ITB Asia News 2019 Day 2 Edition

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17 OCTOBER 2019

















Thoyyib Mohamed

Managing Director, Maldives

Marketing & PR Corporation

Tourists can discover the life of

communities and enjoy an

authentic experience by living with

locals.. See page 11

New ideas… new players

ITB Asia 2019 showcases a more diversified

industry offering than ever

In a sector that’s in constant evolution,

ITB Asia this year again fulfils its role of

bringing to the fore the newest ideas in

the industry, and those companies that

are set to be the “big players” of tomorrow.

The diversity of national offerings at

the show has never been broader, and

increased competition and diversity

among industry professionals and

distribution partners adds to the

importance of the event. And while

the big global online and offline groups

continue to battle it out for market share,

newer players, such as – part of

the massive Ctrip group – are stepping

up to the mark in this part of the world

(see our exclusive trade interview, page

9). But what differentiates the offerings?

Face-to-face meetings between key

stakeholders, and conference sessions by

thought-leaders, enable attendees to gain

a firm understanding of who does what,

and why one size never fits all.

Blanca Menchaca

CEO, BeMyGuest

Edmund Weng

General Manager,

Singapore and Malaysia,

Our research shows just how

unique and complicated this

region in the world is to navigate.

See page 11




© Denis Barthel

Cecilia Tee

Managing Director, HelmsBriscoe

it’s all about providing the

experiential journey to delegates

attending MICE. See page 14

Europe’s cultural diversity, unique landscapes

and lifestyles continue to make it the most

visited continent in the world. According to

the UNWTO, the first half of 2019 has seen

sustained growth at 4%, in line with the world

average. Southern and Mediterranean Europe

topped growth, up 6% y/y in the first half, down

from 8% the previous year. This year’s show

has a very rich offering from Europe. Read

more from page 15.

Golubac Fortress, Serbia



Richard Barnes


Welcome to Singapore –

Asia’s thriving events hub

Yesterday’s yet again strong

participation by Singapore’s

leading political and DMO

figures in the opening ceremony

of ITB Asia underlined the

nation’s determination to foster

major events here.

And what better time to launch

a bespoke MICE event at ITB

Asia than when more and more

eyes are turning to Singapore

as a stable, safe place to host a

global event.

Singapore welcomed over

2.9 million MICE visitors in

2018, a growth of 12.1% from

the previous year. Over the

same period, tourism receipts

rose 7.2% to reach USD3.41

bn in 2018. The city state is

set to host notable events and

meetings such as Vidcon Asia,

Home Delivery Asia, Deloitte

All Hands Meeting and Bentley

Systems Year in Infrastructure

Conference in 2019. Vidcon is

the largest event for the global

community of online content

creators and will host the

inaugural Asia edition of the

show in Singapore.

The CWT Meeting & Events

Trends Report 2019 expects

global demand for meetings

and events to increase between

5-10% as events are considered

a key channel to facilitate

face-to-face engagement,

discussions, conversations and

networking. Together with local

businesses in Singapore, the

Singapore Tourism Board has

curated a selection of group

experiences under the new

“INSPIRE” programme. These

range from dining to social

networking, from attractions

to thematic tours, as well as

unforgettable team building

experiences, all tailored with the

MICE visitors’ profile in mind.

These incentives have been

designed to complement groups’

itineraries and provide exclusive

experiences that showcase the

best of what Singapore has to


It’s just one more reason to enjoy

your stay here in this incredible

Asian “garden state” as part of

your “ITB Asia experience”.


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(from left to right) Michael Müller, The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Federal

Republic of Germany, Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry

of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Education, Republic of Singapore,

and Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, touring the show floor

after the opening press conference

ITB Asia 2019:

tourism at the heart

of world peace and


The 2019 edition of ITB Asia kicked

off with a press conference at the

Marina Bay Sands, at which the

importance of tourism for peace

and freedom were underlined.

Michael Müller, The Governing

Mayor of Berlin, Federal Republic

of Germany, and Chee Hong Tat,

Senior Minister of State, Ministry

of Trade and Industry & Ministry of

Education, Republic of Singapore,

were guests of honour for the

official opening conference,

ceremony and stand tour.

Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe

Berlin, organisers of the event,

thanked Mr Chee for the support,

hospitality and cooperation the

Singapore government has shown

for the past decade: “I can say

that we feel at home here, we feel

welcome here, and you truly make

doing business a very passionate


The Minister outlined major moves

by Singapore’s tourism authority

in moving the industry forward,

and that Singapore was looking

for opportunities to develop and

optimise twinning strategies with

cities in the region as part of efforts

to attract new sources of tourists:

“It is not a zero-sum game with

cities in the region. We are not

just competing with each other for

tourists; what we actually can do is

to win together and offer tourists

who come to Southeast Asia

multiple destinations that they can

visit,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Chee said the

state’s initiative to introduce

“Passion Made Possible Privileges”

(PMPP) with Alipay this year has

resulted in a major rise in spending

by Chinese tourists in Singapore.

“Based on early results, tourists

using PMPP spend three times

more than the average Alipay user

in Singapore.”

The Governing Mayor of Berlin

spoke about the importance of

tourism as an industry to his

city, and to the world at large.

With his city celebrating the 30th

anniversary of the fall of the Berlin

Wall, he underlined the importance

of freedom of speech and freedom

of travel as key civil liberties, and

the fact that the people of Berlin

fought to gain back these rights

and to keep them into the future

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019











After being European Youth Capital

2019, Novi Sad in Serbia has been

chosen to be the European Capital of

Culture 2021.

Located along the Danube River, Novi Sad is

an attractive town with its old town blending

Hungarian and Serbian cultures in its classical

buildings. Serbia’s second largest city is likely

to gain more exposure as it has been named

European Capital of Culture 2021. It will be a

historical event as it will be the first time that a

city outside the European Union will hold the

title. The decision to give the title to Novi Sad is

a way for the EU to bring closer the cultural ties

with countries seeking full membership into the

European Union.

The programme concept of “Novi Sad 2021”

comprises four areas under the slogan “4 new

bridges”. Among 200 cultural events already

take place in Novi Sad every year, including

EXIT Festival, which is the laureate of the Best

European Festival Award in 2018. This music

festival attracted in 2017 over 200,000 visitors

from 60 countries - mostly young people -

looking at attending about 35 concerts. Fresh

content during the European City of Culture

2021 will be added to the long list of existing

festivals and events.

Marija Labović, CEO, National Tourism

Organisation of Serbia, says: “The title ‘European

Cultural Capital 2021’ proclaims the high cultural

value of Novi Sad. Visitors can feel and see the

unique multicultural character in the cityscape.

The nomination will act as an important tourism

magnet for the region and support the further

development of the city’s creative potential”.

The most recognised structure in Novi Sad is

the Petrovaradin Fortress, which dominates

the skyline and also offers scenic views of the

city. The nearby historic Stari Grad has many

monuments, museums, cafes, restaurants and

shops. The Fruška Gora National Park is another

popular destination to visit at only 20 km from

the city centre


The church of

the Name of Mary

Novi Sad, European Capital

of Culture for 2021

Asian travellers put Italy among the

top destinations that they want to visit

in Europe. Italy stands with France,

Germany and the UK among Asians’

favourites. It is estimated that Southeast

Asia generates over 200,000 arrivals per

year. ASEAN countries represent Asia’s

fifth largest source market after China,

Japan, South Korea and India.

ASEAN travellers tend to favour “Classic

Italy” circuits which generally include

Rome, Florence, Pisa, Milan and Venice.

In recent years, ENIT has seen Asian

demand emerging for the Amalfi Coast,

Sicily and Liguria.

Culture, gastronomy and shopping for

Italian brands are among the favourite

activities of Southeast Asians. In 2019,

ENIT promotes the luxury concept in

Southeast Asia by emphasizing a lifestyle

nurtured by high quality tourism.

In 2020, Italy will push various themes to

let visitors discovering new destinations

such as Parma named the Italian Capital

of Culture and Torino, the city of Italian



Duomo di Messina, Sicily, Italy

© Al Ianni

Manchester United to promote Malta

A partnership has been signed between

Manchester United and the Malta’s Tourism

Authority to promote the island as a tourist

destination. Manchester United has 1.1 billion

global fans and the Maltese Tourism Authority

will provide special travel offers exclusively for

the supporters of the Premier League club.

Commenting on this partnership, Malta

tourism minister Konrad Mizzi declared: “We

are working on several initiatives to increase

Malta’s brand awareness to attract tourists

from new, non-traditional markets as well as

more foreign investment and businesses, while

increasing Malta’s visibility around the world.”

“This partnership complements our tourism

strategy to consolidate our traditional markets

such as the UK, whilst targeting new markets

from Asia, where Manchester United holds a

very strong following.I strongly believe that

partnering with a club will help to establish

Malta as the number one destination to visit,”

added the minister.

In parallel, Malta will get exposure during home

matches at Old Trafford and on the club’s digital

marketing channels, social and printed media


Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi (second right) holds

a signed Man. United shirt alongside MTA Executive

Chairman Gavin Gulia (right), Communications

Co-ordinator Alex Cutajar (left) and Permanent

Secretary Ronald Mizzi.

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019


9 grows business…

and footprint

With triple-digit growth, the company is looming

as a new major OTA player

Anyone travelling around

Singapore at the moment

would not be able to avoid

noticing some very “visual”

public advertising for Part of the massive

Ctrip group, is

increasingly becoming a

household name – providing

one-stop travel booking

services in 19 languages

through their website and

mobile app. We asked Edmund

Weng, General Manager –

Singapore and Malaysia, Trip.

com how the company is

progressing in Southeast Asia,

and where the “sweet spots”


new kid on the block, and with a

number of established players in

the local OTA space, I think our

branding campaigns have very

effectively introduced to

Singaporeans. They are starting to

recognise as one of the

trusted travel brands they can rely

on for comparative pricing as well

as reliable products.

What are your greatest challenges

in your position at the moment?

The challenge as a new brand in

Singapore is to understand the needs

of well-travelled Singaporeans

whose travel needs are constantly

evolving. How do you make yourself

relevant to these consumers? This

is one of the constant challenges

that every travel brand faces in








SINGAPOREANS is currently experiencing

very rapid three-digit growth in

Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

In addition to this, we are seeing

very good growth opportunities in

Vietnam as well as the Philippines.

I think this growth is due to the

emergence of a growing middle

class, which has an increasing

travel budget.

You’ve been in your job for some

time – in fact celebrating five years

with the company this week. What

would you say are the highlights of

your time with the firm?

There are many highlights, but

the key one this year has been

the launch of our branding

campaigns in Singapore. As the

What kind of original promotions

are you doing to get the brand

name “out there”?

There are a few things that we have

done right this year. The first was

to take-on a brand ambassador –

Lawrence Wong – a Singaporean

actor who is quite famous here. We

are leveraging his popularity to build

the brand. We have crossborder

bus campaigns between

Singapore and Malaysia, and we

have had some very daring strategic

buys in the Metro and on buses, all

of this helps introduce our brand to

Singaporeans. This very aggressive

promotion aims to bring local people

to think, “I want to make my trip

purchases on”.

What are your goals for the next

three to five years?

Our key goal right now is to make

sure will be one of the topof-mind

OTAs for the region. We

truly want the company to become

a global OTA.

What would you say are’s

three key points of differentiation?

The first is our award-winning app,

offering complete ease of use for

bookings; we offer a very broad

range of products worldwide; and

while we have very, very competitive

pricing, we do not compromise on

the need for a very solid and robust

in-house customer service team.

How important is ITB Asia for in terms of talking to

partners and potential partners?

ITB Asia is a great networking event

that allows my colleagues and

myself to work with other partners

who like to develop our business

together. This event allows us to

network better, focus better, and

to introduce this new brand to B2B

partners as well. Like this, they can

grow together with us. That is why

the team has been investing in ITB

for the past two years. Come by our

booth. I believe it’s quite a stunner!

Edmund Weng

General Manager, Singapore

and Malaysia,

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019



Tours and activities

are coming online…

softly, softly



Managing Director, Maldives

Marketing & PR Corporation



CEO, BeMyGuest

The Maldives to

highlight local culture

Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation Managing Director

Thoyyib Mohamed met with ITB Asia News to discuss their

new marketing focus. We asked him what the Maldives are

looking to implement for tourism.

BeMyGuest are specialists in technology and distribution

for Asia’s travel experience industry - attractions, tours

and activities. On the eve of ITB Asia, Blanca Menchaca,

CEO, BeMyGuest, shared research at WIT Singapore into

the state of the tours & activities sector in the region, and

where it could be headed. We asked her how she gathered

her data.

The Maldives want to highlight

aspects beyond the luxury sun,

sand seaside image that we

generate in tourists’ mind to get

a more sophisticated, diversified

image. In fact we realized that 40

to 60% of travellers around the

world are looking for authentic

experiences. So we need to offer

more choices and this is what we

will implement from next year.

In which fields do you see

opportunities for tourism?

We think that our culture will be a

very good way to attract tourists.

When I talk about culture, it is

more about our way of life than

pure cultural sightseeing. We will

be promoting our gastronomy,

our textile patterns and our

ancestral traditions in daily life.

We also want to highlight our

environment commitment. The

Maldives will in fact turn singleuse

plastic free from 2023.

How can you integrate these

cultural aspects when most

tourists mostly go to resorts and

stay there?

The Maldives offer more than just

the “one island-one luxury resort”

product. Some tourists can live on

a small boat and then hop from

one island to another. People

looking for a more affordable

holiday can choose guest houses

or city hotels and get immersed

into the local culture. This way,

tourists can discover the life

of communities and enjoy an

authentic experience by living

with locals. The government will

help locals financially with new

tourism activities while we also

provide marketing support.

Are you looking at specific

marketing activities for the

Muslim market?

We have been a 100% halal

tourism destination for a long

time but we certainly need

to have a stronger marketing

approach to this market. This will

start from next year by appointing

a PR agency in Malaysia which

will market halal tourism to all

ASEAN countries

BeMyGuest is a B2B company,

partnering with multiple

brands who are reselling travel

activities, offline and online. This

gives access to a huge amount

of consumer data, from online

partners connected to our system

via API or consumer data from

offline agents selling over the

counter to consumers using the

agents’ marketplace. The data

has been coming in primarily

since 2016, so we decided to do

some research and analysis on

Asian consumer behaviour in this


There are huge differences

between the markets. Tell us

about your findings.

There are vast differences. Our

research shows just how unique

and complicated this region in

the world is to navigate. There

are cultural differences, language

differences, and currency

barriers. The behaviour of one

nationality versus another, even

though they may be neighbours,

is extremely different between

Singaporeans, Malaysians and

Indonesians, and even more so

for the Chinese.

How are local tour bookings


OTAs who are selling travel

activities have so much access

to technology, they know how

to optimise their websites, even

doing personalised offerings if

they have your data from social

media. But on the operators’

side there is still a huge gap. It’s

a sector that is just starting to

come online, from literally being

pen and paper business. OTAs

are contracting them on pen and

paper and them helping them

digitise their products through

their teams. But it’s on the

operators’ side where the biggest

opportunities still exist.

What are you primarily

presenting at ITB Asia?

We have a stand with three core

products. One is our software

– our reservation system for

operators. We also have an API

for distributors who want to sell

products, and we have an agents’

marketplace for offline buyers

who want to start buying online

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019



© Photogiap

Etihad Airways stand

at ITB Asia 2019

Etihad Airways celebrates its 15 th

anniversary of service to India

Etihad Airways, the UAE national carrier, is celebrating 15 years of service to India.

The airline’s anniversary coincides with the third visit to the UAE of India’s Prime

Minister, Narendra Modi.

Etihad took off in 2004 and the new UAE national

carrier immediately launched daily flights

between Abu Dhabi and Mumbai. By early 2005,

flights were also launched between Abu Dhabi

and New Delhi. Times have gone since and

Etihad has now one of the most comprehensive

network of Indian destinations out of the UAE.

The carrier currently operates 159 return

flights per week between Abu Dhabi and

Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi,

Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Mumbai and

Thiruvananthapuram. Through its Abu Dhabi

hub, Etihad connects each of these gateways

to international destinations throughout the

Middle East, Europe, the Americas, and Africa.

Since launching operations, Etihad has carried

more than 16.5 million passengers on its Indian


Etihad Airways Group CEO Tony Douglas said:

“India and the United Arab Emirates share a long

and strong economic, cultural and diplomatic

relationship. Etihad serves more destinations in

Finnair expands

further in Japan

India than to any other country, and we connect

India to the world via Abu Dhabi. Globally,

we employ more than 4,800 Indian nationals,

almost 25% of our workforce. Our commitment

is significant, and will continue to grow.”

The airline is continually increasing flights

to India and is adding newer, larger aircraft,

including its latest addition, the Boeing 787

Dreamliner, which serves cities including

Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad.

As a minority shareholder and key partner

of Jet Airways, Etihad was able to improve

international connectivity with India, via Abu

Dhabi. Even after Jet’s flights were suspended

earlier this year, Etihad worked consistently to

the revival of the Indian carrier. It continues to

explore opportunities to collaborate with other

local partners


A Bangkok Airways plane

carrying the Shopee logo







Bangkok Airways recently partnered

with Shopee, the leading e-commerce

platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

The airline opened its official store and

is offering special promotions including

free flights for Shopee users. Bangkok

Airways also introduced a new plane

design celebrating the cooperation

between both brands as well as the

campaign “2019 Shopee 9.9 Super

Shopping Day”.

“Shopee is our first e-commerce partner.

I am confident this partnership will

allow our airline to grow in e-commerce

business and help us reach new markets

by boosting our sales opportunities,” Mr.

Komkrich Ngamwongwirot, Account

Director - Europe, Africa, Middle East &

Online Area for Bangkok Airways, said.

Finnair is further adding capacity to Japan this

winter season and for the coming summer

season. The airline currently operates to four

destinations in Japan – Tokyo Narita, Osaka,

Nagoya and Fukuoka - and Japan is Finnair´s

largest market outside its home market Finland.

The airline expands this winter by adding a

fifth destination, Sapporo in Hokkaido. Flights

will start from December 15 twice a week and

last until March. The airline hopes to attract ski

fans to the destination as snow in Hokkaido is

considered one of the best in the world. For

the summer season 2020, starting at the end

of March, Finnair will launch a daily frequency

Finnair stand at

ITB Asia 2019

to Tokyo Haneda Airport, an airport located

close to the city centre. The new route will be

in addition to Finnair’s daily flights to Tokyo’s

Narita Airport.

“Finnair has operated over 35 years between

Japan and Finland. With the new flights, we

are happy to offer even better connections

between Tokyo and over 100 destinations in

Europe,” says Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial

Officer at Finnair


Bangkok Airways also continues to grow

its network. Earlier this year, the carrier

added a new route from Bangkok to Cam

Ranh/Nha Trang in Central Vietnam and

from Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang in

Laos. Next January, it will open a daily

flight from Bangkok to Sihanoukville in



ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019





The Maharaja Express’s

lush dining room

Luxury travel

– with a difference

Global consumers are becoming more affluent, stimulating

an increasing trend of disposable income invested into

experiences vs material goods. This also can be seen at ITB

Asia where the luxury travel offering is growing!

Experience royalty

in India’s luxury


What better way to travel around India than feeling like

a Maharaja in the comfort of a luxury train? There are

several high-end rail operators in India to choose from, all

offering a comfort matching the expectations of the most

demanding travellers.

The Maharajas’ Express goes

through many iconic tourist

hubs such as Delhi, Jaipur,

Ranthambore, Fatehpur Sikri,

Agra and Gwalior. This palatial

train has a capacity of 88

passengers and boasts cabins

furnished with royal-inspired

decor. Each suite is adorned with

rich tapestries and embellished

with semi-precious stones and

antiques. Packages available on

The Maharajas’ Express includes

the eight-day Indian Splendour

tour, with highlights of the trip

being a champagne breakfast

overlooking the Taj Mahal, a tiger

safari in Ranthambore National

Park, and a Royal Lunch in

Udaipur in Rajasthan. The service

runs from October to April.

The Deccan Odyssey is another

amazing luxury service. The

train’s interior design reflects

the various eras of the Deccan

Sultanates. Two gourmet

restaurants serve up specialty

dishes from every region the

locomotive passes through.

Socialising on The Deccan

Odyssey is also easy, with an

elegantly designed bar called

The Gateway stocked up to

help facilitate conversations.

Itineraries available include

among others the eight-day trip

‘Hidden Treasures of Gujarat’.

The Palace on Wheels is another

high-end rail service that is

certainly true to its name, boasting

fourteen beautifully appointed

wagons, each offering four twinbed

cabins with attached baths

and large windows to enjoy the

amazing countryside. On board

there is a comfortable bar and

lounge area, as well as two

separate restaurants that serve

delicious Indian, and in particular

Rajasthani, recipes but also

Chinese and European dishes.

For those who are interested to

enjoy the journey, the train starts

from Safdarjung Railway Station

in New Delhi every Wednesday

night and travels for a week

through Rajasthan. Stops along

the way include the iconic tourist

sites of Jaipur, Ranthambore,

Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and



Over the past years, the hotel

industry has undergone a major

transformation in its quest to

meet the changing definition of

comfort and elegance. Disruptors

included the rise of Airbnb, and

“glamping”, which expanded the

definition of luxury.

An extraordinary example of

this can be found right here at

ITB Asia, with Livo Arctic Luxury

Igloos (M25, Basement 2). The

company is developing an offer

of high quality accommodation,

restaurant, and event services

for arctic Aurora travel in Posio,

Finnish Lapland. The Aurora

resort, due to open in a little over

a year’s time, will be built to the

authentic ambience of Finnish

Lapland, which only “waits for

the Aurora traveller to arrive and

enjoy”. The “ultimate overnight

experience” will be ensured

with 10 suites and 30 luxury

igloos. Visitors’ privacy and fivestar

accommodation solutions

have been taken into account

in the resort’s architecture.

Aurora suites tailored especially

for disabled visitors are also

located in the vicinity of the

main building. Another luxury

Northern Lights player at ITB Asia

is Northern Lights Luxury Tours

Villa Säikkärä (M05, Basement 2).

An increasing number of

receptive tour operators are also

specialising in luxury travel. Here

in Singapore, Luxury Tours &

Travel Pte Ltd (F05, Basement 2),

a Singapore registered licensed

travel agency since 1985, offers

a comprehensive range of travel

services - Airport Transfers,

Daily Sightseeing Tours (Seat-incoach),

Worldwide Hotels & Air

Ticketing and Tour Packages.

Luxury India Holidays (J55,

Basement 2) describe themselves

as a small Boutique Travel

design store. The company is a

premium DMC with the prime

focus of providing “Beyond

Expectations” travel experiences

to India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri

Lanka, the Maldives, and Dubai

/ Abu Dhabi. The group arranges

all kinds of private tailor-made

travel arrangements for the travel

agent community (wholesalers

and boutique travel operators

worldwide) and actively supports

B2B, agent to agent relationship

Livo Arctic stand at ITB Asia 2019

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019



MICE: facing the new challenges

Kicking off the MICE Show yesterday at ITB Asia was Cecilia Tee, Managing Director of

HelmsBriscoe, a leading actor in meetings procurement and site selection, a look at the

industry’s “biggest challenges”. Being the first Asia Associate in a strategic leadership

position for the company, Cecilia’s responsibilities include creating awareness of the

HelmsBriscoe brand, enhancing the global hotel partnerships in the region, educating

and promoting the HelmsBriscoe global value proposition and increasing the regional

market share. We asked her to tell us a little more about her work.

Cecilia Tee

Managing Director, HelmsBriscoe







In 2018, we booked over 51,000 programmes

worldwide, to the tune of around US$1.4bn. We

help clients track cost savings, providing them

with analytical reports. Asia is very new for

us, but slowly and surely, we are building our

footprint here.

You were talking at the conference about

challenges facing the industry. Can you recap

what you would describe as the key challenges

going into the next few years?

We can always talk about challenges, whether we

are talking about the shift in generations Y and

Z, if we are talking about digitalisation, and so

on. Of course, with the mergers and acquisitions

of hotels, there will be a number of brands that

will be cutting or lowering commissions, but

at the end of the day we must face reality, and

obviously the clients will come first. People are

looking for experiential meetings these days.

As far as we are concerned, we need to focus

on what we do best, and that’s to serve our

customers. Clearly, we have to embrace change,

because change is the only constant. Whether it’s

responsible business, environmental, economic

or social sustainability, at the end of the day, it’s

all about providing the experiential journey to

delegates attending MICE.

What are your thoughts about the initiative of

ITB Asia to create this new MICE show?

Everybody wants to profit from the MICE

market, but the secret is really getting the right

people involved in the event, whether they be

the suppliers or buyers. I am happy ITB Asia has

spun this programme out and I wish them all

the best

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019





Europe as attractive as ever

Growth of inbound tourists continues in first half 2019

Europe’s cultural diversity, unique landscapes and lifestyle

continue to make it the most visited continent in the world.

According to the UNWTO, the first half of 2019 has seen

sustained growth at 4%, in line with the world average.

Southern and Mediterranean

Europe recorded 6% growth y/y

in the first half, down from 8% the

previous year. Central and Eastern

Europe saw 6% growth; a rise from

the previous year’s 5% increase.

Western Europe recorded a

modest 2% growth in arrivals in

the first half, down from 4% growth

the previous year. And Northern

Europe was flat (0%) in the first

half, compared to 1% in 2018.

Looking at statistics for the full year

2018, Europe remains a favourite

for passion-related travellers

looking at thematic experiences

such as history, slow adventure,

culture, city life, gastronomy, agrotourism

and sustainable tourism.

With 710 million international

arrivals (51% market share) and

revenues of 571 billion dollars

(39% market share), Europe

remains the world’s leading tourist

continent. Last year, the growth of

its arrivals reached 6%, according

to figures from the World Tourism

Organization, UNWTO.

The destinations in Southern

Europe and the Mediterranean

recorded the strongest growth

over the year, up 8.2%. Among

the countries with the best growth

rates were Turkey, which benefited

from favourable exchange rates

following the devaluation of its

currency. Greece continued to

attract tourists thanks to improved

air connectivity with China, the

Gulf area and the United States.

Malta was the top performer

among Mediterranean countries,

also benefiting from the strong

development of low cost carriers’

offerings. Arrivals for the island

were up by 14.3% in 2018. Tourism

in Italy also recorded an excellent

summer season (up 6.7%) as well

as Portugal, up by 7.4%. Only Spain

saw their arrivals stagnating.

Arrivals in Central and Eastern

Europe increased by 6%, with

Hungary, Armenia, Georgia,

Kazakhstan and Moldova

recording excellent performances.

These countries benefited from

the continuous growth of low-cost

carriers, particularly in Hungary

or Moldova. All the former

republics shaping in the past the

Yugoslavian federation recorded

double-digit growth rates last

year. Serbia was the top performer

at +14.2% followed by Bosnia-

Hercegovina at +14.1%, North

Macedonia at +12.2%. Slovenia at

+10% and Montenegro at 10.6%.

International arrivals to Croatia

grew by 6.7%.

Russia, while showing moderate

growth in arrivals in the first nine

months of 2018, saw its revenues

jumping by 40% under the positive

influence of the FIFA World Cup,

which was hosted in the country

from 14 June to 15 July 2018. Only

Ukraine saw total arrivals slightly

declining by 1.5%, a situation due

to political instability.

In Western Europe, international

arrivals increased by +6% in 2018,

driven by Belgium and France. Both

countries saw foreign tourists’

arrivals growing respectively by

9.1% and 2.9%. France remains

the largest tourism destination in

the world with over 89.4 million

international tourists in 2018.

Good weather conditions

favoured the Netherlands (up

by 6.1%) as well as Austria,

Germany and Switzerland with

respective growth rates in arrivals

of 4.6%, 3.8% and 5.2%. Even

tiny Liechtenstein recorded an

excellent year 2018 with total

arrivals up by 10.3%. Northern

Europe grew by around 1%. While

the growth in arrivals in Denmark,

Iceland, Ireland and Sweden was

strong, the United Kingdom saw

its arrivals declining by 3.5%

for the entire 2018. Obviously,

uncertainties around the Brexit

discouraged some travellers to

visit the UK despite the fact that

the Pound sterling value has been

declining. Meanwhile, tourist

revenues in the UK increased

last year by 2%. The number of

overnight stays also increased in

Latvia (+8.3%), Lithuania (+7.7%)

and Poland (+5.8%)












89.400 million

82.773 million

62.146 million

45.768 million

38.881 million

30.123 million

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019



No excuses to feel

bored in Frankfurt

in 2020

The city of Frankfurt, one of Germany’s major metropolis, has

plenty of highlights on offer all year round. 2020 will be no

exception to the rule!

Croatia stand at ITB Asia 2019

Croatia is to

become yearround


Croatia Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli believes that

the country is turning into an all-year round tourism


The year 2019 could generate a

new record for Croatia tourism

as foreign tourist arrivals

were up by 6% during the first

half of the year to reach 5.85

million and 22.93 million

overnight stays (+3%). The

good performance is due to

the increased appeal of Croatia

during the pre-season.

been made in many segments

of this sector by high-quality

approaches and models to

extend the tourist season.

“Ongoing extension of the

season was not happening

by chance and that it was

the result of endeavours by

all stakeholders in the tourist

trade,” he declared.

Frankfurt is worth a visit at

every time of year and not only

for businessmen coming to

Germany’s financial capital.

Many festivals and events are

announced for 2020.

Year 2020 already starts on 23

October as the Städel Museum

presents “Making Van Gogh”, an

exhibition focusing on the diverse

synergies between the painter and

the German art scene of the time.

Running until 16 February, 2020,

the exhibition will be featuring

artworks on loan from some of the

world’s most renowned museums

Every two years, a spectacular

light show known as the Luminale

lights up Frankfurt’s imposing

skyline. The next such event will

take place from 12 to 15 March

and includes the “Light Walk”, a

city tour of the illuminated sights.

Another important event is

the reopening of the Jewish

Museum scheduled for April

2020. The modernised museum

will be presenting a permanent

exhibition on Jewish history and

culture in Frankfurt as well as

temporary exhibitions.

On 1 May, the traditional German

Classic Eschborn- Frankfurt

cycling race takes place all across

the Rhine-Main region including


During the summer, fans of

electronic music can experience

the World Club Dome dubbed as

the world’s largest club music

show from 5 to 7 June. Not to

be missed is the much-loved

Apple Wine Festival, to be held

at the Rossmarkt from 7 to 16


The Main river will also be

serving as the backdrop for the

renowned Museumsufer Festival

(Museums’ Riverbank Festival)

which takes place from 28 to 30

August featuring countless arts

and crafts exhibitors, food stalls

and artists’ performances.

Last but not least, the Christmas

Market of Frankfurt is considered

one of the most beautiful around

the country. The 2020 edition will

be held on the Römerberg, St Paul’s

Square and the Hauptwache from

23 November to 22 December


“One of the main priorities in

the management of our tourism

policy is the strengthening of

traffic in the pre-season, and

the results of this year’s preseason,

like the past years,

show that we have managed

to reach growth of tourist

turnover by 20% in arrivals and

15% in overnight stays in the

last three years,” Cappelli said.

The minister is confident that

the post-season will experience

a similar evolution to the preseason.

Post-season for Croatia

runs in September and October.

During the third edition of the

annual conference “Can the

Croatian Tourism 365?”, which

brought together a number of

domestic and foreign experts,

Cappelli commented on efforts

to develop year-round tourism,

adding that headway had

One of the most efficient tool to

extend the peak tourism season

was supported, among other

things, by the government’s

decision to allocate over

US$10.4 million in the last

two years for an increase in

air traffic, “as a result of this,

the flight season has been

extended by more than 30 days

in both years, bringing more

and more tourists to hotels,

travel agencies, airports and

elsewhere,” said Capelli. Similar

measures will be implemented

in 2020. From Asia, Korean Air

offers a direct service between

Zagreb and Seoul


St Paul’s Church, Hauptwache and the

financial district in the background

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019





Saxony highlights

tourism assets

at ITB Asia

With its ideal location, halfway between Berlin and Prague, the Land of

Saxony in Eastern Germany is well positioned to welcome Asian travellers,

particularly the ones looking for an unusual cultural trip combined with the

discovery of superb landscapes.

Saxony might not be the best known German

destination for Asian tourists but the State is

a true gem. For travellers, the State is easy to

reach, half way by train or car from Prague

and Berlin with their international airports.

In Europe, Saxony with its cultural capital

Dresden and Leipzig, the city of music, is

Germany’s No. 1 destination for cultureminded


Saxony Tourism (TMGS) is promoting the

destination under the slogan “Saxony.

State of the Arts”. The State Tourism Board

positions the region as a top cultural

destination, focusing on arts, culture and

city breaks, castles and palaces, traditions

and crafts like Christmas as well as family,

wellness and active holidays.

Saxony Tourism emphasizes particularly

the state capital Dresden with its baroque

architecture, its world-famous museums,

its palaces and its spectacular opera house;

Meissen, one of Europe’s oldest centres

for porcelain production; Goerlitz, one of

the most beautiful renaissance cities in

Germany which often appears in movies;

Leipzig, an important centre for trade, art,

music, sciences and fairs of Germany. All

around Saxony, castles, palaces and gardens

are part of the great historic-cultural heritage

of Eastern Germany.

Saxony is also an increasingly important

destination for the MICE sector with fair

© Meissen

grounds in Leipzig as well as fairs in

Dresden and Chemnitz. Multiple congress

and convention venues in hotels but also

in attractions such as industrial heritage

buildings or even the Leipzig Zoo make a

choice difficult.

Incentive trips are possible in classical

and less classical sites. Saxony’s touristic

landscape provides the perfect background

for unique incentive offers ranging from

culinary delights at vineyards to flamboyant

castle events, activities in the diverse

nature such as hiking in the rocky Saxon

Switzerland. At Porsche Leipzig, delegates

will not only see a production facility but

enjoy also a conference centre for up to 680

guests at the Customer Centre, guided tours

around the production sites and experience

exciting driving events on the tarmac.

Saxony Tourism (TMGS) is the State Tourist

Board and Destination Management

Company for the Land and is dedicated

to helping professionals of the tourism

industry. TMGS is providing full service to

tour operators, MICE agencies and press with

general information tourist attractions and

topics of Saxony, convention and incentive

opportunities, itinerari


The porcelaine museum

in Meissen





Dresden and its majestic old town are home to a

cultural heritage of international renown. Every

year, hundreds of thousands of visitors are

captivated by the precious paintings, prestigious

orchestras and musical ensembles as well as

impressive historical buildings. One of the most

famous venues in the world is also located in

the city crossed by the Elbe – Dresden’s Semper

Opera House – or Semperoper. The magnificent

building dominates the Theaterplatz beside

the river Elbe, forming the centrepiece of the

historic old city. The original building, which

opened its doors in 1841, was designed by

Gottfried Semper, combining a late Classical

style with Renaissance elements.

The Semper Opera House is regarded as one of

the most beautiful theatres in the world, famous

for its outstanding acoustics and an international

reputation for artistic excellence carried both

by the house ensemble and by numerous

international guests. The world-famous Saxon

Staatskapelle Dresden is an orchestra which

looks back on 460 years of uninterrupted

music making, under the direction of its chief

conductor Christian Thielemann. This, along

with a powerful ensemble of singers, an

outstanding state opera choir, the Semperoper

Ballet, turn performances at the Semperoper

into impressive artistic experiences


The Semper Opera House at dusk

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019

© JeCCo








a string of exceptional museums

Since the 1990s, the Singapore government has turned the City-

State into Southeast Asia’s capital city of the arts. A dozen festivals,

10 theatres and some 25 museums have transformed Singapore

into a regional hub for artists and all creatives. On a rainy day,

that helps keep a visitor busy!

© Jack Lee

If you are a history buff,

head to the Singapore

National Museum’s

majestic structure.

Singapore’s oldest

museum was built in

1849, and was known

as the Raffles Library

and Museum. The

current structure was

inaugurated in 1887, and

reflects Victoria’s Britain

with its classical style.

The museum looks after

the history of Singapore

and of its people,

starting as far as 1299

until today. Large parts

of the exhibition look

at colonial Singapore

and the transformation

after the independence

through reconstructed

areas, documents,

pictures or objects. The

thematic galleries in the

upper floors look at life

in the early 20 th century,

school times from the

1950s to the 1970s as well

as the arts in the 1960s

and 1970s including the

Singapore film industry.

Facing the Fullerton

Hotel, the Asian

Civilisations Museum is

a must-do as it explores

all the arts and cultures

of Southeast Asian

people. The museum

has recently been

refurbished and present

now its collections

under various themes.

Religion is an important

one with the Museum

looking at the close

connections between the

arts, the believers and

the religion. Buddhism,

Islam, Christianity and

Hinduism are explored

in depth. Some other

rooms look at spirits in

Southeast Asia, trading

ports and chinaware. Be

careful in the museum as

you could spend hours

and hours discovering all

these treasures.

The National Gallery

Singapore is another

not-to-be-missed art

institution. Opened at

the end of 2015, the NG

is made of the merger

of the former City Hall

and former Supreme

Court. With 19,000 m 2

of exhibition space, the

gallery is home to the most

outstanding collection

of art of Southeast Asia

with over 10,000 items

starting from the early 19 th

century to contemporary

times. The perfect place

to discover Southeast

Asian art movements.

Late afternoon, go to

the rooftop with its

magnificent sunset over

the historical city while

having a drink on the


Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore

The National Gallery Singapore


National Kitchen

by Violet Oon


is located in the National

Gallery. The restaurant serves

typical Singaporean dishes and

has won many awards. Best to

reserve under

> 1 St Andrew’s Rd, #02–01

National Gallery, Singapore

Privé at the Asian

Civilisations Museum

is a casual all-day dining

concept offering indoor and

outdoor Asian or European

style dining with views of the

Singapore River.

> 1 Empress Place, Singapore

ITB ASIA NEWS • Thursday 17 October 2019

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