

wellness thematic is also a good

way for governments to diversify

their tourist market, by carving

out a niche which will can help

reduce seasonality, fighting over

tourism by promoting secondary


The well-being factor is also

accompanied by organic-driven

gastronomy and eco-consumption

and the inclusion of the person’s

wishes. As an example, some

luxury hotels offer free yoga

sessions and meditation to their

guests. A new trend is group of

travellers bringing their own yoga


Wellness retreats are even

expanding into urban destinations

with many brands moving into

metropolises to create “city oases”.

As more consumers incorporate

wellness into their lifestyles, there

are many opportunities for the

travel business to infuse wellness

into their offerings and capture

spending by wellness travellers













SINCE 2015-

2017 WITH



FOR 830



TRIPS IN 2017.

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019









Previously known as Losari Coffee

Plantation, MesaStila Resort and Spa is

a unique luxury five-star resort and spa.

Its uniqueness comes from its location

in Magelan. The resort is surrounded

by volcanoes and rice paddies, a few

kilometres away from one of Indonesia’s

most iconic monuments, Borobudur


Auriga spa, Body Massage

A rich offering of spa

resorts at ITB Asia

The resort has been developed within

a former coffee plantation perched

on a hill. Most of the buildings are in

fact historical constructions. There is

the villa of the Dutch plantation owner

which dominates the resort while the

check-in for the guests is done in a

former rail station which has been

rebuilt at the resort. All the rooms are

located in historic Joglo-villas, typical

Javanese style houses made of wood

which were mostly erected in the 19th


Numerous exhibitors with spa products will be present

at ITB Asia this year, many located in Asia, where the

art of massage is part of the culture.

From Onsen spas in Japan to

Indonesian herbal massage,

from Indian Ayurvedic spas

to centuries-old traditional

Thai massages in temples,

Asia is a continent where the

spa industry has turned into

one of the most sophisticated

in the world. According to

the Global Wellness Trends

Report, eight countries in the

top 20 wellness destinations

around the world are in

Asia. The largest number of

wellness trips were recorded

in 2017 in China with a total

of 70.2 million, followed by

India with 56 million wellness

trips, followed by Japan with

40.5 million.

Many hotel chains in Asia

even built their reputation

thanks to their spas. And

virtually all resorts present at

ITB Asia from the Maldives

are equipped with fabulous

facilities and services.

Today, all luxury international

luxury chains in Asia Pacific

have dedicated facilities.

Bali also has its share of resorts

equipped with spas. There

are the Bali Mandira Resort &

Spa, the Jayakarta Bali Beach

Resort & Spa, the Nandini

Jungle Resort and Spa, Nusa

Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, the

Senetan Villas & Spa Resort

and the Ubud Village Resort

& Spa. Also in Indonesia, but

located in Central Java, is the

MesaStila Resort and Spa

in the vicinity of the famed

temple of Borobudur.

Thailand’s spa resorts include

the Phuket Graceland Resort

& Spa, Phuket Marriott Resort

& Spa, Merlin Beach, the

Renaissance Pattaya Resort

& Spa as well as the Kee

Resort & Spa Phuket. From

Malaysia, exhibitors such as

Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota

Kinabalu and Nexus Resort

& Spa Karambunai offer

exceptional services. Both

are in the state of Sabah on

the island of Borneo. Another

property is the Shangri-La’s

Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa in


Japan is represented with the

Okinawa Marriott Resort &

Spa which overlooks the East

China Sea. Vietnam is home

to the Hoi-An Resort & Spa in

the vicinity of the old historical

town while the Maldives

presents the Furaveri Island

Resort & Spa

The spa also has a historical background.

Spa therapy at MesaStila takes its

inspiration from the cultural blend

brought by traders from the Arabic

peninsula, China, India and Java. This

translates into the traditional jamu – a

medicine made from local herbs that can

be used for massage but also drunk. With

its origins in Turkey, MesaStila is proud

to house an authentic hammam, where

steam bathing combines functionality

with cleansing rituals


The infinity pool of the MesaStila

Resort and Spa

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019








Why not to travel to Luxembourg between

22 November and 5 January to discover the

“Winterlights” festival which celebrates the

Christmas time?

Jakarta spruces

up its image

The Indonesian capital Jakarta is more visitors-friendly than ever.

The opening of the first MRT line and the renovation of the old

town are bringing renewed interest to discover the Indonesian


If Bali is the largest tourism destination

for Indonesia by welcoming over six

million visitors per year, Jakarta is

coming second. According to data

from the Central Office of Statistics

for the Jakarta Region, the capital

welcomed 2.81 million tourist visits

last year from overseas, representing

a market share of 15% of all arrivals.

Jakarta is indeed turning into a more

attractive than ever destination. In the

last decade, Jakarta has seen massive

investments in its infrastructure. The

brand-new Terminal 3 at Jakarta

International Airport, the opening of

the airport rail link to town and the

opening of a 50-km section of the

Jakarta Outer Ring Road 2 are some

recent examples of the government’s

commitment to improve the city’s


First mulled out some 25 years ago,

Jakarta’s first MRT line opened last

March. It links the commercial city

centre where most shopping malls

and hotels are located along the

brand new 13 stations on the way to

South Jakarta. In a second phase due

to be completed in 2024, the MRT will

go up to the old town of Jakarta, one

of the main attractions for visitors to

the capital.

Mentioning the old town of Jakarta

(named Kota by locals), a lot of

improvement happened over the last

two years. For a long time, the cradle

of the city- created over 350 years by

the Dutch under the name of Bataviahas

been a huge construction site

with the renovation of the canals and

of many historical houses.

The result was worth the wait. The

canal area has been totally cleaned

and transformed into a river walk.

Museums have been modernized

while renovated Dutch-style houses

have been converted into trendy

coffee shops, eateries as well as art

galleries. A welcomed transformation

for visitors!


The Jakarta old town along

the Kasi Besar canal

Luxembourg is an excellent alternative for travellers

looking to enjoy a traditional European Christmas. The

small capital city is actually an attractive destination

during the festive season with its atmospheric old

town living to the rhythm of the “Winterlights” festival.

Luxemburg City is invaded by giant Christmas trees, a

Ferris wheel, various carrousels as well as Christmas

markets that smell of mulled wine and cinnamon

biscuits. The highlight of the festive season is a giant iceskating

rink in front of Luxembourg old city hall.

Hosted for a couple of years, the “Winterlights” festival

turns the city into a magical and wonderful setting with

thousands of lights along the streets and avenues of the

city centre. The event is organized by the Luxembourg

City Tourist Office in close collaboration with the City

of Luxembourg. Winterlights is not only about lighting

Luxembourg squares and streets. They are more than

200 concerts and events in the heart of the Christmas

markets of Luxembourg City.

A good motivation to visit Luxembourg Winterlights

Festival is the commitment of authorities for an

environment-friendly event. The lights that illuminate

the city during the Christmas period consists exclusively

of low-energy bulbs. The LEDs manage to reduce the

electricity consumption by 97% while the remaining 3%

is supplied by so-called “green” electricity.

The City is stepping up its efforts to promote and maintain

a clean environment by setting up rules to reduce the

amount of waste produced. Thanks to the commitment

of the festival’s organisers and associations that occupy

Christmas markets booths, meals and drinks offered at

the Christmas market will be served in containers made

of reusable materials, such as glass or porcelain. Visitors

will be able to collect their deposit by returning them to

the stands


The ‘Winterlights’ festival

in Luxembourg City

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019



The Anchorage skyline

Old Austro-Hungarian

atmosphere lives on

in Zagreb

Zagreb is an increasingly attractive destination for Asian

travellers thanks to excellent flight connections and a

rich history which gives the Croatian capital a lot of


Wildlife in the city:

Alaska runs wild and

free in Anchorage

Only in Anchorage can you meet a moose, walk on a glacier and

explore a vast, natural park all in a single day. Between mountains

and an inlet, surrounded by national parks and filled with Alaska

wildlife, Anchorage combines the best of Alaska in a city that has

the comforts of home and the hospitality of the Last Frontier.

Alaska’s largest city and

transportation hub excites the

visitors’ senses with urban delights

and wild sights. The city combines

the best of city amenities such as

world-class dining, comfortable

lodging and cultural touchpoints

with the vast beauty and wildness

that is Alaska. Travellers can look

for an urban moose, walk on a

glacier, and escape to a national

park all in one day. Winter fun

includes aurora viewing, downhill

and cross-country skiing, dog

mushing and winter festivals.

Diverse populations such as moose,

Dall sheep, black and brown bear,

grizzlies, lynx, fox, coyote, beluga

whales, salmon, wolves and

fascinating species of birds live in

abundance in Anchorage’s big back



The boom in midtown hotel building

is at a crescendo with the opening

of StayBridge Suites and Hyatt

Place. StayBridge Suites opened

December 2018. StayBridge is off A

Street along Calais Drive and has

suites equipped with full kitchens.

Hyatt Place opened in Anchorage in

May of 2019. The property on Tudor

Road has 133 rooms. The Lakefront

Anchorage brings Lake Hood closer

to guests. Alterations to exterior

landscaping allow the hotel to offer

a new set of lake view rooms. Guests

can watch the sun slowly set as float

planes taxi, take off and land at an

Alaska floatplane base.





Phillips Cruises and tours has

added a new vessel, the Bravest,

to the day cruise offerings from

the port town of Whittier. The new,

high-speed catamaran can carry

285 passengers. The vessel is the

company’s third exploring Prince

William Sound. Meanwhile, Lazy

Otter’s new boat, the Voyager is a

46-foot, 30-passenger catamaran,

specially designed for glacier and

wildlife cruises


Zagreb is a concentration of

what the Austro-Hubngarian

Empire used to stand for. The

city bears the charm of Croatian

hospitality with its little inns

and cellars offering traditional

Croatian gastronomy and

wines. Its old town offers

striking similarities with Buda

hill in Budapest with its small

baroque-style houses and its

churches. However, it is far

less crowded.

Its 19 th century town reflects

the grandeur of the Austrian

empire. Monuments along

its large avenues such as the

National Theatre, the Croatian

Fine Arts Museum, the

University or the Art Pavilion

all set along large parks

remind us of Vienna. Zagreb is

also an interesting destination

for art lovers thanks to a large

number of local painters and


Visitors should also take time

to visit Zagreb’s Christmas

market, which has been awared

several times as “Europe’s Best

Christmas Market”.

The Croatian capital is easily

accessible for travellers from

overseas. The city is one of the

few in Central Europe to benefit

of a non-stop connection

to Asia thanks to Korean Air

and also via Istanbul with

Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa

via Frankfurt or Munich or

Austrian Airlines via Vienna.

From a total of 19.7 million

foreign tourist arrivals in 2018,

1.4 million overseas travellers

visited Zagreb, up by 16.6%.

giving the city a market share

of 7%. Growth is stimulated

by rising numbers from Asia,

especially from Korea, Hong

Kong, Taiwan, and Japan.

Overseas visitors from

Asia come to Zagreb for

the cultural, historical and

culinary experience that

the city has to offer. In the

Zagreb countryside, they can

enjoy wine routes, biking

tours as well as agritourism

experiences. Shopping is also

turning increasingly popular,

especially with the opening

of the Designer Outlet Croatia

complex in Rugvica, near to

the Croatian capital. Next for

promotion stands now health

tourism destination with spas

and thermal sources


Zagreb Ban Jelacic Square

in the city

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019







Penang tops

Malaysia’s list for

medical tourism

With no less than seven private hospitals participating in medical

tourism in Penang, the island destination accounts for the major

share of Malaysia’s medical tourism – which accounts for over a

million annual arrivals in the country.

Hospitals such as Pantai Mutiara

Hospital, Lam Wah Ee Hospital,

Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital,

Loh Guan Lye Specialist Hospital,

Gleneagles Hospital, Penang

Adventist Hospital and Island

Hospital are favourites in Penang

for care-seekers from Thailand and


Annual growth in medical tourism

arrivals to Malaysia is expected

to continue at around 15%. But

why is medical tourism so strong

in Malaysia, and in particular in

Penang? Malaysia Healthcare

Travel Council CEO, Sherene Azli

believes the selling proposition that

is strongest on top of the quality of

the medical care is the affordability:

“Due to heavy market regulation

under the Ministry of Health,

with fee schedules and price

capping, our doctors cannot

overcharge patients. This is especially

comforting for patients coming from

abroad, knowing that not only do

we provide world class quality

and immediate accessibility,

but we are also very affordable.

Within this region, the stronger

players are Malaysia, Thailand, and

Sherene Azli

CEO, Malaysia Healthcare

Travel Council

historically, Singapore. Singapore

however have priced themselves

out, as they are three to four times

more expensive than Malaysia.

Thailand is priced higher than us, at

around double our prices.”

According to Azli, a big growth

market is China. “Our largest

market is currently Indonesia,

which accounts for 50% to 60% of

our arrivals. Last year we exceeded

our target of 1 million arrivals and

close to 60% are Indonesians. That

being said, we are seeing growth

from other ASEAN countries like

Myanmar and Vietnam – so

much so that we have started

opening representative offices

in these two countries. At the

same time, we have seen doubledigit

growth from China. China is

growing – especially for fertility,

India is also on the rise. Southeast

Asia’s population is 690 million,

combined with 1.4 bn in China and

1.2 bn in India we have quite a large

volume of potential healthcare



Thailand is not only known for its temples or its

beaches but also for its excellent healthcare. The

Tourism Authority of Thailand is aware that medical

tourism brings to the country and has launched

various initiatives to facilitate the development of

medical tourism in line with government’s directive

to promote Thailand as a regional hub for medical

and wellness tourism.

Health and wellness is one of

a number of niche markets

being promoted by TAT

under the marketing concept

of “Amazing Thailand: Open

to the New Shades.” Some of

the promising demographic

segments include senior

citizens, millennials and

working women.

Thailand is indeed one of

the world’s most popular

health and wellness tourism

destinations, ranging

from prevention to cure.

Traditionally, Thailand was

mostly visited for medical

purposes from countries

such as Cambodia, Lao PDR,

India, Indonesia and the Gulf


“Over the years, demand

has been emerging

from countries such as

Myanmar, Australia and

Russia,” explained Srisuda

Wanapinyosak, TAT Deputy

Governor of International

Marketing -Europe, Africa,

Middle East and Americas

Back in 2017, the Kingdom

introduced a special 90-day

visa for citizens of China,

the Mekong countries

(Cambodia, Lao PDR,

Myanmar and Vietnam)

as well as Gulf countries

(GCC) who come for

medical purposes. The visa

is delivered with a special

confirmation letter sent by a

list of hospitals or healthcare

centres approved by the

Ministry of Public Health to

make an appointment. More

than 100 hospital and health

facilities are listed on the

ministry list.

Recently, Thailand

experienced the opening of

Asia’s first hotel resort with

an inhouse medical team.

In the heart of Bangkok,

Mövenpick BDMS Wellness

Resort Bangkok is a very

different style of hotels than

other properties of the group.

The resort hotel features 293

rooms and suites overlooking

a garden with an adjacent

clinic proposing various

wellbeing programs. The

Mövenpick BDMS Wellness

Resort is a brand new concept

of holistic hospitality


Medical travellers are able to combine visits to local

markets and sites with medical services in local clinics.

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019



Las Vegas


Growth of 2% in international

arrivals for the Americas in first

half 2019

Overall, international tourist arrivals grew 4% from January to

June 2019, compared to the same period last year, according

to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Growth was

led by the Middle East (+8%) and Asia and the Pacific (+6%).

International arrivals in Europe grew 4%, while Africa (+3%)

and the Americas (+2%) enjoyed more moderate growth.

The drivers of these results were

strong economy, affordable air

travel, increased air connectivity

and enhanced visa facilitation.

However, weaker economic

indicators, prolonged uncertainty

about Brexit, trade and

technological tensions and rising

geopolitical challenges, have

started to take a toll on business

and consumer confidence, as

reflected in a more cautious

UNWTO Confidence Index.

In the Americas (+2%), results

improved in the second quarter

after a weak start to the year. The

Caribbean (+11%) benefitted from

strong US demand and continued

to rebound strongly from the impact

of hurricanes Irma and Maria in

late 2017, a challenge which the

region unfortunately faces once

again. North America recorded

2% growth, while Central America

(+1%) showed mixed results. In

South America, arrivals were

down 5% partly due to a decline

in outbound travel from Argentina

which affected neighbouring


Statistics from the US National

Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO)

indicate that the biggest growth in

Asian outbound travellers towards

the United States last year came

from Singapore, with a hike of

26.6% from 254,000 travellers in

2017 to 332,000 in 2018. A rise of

16.5% in Indian travellers, up to a

total of 2.756 million in 2018 was

also noted. The biggest outbound

market from Asia to the USA

remains Japan, last year with 6.987

million travellers, a rise of 9.9% over

2017. China remains the number

two market from Asia, with a rise

of around 4% y/y to a total of 5.744

million arrivals in 2018.

Other key figures for Asian

outbound travellers to the US

include (x million):

South Korea – 4.421 (+8.1%)

Taiwan – 0.956 (+12.3)

Philippines – 0.620 (+15.5%)

Vietnam – 0.245 (+13%)

Outbound travel from the USA, the

world’s second largest spender,

remained solid (+7%), supported by

a strong dollar. In Europe, spending

on international tourism by France

(+8%) and Italy (+7%) was robust,

though the United Kingdom (+3%)

and Germany (+2%) reported more

moderate figures.

The UNWTO outlook for

international tourist arrivals

projects growth of +2% to +3% for

the Americas, against a global

forecast of +3% to +4%. Prolonged

uncertainty about Brexit,

intensified trade and technological

tensions between the United States

and China, and rising geopolitical

challenges may take a toll on

business and consumer confidence

in certain countries or regions

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019




Brand USA woos

Chinese market

The US destination marketing organisation arrives at ITB

Asia fresh from its 13 th annual leadership summit in Seattle

Brand USA, the destination marketing organisation

for the United States, joined the Ministry of Culture

and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, to

host the 13 th annual US-China Tourism Leadership

Summit in Seattle, Washington, between 18 and 20


According to most recent

NTTO statistics, the United

States welcomed 3 million

visitors in 2018 from China,

with 85% being repeat

visitors. China ranks as the

number one market for US

tourism exports at US$34.6

bn and remains in the top five

in visitor volume at around 3

million arrivals in 2018.

The summit was an

opportunity to build and

strengthen relationships

between US and Chinese

travel and tourism industry

leadership and government

officials. Participants

emphasised the important

contribution of travel and

tourism to the world’s two

largest economies. Attendees

included executives and

officials at state, provincial,

and city level destination

marketing organisations,

industry association heads,

tour operators and online

travel agents, attractions and

transportation companies.

In a keynote speech at the

summit, Li Yaying, chief of the

Chinese tourism delegation,

said the two countries were,

for each other, important

sources of tourists and

destinations, with Chinese

travellers spending a total of

over US$30bn in the United

States in 2018.

“Over the years, the

discussions that have

taken place at and around

this summit have proven

mutually beneficial to

improve strategies for

tourism marketing in

the United States and

China,” said Christopher L.

Thompson, president and

CEO of Brand USA. “As a

result, the industry has made

significant contributions to

economic development, the

balance of trade and better

cultural understanding in

both countries.”

The theme of “culture

and tourism” resonated

throughout the event.

Attendees were immersed



L. Thompson

CEO, Brand USA

in discussions and

presentations centred

around best practices in

marketing, travel and

tourism trends, and current

issues impacting the

industry. Panellists examined

the evolution of the China

market, the importance of

inspiring travellers through

storytelling, and how the

USA is adapting to meet

technological expectations

of Chinese visitors.

Brand USA has several

China-specific consumer

marketing campaigns,

robust travel trade outreach

programs, and cooperative

marketing and features heavy

digital and social presence

across established and

emerging Chinese channels.

Given the importance of

the market, Brand USA

has created a dedicated

Chinese website, GoUSA.

cn. Brand USA also works

closely with the US embassy

and consulates and has

established representation

offices in Beijing, Chengdu,

Guangzhou, and Shanghai,

to assist in reaching the

travel trade





A new study by Oxford Economics

has revealed that Brand USA’s

marketing efforts are generating

a high return on investment (ROI)

and driving significant incremental

international visitation and spend.

The Oxford Economics study includes

an analysis of Brand USA’s work in nine

markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China,

Germany, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, and

the United Kingdom—and also considers

the organisation’s total impact in other

international markets where Brand USA’s

marketing was active during the year via

consumer, trade outreach, and cooperative

marketing programs.

The report shows the US DMO has driven

strong results over the past six years,

including record results in Fiscal Year 2018

(FY2018) for incremental international visitor

spending, tax revenues generated, and total

economic impact.

Highlights of the study show Brand USA’s

marketing efforts in FY2018 alone (October 1,

2017 – September 30, 2018) helped drive 1.13

million incremental international visitors to

the USA who spent US$4.1 bn on travel and

fare receipts with US carriers, and generated

US$1.17 bn in federal, state, and local taxes

and US$8.9 bn in total economic impact.

The resulting FY2018 marketing ROI was

32:1—meaning that every $1 Brand USA

spent on marketing generated $32 spent by

international visitors

Space Needle

with skyline and Mount

Rainier at sunset

© Seattle archives

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019



Downtown, Los Angeles

Artist rendering of the

Automated People Mover

train heading into Los Angeles

International Airport

Massive new transport project

launched in Los Angeles

Combination of an “automatic people mover” and new metro service

will put city and coast more than ever in reach of travellers

Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board arrives at ITB Asia

with some major travel trump-cards up its sleeve.

With the US$1.766bn Crenshaw/

LAX transit project due for

completion in 2020, travellers

arriving at LAX will have access to

the Metro Green Line, linking them

to downtown LA or Santa Monica.

The metro line will link to a new

“APM”, or automatic people mover

system, connecting passengers

to an Intermodal Transportation

Facility (ITF) via a Consolidated

Rent-A-Car Center (CONRAC),

on to the Central Terminal Area

of the Los Angeles International

Airport (LAX). The APM will be

approximately three kilometres

long and will include six stations –

three in the Central Terminal Area

and three outside of the airport at

other LAWA facilities such as the


The Automated People Mover

(APM) is an electric train system

on a 3.6km elevated guideway with

six stations total – three inside the

Central Terminal Area (CTA) and

three outside.

Los Angeles International Airport

(LAX) broke ground on the APM

project in March of 2019 and

anticipates that the system will

be operational in 2023. The

ongoing US$14bn transformation

to reimagine the LAX airport

experience across all terminals

also sees a new Midfield Satellite

Concourse being opened in 2020,

adding 12 new aircraft gates.

2018 – RECORD



Los Angeles reached an historic

milestone in 2018, welcoming

50 million visitors for the first

time ever and accomplishing the

destination’s ambitious tourism

goal two years early. The new

record is 1.5 million visitors higher

than 2017’s total – a 3.1% increase

– marking the eighth-consecutive

year of tourism growth for Los

Angeles. In surpassing 50 million

total visitors, Los Angeles set new

tourism records for domestic and

international visitation, hosting an

estimated 42.5 million domestic

visitors (3% increase) and 7.5

million international visitors (3.6%


Chinese visitors – many of whom

stay in the LAX area – continue

to drive international growth.

Los Angeles is their No. 1 US

destination with 1.2 million visitors

who spend US$1.6 bn – by far the

top international spenders. While

LA Tourism has four full-time

offices in China (Beijing, Shanghai,

Guangzhou and Chengdu), it is also

investing in emerging international

markets in Scandinavia, India and

South Korea.

Ernest Wooden Jr., President and

CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism

& Convention Board, stated that

hotels in the LAX corridor continue

to outperform entire LA County

market, with over 85% occupancy

in the first part of 2019. LA Tourism

positions the Gateway offerings

as a “fun layover” or a home base

before other travels with LA’s

highest concentration of affordable

hotels, including every major hotel


The transformation of downtown

LA has recently brought accolades

from National Geographic

Traveler magazine as one of the

28 friendliest neighbourhoods in

the United States. Established as

a leisure destination 11 years ago

when L.A. LIVE turned on the lights

at its expansive entertainment

complex, the home of STAPLES

Center is now visited by more than

20 million people a year. In the

past 6 years alone, 14 hotels have

opened or broken ground in DTLA,

including InterContinental Los

Angeles Downtown, NoMad Los

Angeles and forthcoming Hoxton


And there’s more to come. The

Academy Museum, opening

later this year in mid-city, will be

dedicated to the art and science of

movie-making and will boast stateof-the-art

galleries, exhibition

spaces, movie theatres, and special

event spaces.

We are also just months away

from the opening of Los Angeles

Stadium, the new, 70,000 seat

state-of-the-art stadium that will

be the epicentre of the sports

world and will host the 2022

Super Bowl, 2023 College Football

Championship, 2026 World Cup

bid, 2028 Olympic and Summer

Olympic Games


ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019




Paradise for Columbus…

and for today’s travellers as well

The Dominican Republic stands out with varied landscapes,

architectural treasures and cultural richness

The island nation of the Dominican Republic seduces

travellers in every season - just as it seduced Christopher

Columbus more than five centuries ago. He didn’t hesitate

to call it a paradise island when he landed on its shores

in 1492. Present this year at ITB Asia, one of the key

activities being promoted is that of MICE.

Salto Bayaguana

“The Dominican Republic

obviously has everything to

attract MICE groups, from

stunning white sand beaches

stretching over 600 kilometres,

majestic mountains cove- red

with lush forests and historical

and cultural heritage of great

beauty,” explains Tourism

Minister Francisco Javier García.

“But the Dominican Republic

also offers other surprises,

renowned cuisine, some of the

most popular rums, the world’s

best cigars and a wide range of

eco-tourism activities that will

help make your events unique.”

The Dominican Republic’s rich

heritage of Spanish, French and

African influences has told five

centuries of exciting stories to

its visitors immersed in a breathtaking


To offer visitors the best

welcome, the Dominican

Republic also provides more than

73,000 hotel rooms, consisting

of luxury resorts on the east

coast, historic establishments

in Santo Domingo, charming

hotels on the north coast and the

peninsula of Samaná and ecolodges

in the Barahona region

and in the centre.

In addition to the large hotels

that are well equipped with

meeting and reception rooms,

the capital, Saint-Domingue,

now boasts a new convention

centre opened in summer

2016 within the premises of

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Occupying 4,500 sq m, it houses

three large reception halls

measuring 1,300, 1,100 and

900 sq m respectively (for up

to 3,700 people), in a beautiful

environment overlooking the

Caribbean Sea and the capital’s



View of the coast near San

Rafael, Barahona


The country is known to have

the most diverse topography for

a single nation in the Caribbean

region. One can go from a sandy

beach to a cool, mountainous

town over 500 meters above sea

level in less than three hours. The

country’s coastline runs for over

1,600 kilometres in total, with

hundreds of accessible, breathtaking

beaches. More surprisingly,

the country is flanked by a series

of great mountain ranges, the

most important of which–the

Cordillera Central–is home to the

Caribbean’s highest peak: Pico

Duarte, sitting at 3,087 metres.

With 25% of the land consisting

of protected areas, most of which

are easily accessed, there are a

myriad of reasons to venture off

the beach. Explore lush valleys,

cloud forests, national parks on

and off shore, rivers leading to

waterfalls, offshore cayes where

turtles nest, ancient Taino caves

shrouded in thick rainforest,

or pine forests with near zero

temperatures. Discover natural

wonders like Lago Enriquillo,

a saltwater lake so large it

surpasses the size of Manhattan,

home to American crocodiles

and sitting at 40 meters (138 feet)

below sea level, the lowest point

in the Caribbean.

The Dominican Republic is home

to 29 national parks. Located

all around the country–from the

southwest to the north, east, and

center–these lush areas are as

much of a treasure as the island’s

multitude of sandy stretches.

Near the areas of Punta Cana,

La Romana, and Bayahibe, visit

the Cotubanamá National Park –

or Parque Nacional del Este -

home to impressive Taino caves,

and fresh spring waters. The park

includes the offshore islands of

Saona, the most important turtlenesting

site in the Dominican

Republic, Catalina, and the

sandbank of Catalinita, teeming

with coral reefs and frigate bird


Off the coast of Samaná, Los

Haitises National Park is one of

the most breath-taking sights

in the country. A series of giant

rocks jut out of the sea, thick

mangroves thrive in surrounding

waters, and brown boobies and

frigate colonies fill the skies. On

land, large Taino caves reveal

centuries-old petroglyphs and

pictographs. The park can be

reached by boat from Samaná or

by road from Sabana de la Mar,

which makes for an even more

unique adventure


ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019

© JeCCo







Singapore, Peranakan culture in Katong

Koon Seng Road with its colourful houses


328 Katong Laksa

It is considered as the original place to eat the

famous Katong Laksa. The owner has two

shops along East Coast Road. One Laksa soup

is generally sufficient to fill up a stomach but

they are also possibilities to buy dim sum…

> 216 or 51 East Coast Road

Birds of Paradise Gelato


Home-made ice creams with natural flavoured

from herbs, spices, fruits and flowers.

> 63 East Coast Road

Kim Choo Kueh Chang

Famed delicacies on sale as well as a range of

Peranakan souvenirs made as much as possible

in Singapore…

> 60 Joo Chiat Place

More than any other cultures in

Southeast Asia, the Peranakan

culture fully embodies Southeast

Asia’s ethnic mix. Peranakan

is a word derived from the

Malay language which means

“local-boom”. It generally

describes mostly Chinese

immigrants from Southern

China who settled originally

along the Andaman coast and

married to local people living

in Penang, Melaka, Singapore,

Java and Sumatra and then

to Siam. These communities

adopted local customs strongly

blended with their own Chinese

tradition. They are also often

described as Baba (for men)

and Nyonya (for women).

Singapore is one of the main

settlements of Peranakan

communities. They have been

living for over a century around

the Katong/Joo Chiat district,

a 15 minutes-drive from the

Singapore civic district. Once

filled with coconut plantations

and used as a weekend retreat

by wealthy city dwellers, Katong

developed into a residential

suburb by the early 20th century.

Neighbouring Joo Chiat area is

named after Chew Joo Chiat, a

wealthy Chinese landowner in

the early 20 th century.

All this area is an attractive

destination for visitors with

few tourists here. The district

is characterised by its unique

pre-war architecture. Along

the narrow streets, stand

side by side colourful twostorey

shophouses and

terrace houses with ornate

facades, intricate motifs and

ceramic tiles. Best examples

of Peranakan architecture are

the stucco-decorated twostorey

shophouses along Koon

Seng Road and Joo Chiat Road

among others. Koon Seng Road

is turning into a very beloved

photo and selfie motive with

its imposing houses painted

in bright- even psychedeliccolours.

Over the last decade, local

association of descendants

of Peranakan communities

have been fighting for the

preservation of the area

with a certain success. Large

stretches of roads are now

protected, while houses have

been renovated. Small gardens,

resting areas and signage

boards provide explanations

about landmarks.

Many of the old shop houses

are filled with restaurants

and coffee shops selling

local delicacies including the

famous Katong Laksa- a spicy

coconut milk-based noodle

soup enhanced with a sour

chili paste). It is worth trying

Kueh Chang (rice dumplings)

and other Nonya biscuits filled

with pineapple jelly. Kim Choo

Kueh Chang is one of the shops

where original Peranakan cakes

and Kueh Chang were locally

manufactured for almost 80

years. The Red Katong House

Bakery along East Coast Road is

an easily recognisable structure

with its all-red colour. The

house operated from 1925 to

2003 as a bakery with a Jewish

owner. It only reopened in 2016

but is no longer in the original


If one is interested to buy

Peranakan objects and visiting

a former Baba-Nyona original

house, the Intan House is

a perfect place to visit with

its collection of Peranakan

antiques. However, as it is only

open for private tours, booking

is compulsory (contactus@ 69 Joo Chiat


A two-hour sightseeing walking

tour is a minimum to enjoy the

area fully including a break

for a laksa, a coffee or an ice

cream. There is a small guided

tour available online under

the Singapore Tourism Board

website www.visitsingapore.


ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 10 October 2019

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