ITB Asia News 2019 Review Edition



28 OCTOBER 2019










ITB ASIA 2019:

More than 27,000

business appointments

Asia’s leading travel trade show shows strong growth,

making Singapore “world tourism capital” during three days

So Mara

Secretary of State, Cambodia

Ministry of Tourism

”Promoting secondary

destinations is easier than ever as

infrastructures are developing

quickly. See page 6


Faeez Fadhlillah

CEO and Co-founder,

Tripfez and Salam Standard

It is estimated that 1.2 million

jobs will be directly supported by

the Muslim travel segment out of a

total of 2.3 million globally by

2020. See page 9


As ITB Asia 2019 drew to a close on 18 October,

organisers reported that more than 27,000

business appointments were generated during

the show, up 7.4% on last year. Over 13,000

participants from 132 countries and territories

attended the record-breaking event over three


Held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre,

Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, ITB Asia is in

its twelfth year, and this edition’s conference

programme brought together thought leaders

from across the MICE, Leisure, Corporate, and

Travel Tech sectors. Across the three days

of the conference, attendees were able to hear

from more than 270 speakers from leading

companies such as, Expedia,

IBM, OYO China, TripAdvisor, Tujia and more.

For the first time, attendees also had a chance

to gain a detailed understanding of some of

the most important practices and trends that

are defining the future of MICE events at ITB

Asia’s inaugural MICE Show Asia, which had a

turnout well above expectations.

Yet again, ITB Asia was THE place to exchange

ideas and gain invaluable insights into the

future of the industry – as highlighted in our

exclusive interview in this edition with the

show’s organiser, Katrina Leung, Managing

Director, Messe Berlin (Singapore) - see page 11.

Katrina Leung

Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore)



Edison Chen

General Manager of Destination


There is no single standard

format for destination marketing.

You really need to understand

your market, and to have very

clear objectives. See page 12

As each year, in the review edition of ITB Asia

News, we take you for a virtual tour of the show,

spotlighting some of the top stands, and getting

important feedback from exhibitors about how

this year’s edition has gone. If you were here, it

will prompt some memories, and if not, you’ll see

what you missed – good reason to come to next

year’s show. See page 17



Richard Barnes


Looking into

the crystal ball

In this review edition, our

editorial section is dedicated to

looking forward in time, with a

brief preview of great things to

come next year.

Great interest is already being

expressed for ITB Asia’s

2020 edition, with more than

3,500 square metres of exhibition

space already booked for next

year’s show. Among others,

exhibitors will include Korea

Tourism Organisation, Ministry

of Tourism of the Republic

of Indonesia, Singapore

Tourism Board, Spain Tourism

Board and Visit Finland.

Progressing into its 13th

year, ITB Asia will again be

the premier meeting place for

the travel trade industry for

forging new partnerships and

strengthening existing business

relationships with the most

important players in the region.

MICE Show Asia will also

see its second edition taking

place at the Sands Expo &

Convention Centre at Marina

Bay Sands, Singapore from

21-23 October 2020, colocated

with ITB Asia. MICE

Show Asia is where the

incentive travel, meetings and

events industries come together

to connect and build the future

of MICE.

Meanwhile, the first ever

Travel Tech Asia 2020 will take

place alongside these shows

at the same venue. Organised

by Messe Berlin (Singapore)

Pte Ltd and supported

by the Singapore Exhibition

& Convention Bureau, the

inaugural three-day conference

will feature leading travel

brands and innovative start-ups

to attendees from all levels of

seniority across a wide range

of disciplines and sectors in

the travel industry. Travel Tech

Asia will provide the travel tech

community with a platform to

connect, create and enhance

the way people travel, meet and

do business, with technology.

The exhibition will be colocated

with ITB Asia 2020 and

MICE Show Asia 2020.


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MICE Show Asia’s first edition drew major interest from

industry professionals from around the region, and the world

Top brass smiling

after highly successful

ITB Asia 2019

Senior executives from

Messe Berlin, organisers of

ITB Asia, are all smiles after

an excellent 2019 edition of

the show.

Dr Christian Göke, Chief Executive

Officer, Messe Berlin said: “After

12 years, ITB Asia experienced

strong growth again. This new

record clearly demonstrates that

the show is well accepted by

the industry around the world as

the must-attend event in Asia.

Messe Berlin is delighted to

continue the strategic partnership

with Marina Bay Sands and

the Singapore Tourism Board

(STB) from 2020 to 2022. We very

quickly realised that not only could

we benefit from the extension,

but that the whole of the global

travel industry stood to benefit as

well. I am also pleased to know

that every year the team and all

partners involved work hard to

design ITB Asia to go right to

the heart of the industry. At ITB,

we build unforgettable emotions

that link our industry with its

people. Attendees can walk

away with new inspiration,

cultivating relationships and

tangible takeaways.”

Keith Tan, Chief Executive,

Singapore Tourism Board, said:

“Since its inaugural show in 2008,

ITB Asia has strengthened

the travel industry in Asia. It has

introduced new ideas, challenged

prevailing mindsets, and provoked

countless important connections

and discussions. The travel

industry in Singapore and

throughout Asia has benefited

immeasurably from ITB Asia. With

the extension of our partnership

with Messe Berlin (Singapore),

STB looks forward to growing

ITB Asia even further and making

it even more relevant to Asia’s

travel trade.”

Marina Bay Sands will see

a renewal of its partnership

with Messe Berlin (Singapore)

as the show’s official partner

hotel while the extension of the

relationship with STB will see

Singapore as the host country for

ITB Asia for the next three years of

the show.

George Tanasijevich, President

and Chief Executive Officer,

Marina Bay Sands, said: “Building

communities is core to what we

do at Marina Bay Sands. We are

privileged to have contributed to

the success of ITB Asia, which

has been staged at Marina Bay

Sands since 2014. We look

forward to another three years

of partnership with Messe Berlin,

offering creative solutions and

flexible venue spaces to elevate

the show experience and to

enable deeper engagements for

all delegates”

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019






So Mara

Secretary of State,

Cambodia Ministry of Tourism

Secondary cities

to relieve Cambodia’s

iconic destinations

from overcrowding

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala

speaking at the launch of the new

development of the cruise ship terminal.

Kenya wants to get a piece of the cruise tourism pie

according to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism &

Wildlife, Najib Balala.

With 80% of all tourist arrivals concentrated in just three

destinations – Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and

Sihanoukville along the Coast, the Ministry of Tourism is

looking at promoting secondary destinations to better spread

tourist movements across the Kingdom. “It is a necessity as we

also would like to spread tourism benefits to more destinations

in Cambodia,” tells So Mara, Cambodia Secretary of State at

the Ministry of Tourism.

Selected destinations are

Battambang, Kampot and Kratie.

The three cities will be at the centre

of a new promotion campaign by

the Ministry of Tourism to highlight

their unique appeal thanks to their

colonial and historical heritage.

A comprehensive rehabilitation and

promotion plan has been drawn

by Cambodia Minister of Tourism

in cooperation with the French

Development Agency (Agence

Française de Développement, AFD).

Due to their historic Khmer and

French colonial buildings, the

three provincial capitals are being

considered to attract visitors by

being promoted as second-tier

destinations. Just in Battambang,

the AFD and the Ministry list some

800 buildings offering a historical

interest. The smaller city of Kampot

has some 300 historical structures

while Kratie has a bit less but

is worth a visit as it is the only

historical town to be located along

the Mekong River.

The AFD intends to help with

the maintenance, repair and

preservation of the towns’ old

buildings and turn them into

“inclusive” tourist cities, with all

development activities set to be

carried out with the consideration

of the residents’ rights and benefits.

“Promoting secondary destinations

is easier than ever as infrastructures

are developing quickly. We have

for example better roads but we

also revived our train network.

Travelling by train is still in its

infancy but we feel confident that

it will increasingly be a reliable and

sustainable way to travel across the

country,’ adds So Mara.

“We hope that through the initiative,

Cambodia will be able to build and

strengthen its tourism sector to the

next level,” hopes the Secretary of


At a recent tourism event

in Nairobi, Kenya’s Cabinet

Secretary for Tourism &

Wildlife Najib Balala indicated

that Kenya wants to tap into

the tourism market. “Cruise

tourism is growing globally

and Kenya wants to be part

of it,” he indicated. According

to the State Secretary, over 76

million of travellers are going

on a cruise every year but so

far, sub-Saharan Africa has

been excluded from the cruise


The Kenyan government is

consequently investing into

cruise facilities. A new cruise

terminal in Mombasa is due

to open its doors before the

end of the year. The project

started in 2016 and represents

a total investment of 3.4

million US dollars. Mombasa

already receives a few cruise

ships every year but numbers

remain tiny with less than

5,000 arrivals. Mombasa is

a stop-over generally on a

route linking Zanzibar to the


Najib Balala said that there is

a strong potential to develop

cruise tourism along the east

coast of Africa towards the

Indian Ocean. This includes

Capetown and Durban in

South Africa, Madagascar,

Maputo and Beira in

Mozambique, Zanzibar in

Tanzania, the Seychelles,

Mauritius and finally

Mombasa. “We need not only

to have Mombasa working

well but also Zanzibar or

Durban to be sure that safety

and good standards are

available for cruise liners,”

highlighted the Secretary of

Tourism and Wildlife.

The new Mombasa cruise

terminal will be a game

changer to the local tourism

industry as it will help attract

more international tourists

to the country. According to

Najib Balal, Mombasa could

in the future attract as many

as 140,000 tourists per year as

highlighted by a report of the

Kenya Ports Authority about

cruise tourism potential. The

study was released in 2015

by Tourism and Transport

Consult International

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019





happiness at

ITB Asia 2019

National tourism authority Visit Finland invited ITB Asia

visitors to find out the secret behind being the happiest

country in the world and to explore the country’s all year

round offering, either on a stopover or a longer stay.

Tin Aung during a

presentation to tour


Automated technology

with personalisation

key to competing with


For traditional travel agents and tour operators, providing

travellers with premium, personalised service remains the best

way to compete with big online enterprises. Tin Aung, CEO of

Sugati Travel believes exceptional service alone is no longer

enough but into digital transformation.

According to STR’s 2019 Traveller

Panel survey the top reasons

travellers choose to book through

an OTA instead of through a

traditional travel agent or tour

operator, are convenience, access

to discounts and promotions, and

the ability to compare deals. OTAs

growing foothold over the market is

in large part due to the increase in

mobile bookings. Mobile bookings

made up 39% of OTA sales,

compared with only 10% for other

suppliers and agents, while 80% of

all last-minute bookings are made

from a mobile.

However, excellent customer

service experiences and word

of mouth recommendations are

where smaller competitors can win

the war.

How can travel agencies and tour

operators compete with such large

scale online companies? According

to Tin Aung, the answer lies in

online technologies.

Accessible anywhere, anytime, a

secure cloud based solution can

add value, give better insights into

business, and help gain efficiencies.

The right technology can not only

help travel businesses compete

with big players, but also win the

loyalty of their customers, build

their brand, and grow their revenue.

The key to a successful digital

transformation is automation. This

requires a sleek, holistic technology

solution that reduces the need

for multiple systems. An end to

end solution is the best way to

simplify your processes and cut out

unnecessary actions. Technology

should help generate and assign

leads, respond to enquiries, quickly

build itineraries, handle customer

bookings, manage your suppliers

and inventory, organise your

payments, and report back to your

team on everything.

The real time-saving efficiencies

for travel agents and tour operators

using systems like Sugati, lie

then in the creation of branded,

personalised itineraries

For the second year in a row,

Finland has been named the

happiest country in the world,

according to the World 2019

Happiness Report. Finns mainly

attribute their happiness to their

close connection with nature.

The country’s many lakes, rivers

and extensive forests provide

pure ingredients and places

for relaxation, and all this can

be enjoyed by both locals and

travelers alike. Finland offers

an alternative to crowded travel

destinations, and seeks to

nurture, conserve and preserve

its natural environment, as

well as the Finnish culture and

lifestyle for years to come.

How to sell then the happiness

concept to Asians? “We just

want to convey to Asian people

a simple message: come

to Finland, slow down and

reconnect with nature with us.

They will see the big difference

of our lifestyle with the hectic

pace of their life here in Asia,”

said Sari Hey, PR & Media

Manager Asia and Australia

for Visit Finland during ITB

Finland has been named the

happiest country in the world

Asia. “I am confident that Asian

travellers will then understand

why we feel happy,” she adds.

A campaign called “Rent a Finn”

is an original response to the

need of resourcing for travellers

looking for authenticity, local

experience and the search

of serene nature. Finland

proposed during the year the

possibility for visitors to meet

and live with Finns and to

discover Finnish nature with a

local guide. “The program will

be finished by year end and will

be reviewed in a different way,”

says Sari Hey.

Finland is turning increasingly

popular for Asian travellers.

During the first eight months,

Asian arrivals grew by 10%

to reach 780,500 nights. The

fastest growing market in

Southeast Asia was Malaysia,

up by 76%, followed by

Thailand, up by 26%

© Lauri Rotko

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019









Abu Dhabi’s new

Midfield terminal

Countdown starts for

Abu Dhabi’s spectacular

new Midfield Terminal


Abu Dhabi will finally have an air terminal matching the best facilities

in the region. The brand new Midfield Terminal Complex at Abu Dhabi

International Airport is ready to open by the end of the year.

Messukeskus Helsinki and Helen Ltd

have opened one of the largest solar

power plants in Helsinki on the hall

roofs of the Messukeskus Helsinki,

Expo and Convention Centre. The solar

power plant started operation at the

beginning of September 2019.

July saw the Abu Dhabi International

Airport authorities conduct full-scale

operational trials at its Midfield Terminal

Complex as the glitzy facility is due to

open to the public by the end of the year.

Once opened, the terminal will be one of

the largest in the world and will bring a

true revolution for passengers flying from,

to and through Abu Dhabi with enhanced

comfort and some 28,000 sq m of

shopping and F&B, an integrated 3-star

hotel, as well as leisure facilities. The

terminal will serve as the main hub for

the UAE national carrier, Etihad Airways.

Spanning 742,000 sq m – equivalent to 21

football fields - the US$2.94 bn terminal

will be able to handle more than 8,500

people per hour and will increase the

airport’s capacity to 45 million passengers

a year. Last year, Abu Dhabi International

Airport handled over 26 million

passengers while its current terminals

have a theoretical capacity for 15 to 18

million passengers.

While the first phase of the terminal will

cater to 30 million passengers, a second

phase is already planned for a total

passenger output of 60 million. Ultimately,

the Midfield Terminal Complex will be

able to accommodate up to 80 million


The terminal offers a spectacular design

with a curved roof that appears to float

across 18 steel arches spanning over

180 meters. It will provide 156 checkin

counters and 48 self-service kiosks,

30,000 sq m of airline lounges and 65

aircraft gates along four piers starting

from the central unit. The airport will

guarantee a transfer time of 45 minutes

for passengers and their luggage. The

baggage handling system will be able to

process almost half a million bags a day

Messukeskus Helsinki Expo and Convention

Centre celebrated its 100th anniversary this

year and is Helsinki’s largest conference

and exhibition infrastructure. It welcomes

annually some 65 exhibitions and 1,500

meetings, congresses and galas with more

than a million participants.

The installation of solar panels comes as part

of the ambitions of Messukeskus to become

110% carbon neutral within ten years. A

plant with 1,589 solar panels has thus been

installed on the rooftops of halls 4 and 5 of the

centre. Estimated annual production in the

initial stage is 445 MWh, corresponding to the

annual consumption of more than 200 onebedroom

flats. By the end of the year, about

300 more panels will be installed.

“The solar power plant will increase the share

of renewable energy and decrease the cooling

need of our premises as the solar panels

also have a shading effect,” says Managing

Director Anni Vepsäläinen

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019









Faeez Fadhlillah

CEO and Co-founder,

Tripfez and Salam Standard

How to seduce

the Muslim travel market

Faeez Fadhlillah is the CEO and Co-founder of Tripfez & Salam

Standard, a state-of-the-art travel portal dedicated to the rise

of global Muslim travellers. Named as one of Forty Individuals

who shaped Southeast Asian E-commerce By E-commerceIQ,

Faeez is also a speaker at many international travel conferences

and seminars. Faeez was elected as Vice President of MATTA,

Malaysia’s largest travel association for the term 2015 -2017

and currently serves as the Deputy Honorary Secretary General

for the term 2017-2019. He highlights for ITB Asia News what

are the trendy destinations for the Malaysian Muslim outbound


For the Malaysia outbound market,

the ever-popular destinations of

Korea, Japan, Western Australia,

Thailand and Indonesia do not

slow down and are becoming

increasingly Muslim-friendly

destinations. The Balkans and

Russia are also growing.

What would you say are the key

trends influencing the market?

The most recent news about Saudi

Arabia offering tourist e-visas for

citizens of 49 countries, including

Malaysia, has had a big impact on

the market and we are finding new

ways to take advantage of this. We

already had some strong interest

from our past clients wanting to

perform Umrah and also getting

a chance to explore the beauty

of Saudi Arabia. There has been

particularly strong interest from

women who can now perform

Umrah without a mahram.

There are also some interesting

social trends, especially from

the attitude of millennial Muslim

travellers. Over the past 5-10

years the access to information

online about Halal destinations

has increased - leading consumers

to become more demanding

for a destination to meet their

needs. Unfortunately, this means

destinations that have not

effectively showcased their Halalfriendliness

suffer in the perception

of Muslim travellers. This is where

we intervene to provide that

knowledge that we have built over

the years for these customers, really

enabling even the fussiest travellers

to explore the world.

According to the Salam Standard

Global Economic Impact of Muslim

Tourism report, Asia benefits from

inbound Muslim travel expenditure.

It is estimated that 1.2 million jobs

will be directly supported by the

Muslim travel segment out of a

total of 2.3 million globally by

2020. Asia will also play a bigger

role in outbound Muslim travel

expenditure, with Malaysia,

Indonesia and China combined set

to contribute 17% of the total global

spend, outpacing Europe by 2020.

So clearly we see a huge potential

for this segment of travel.

How is your business changing or

evolving over time?

Business has been amazing! The

growth of the Muslim travel space

has been phenomenal.

The general consumer follows

global trends, with a higher

expectation for unique experiences

and personalised service. Not

only that, they demand instant

gratification - with an expectation

that we are always a quick message

away. The way we communicate

with customers is changing, with

the need for high-quality content.

This has meant the cost of marketing

has increased and the preference of

travelers has also shifted towards

a more unique content and


How are you leveraging ITB Asia

as a platform for contacts?

It is a very important show as we

meet leading tour operators from

all around the world. The show

provides a great way to find new

ideas and destinations, but most

importantly discover suppliers

that can help cater to the Halal

market and also meet NTOs. In the

first half of 2019 we successfully

collaborated with several NTOs

including HKTB to bring more

Muslim travellers to Hong Kong.

We’re definitely looking forward to

more potential collaborations for an

NTO to promote their destination

on our platform

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019



Positive feedback,

positive outlook

Exclusive interview: Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore)

The gates are closed and, as

they say in the industry, “it’s

all over bar the shouting”.

Indeed, there seems to be

a lot to shout about after

this edition of ITB Asia.

We asked Katrina Leung,

Managing Director of Messe

Berlin (Singapore), ITB Asia’s

organiser, to give us her

thoughts on the show.

This year’s ITB Asia has been

exemplary for numerous reasons.

First and foremost, thanks to the

expansion of the show to two floors,

and the launch of MICE Show Asia,

we have spread our wings – taking

on new floor space in the Marina

Bay Sands Expo and Convention

Centre. Now in its twelfth year, ITB

Asia counted over 1,300 exhibitors

and more than 1,250 buyers.

This year’s show attracted ever

widening international interest and

participation. Over 110 National

Tourism Organisations (NTO) and

Regional Tourism Organisations

(RTO) exhibited this year, including

first-time appearances for NTOs

from Armenia, Czech Republic,

Malta, Russia and the Balkan

States – Macedonia, Montenegro

and Serbia, and RTOs from Busan,

Frankfurt, Los Angeles and more.

remains solid and strong overall,

especially here in Asia-Pacific, we

continue to see strong growth in

international tourism.

What were the biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge is always

to find a near-perfect equilibrium

between all the elements that

make up an efficient trade show.

That means not only the balance of

exhibitors, conferences and other

events that make up the show,

but also the planning and logistics

that ensure it runs as smoothly

as possible. The new registration

zone and enhancements to

security were among the initiatives

we introduced this year. Also,

ensuring the new exhibition area

worked efficiently hand-in-hand

with the lower basement area was

very important. I congratulate my

team who managed to make it

work beautifully.





Katrina Leung

Managing Director of Messe Berlin


How did the Inaugural MICE

Show Asia go?

It was launched due to the fastgrowing

demands of the MICE and

corporate travel sectors. This MICEdedicated

show really strengthened

the MICE component of the show,

and attendance was stronger than

expected. Attendees were able to

get forecasts for the global meeting

and events industries in 2020, as

well as how digital transformation

is impacting the industry.

What were the main things that

surprised you this year?

Throughout the show, I was

happily surprised to see such a

positive atmosphere, and positive

industry sentiment, despite recent

events that have somewhat rocked

the industry. The travel industry

Which speakers stood out from

the conferences?

It’s impossible to name everyone,

as there were many important

speakers and conference sessions

that delivered essential ideas and

information in different fields. The

keynote line-up,

and IBM effectively addressed the

industry’s common challenges such

as readying businesses for their

next wave of growth; rethinking and

reinventing distribution strategies;

and how the travel industry can

capitalise on the digital revolution

to succeed. Then there was Agoda,

Expedia, Google, TripAdvisor and

Wego, who discussed actions

to adapt to the ever-evolving

market. On the final day of the

show,, OYO China,

and Tujia led the conversation on

maximising opportunities to meet

the needs of a new generation of

Chinese travellers.

What will be different next year?

A new show! Messe Berlin

(Singapore) is launching ITB India

2020 at the Bombay Exhibition

Centre in Mumbai, India, from

15 to 17 April 2020, with support

from the Indo-German Chamber

of Commerce. The three-day

business-to-business travel trade

show and convention will focus on

the Indian travel market including

MICE, corporate, and leisure travel


New next year here in Singapore

will be Travel Tech Asia 2020 –

alongside ITB Asia and MICE Show

Asia from 21 to 23 October 2020.

The inaugural conference will

feature leading travel brands and

innovative start-ups to attendees

from all levels of seniority across

a wide range of disciplines and

sectors in the travel industry

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019









Edison Chen

General Manager of Destination Marketing,

Honing the fine art

of destination marketing destination marketing specialist Edison Chen talks about

present and future trends and needs

As travellers are becoming more tech-savvy, distracted,

and consequently more demanding, destination marketing

professionals and travel agencies are brainstorming new

strategies – from vertical marketing, AI-powered personalisation,

Vlog and more – to break through the marketing clutter and

capture the consumers’ attention. To this end, Edison Chen,

General Manager of Destination Marketing for, was

present at ITB Asia conference, speaking on “New” Destination

Marketing. We spoke to him after the session about some of

the key takeaways.

People have to look at a broad

range of topics, including branding,

content development, product

development, big data and PR. You

have to look at how to bring all

these elements together to come

up with a comprehensive plan to

promote the destination and to

reach all the objectives. This topic is

becoming increasingly important.

A number of tourism organisations

are spending a lot of effort on

destination marketing. Some are

doing a good job, but some do this

in a very simple way, setting very

basic objectives, such as number

of visitors, and other than that they

don’t care much about anything

else. But as a destination, you

cannot just focus on increasing the

number of visitors in a short space

of time. You have to look at issues

like aviation, awareness, services,

content, whether you are talking

to the right audience or not… and

if you are not doing this planning

at an early stage, it will have a

bad impact in the long run. We are

always exploring at new methods

to do destination marketing. Five or

six years ago, it was all about doing

advertising in the general media,

for branding. But nowadays, you

are getting data and technology

involved, AI, a lot of analysis, and

product customisation. So, when

the market changes and consumer

behaviour changes, the way of

doing destination marketing also

has to be changed.

Do you see any particular best

practices in this respect?

From my experience, I can cite

Tourism Australia, L.A. Tourism

Board and Visit California, and in

this region, Tourism Indonesia, and

the Singapore Tourism Board. They

are doing a very good job, focusing

on different areas, not just numbers

of travellers. They are also looking

at technology improvement,

service improvement, and they are

not just promoting one destination.

They are not just promoting one

single destination; they are thinking

ahead three or five years, to the

new destinations and experiences.

How do you help DMOs with their


That’s a good question. A lot of

people think Ctrip and

is just an online travel agent.

But in fact, we are more than a

travel agent. We are also a media

platform, we are also a technology

company. We also have the content,

and we have the product team. Our

job is to see how to integrate all

the internal resources, and to work

with all the tourism organisations

or destinations, to ensure our

resources are aligned with their

objectives. We run campaigns and

activities in partnership with DMOs

in different areas, including media

branding, product development,

big data analysis, content and

social media activities. We integrate

online and offline, to ensure we

give 360° coverage, not only in B2C

but also sometimes in B2B. In this

way, we can promote a destination

in a very comprehensive way.

What would you say is the key

takeaway from your presentation?

There is no single standard

format for destination marketing.

You really need to understand

your market, and to have very

clear objectives. Then you can

choose the right strategy, the right

methods, and the right channels

to run the destination marketing.

Don’t expect to simply find a model

or format for running destination

marketing. Customisation, not just

for travel products, but also for the

destination marketing plan is very


ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019






to be the climb

International arrivals up 4% in

the first six months of 2019

International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) grew 4% in

January-June 2019 compared to the same period last year,

according to the available data, supplied by the UNWTO.

The organisation estimates that

destinations worldwide received

671 million international tourist

arrivals in the first half of 2019,

about 29 million more than in

the same period of 2018.

This represents a continuation of

the 5% growth recorded in 2018,

though more in line with the

annual average of 4% of the last

ten years (2008- 2018).

Growth was led by the Middle East

(+8%) and Asia and the Pacific

(+6%). International arrivals in

Europe (+4%) grew in line with the

world average, while Africa (+3%)

and the Americas (+2%) saw more

moderate growth.

The first half of the year accounts

for about 45% of total annual

volume of international arrivals

and includes the winter season

in the Northern Hemisphere, the

summer season in the Southern

Hemisphere, the Chinese New

Year, Easter and the start of the

summer season in the Northern

Hemisphere, among other peak

travel periods.

Growth to date is in line with

UNWTO’s forecast of 3% to 4% for

the year 2019, as reported in the

January edition of the UNWTO

World Tourism Barometer.

A total of 130 countries had, at the

time of the UNWTO’s September

report, so far reported data on

international tourist arrivals for

three or more months of 2019. Of

these, 72% reported an increase

in arrivals and 28% posted

a decrease.


International passenger

traffic demand grew in line

with international arrivals.

International air passenger traffic,

measured in revenue passenger

kilometres (RPK) saw a similar

pattern to that of international

tourists, with a 4.7% increase in

the first half of 2019, according

to the International Air Transport

Association (IATA). All regions

contributed positively to the first

half of 2019 growth rate, most

notably Asia and the Pacific,

Europe and to a lesser extent

North America.



Confidence in global tourism

remains positive yet cautious with

signs of more moderate growth

for the remainder of the year,

according to the latest UNWTO

Confidence Index.

Global economic growth

remains subdued, according

to the International Monetary

Fund’s World Economic Outlook

update of July 2019. Global

growth is projected at 3.2% for

2019, improving to 3.5% in 2020

(0.1 percentage point lower for

both years than in the April 2019

WEO forecast).

Growth in advanced economies

is projected at 1.9% in 2019, with

positive output in the United

States but weak growth in the

euro area including a potential

risk of recession in Germany,

the world’s third largest tourism

spender. Emerging markets are

projected to grow at 4.1% in 2019,

with slightly slower but still robust

growth in China and India, and

sluggish performance in major

Latin American economies.

Against this backdrop, oil prices

(Brent) have eased back from

the most recent high of USD67

per barrel according to the

International Energy Agency (IEA)

and oil demand growth estimates

have been revised downwards for


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.

Uncertainty derived from Brexit

could lead consumers to adopt

a wait-and-see attitude, which

could affect travel bookings. As an

indirect impact, the depreciation

of the pound sterling and a slower

UK economy could lead to rising

demand for more price competitive

destinations outside the European


While the ultimate form of Brexit

remains highly uncertain, Brexit

extension provides certainty that

all existing travel arrangements

with EU will continue until at

least 31 October, according to

the Association of British Travel

Agents (ABTA). The European

Parliament has confirmed that UK

travellers would not need a visa

to travel to the EU after Brexit

for short-term business or leisure

trips, even if the UK leaves without

a deal. UK citizens will be able to

visit the EU for up to 90 days within

a 180-day period without a visa

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019



Communities at

the centre of Sabah

Tourism promotion

Snowball girls at the

Moscow stand during ITB

Asia 2019

Moscow presents

its new attractions

at ITB Asia

Noreda Othman

General Manager, Sabah Tourism

The impressive Moscow booth did not only showcase

charming Russian girls dressed as Snowballs (the Russian

Tea Cakes) it also emphasized the new attractions of the

Russian capital for Asian tourists during ITB Asia.

Easy visa requirements and many

flights connecting Moscow to all of

Asia makes the Russian capital an

increasingly attractive destination

for Asian travellers. Moscow

offers first class accommodation,

shopping, gastronomy and a

wealth of attractions with its

museums or its opera houses.

The city added this year more

attractions to the public which

were presented at the show.

The Moskvarium just opened its

doors and is considered Europe’s

largest aquarium as well as one of

the best centres of oceanography

and marine biology. It is home

to 12,000 aquatic animals living

in some 53,000 square meters

of space. Visitors are able to

learn about marine life with

sharks, seals, turtles, caimans,

octopuses and hundreds of fish

species living in recreated natural

landscapes. The Moskvarium

integrates a knowledge centre

for children to discover ocean life

with a special Russian aquarium

exhibition which highlights the

endangered species in the country.

A big attraction is the Water

Show Theatre where sea animals

participate in shows with circus

artists and stage actors. There is

also a special centre to learn how

to swim with dolphins.

Another brand new attraction

is Panorama 360, the highest

observation deck in Europe.

Located 4km away from the

Kremlin in the district of New

Moscow City, the observation deck

is part of the Federation Tower,

Mosvow’s tallest building at 374

meters. The observation deck is

on the 89 floor of the building and

offers the best possible view of the

Russian metropolis. The attraction

is not only about admiring

Moscow, it integrates various

attractions such as a virtual 3D

exhibition, the highest ice-cream

factory in the world, as well as the

highest chocolate factory in the


Sabah Tourism in East Malaysia was among the three

Malaysian States present at ITB Asia. For Noredah Othman,

General Manager Sabah Tourism, the State presence at the

show was important in order to meet regional as well as

Australian buyers.

“European arrivals are stagnating

as we lack direct flights to Kota

Kinabalu. International arrivals

are mostly driven by strong

growth from both China and

South Korea. Sabah is turning

into a very attractive destination

for both markets due to their

close proximity. With China we

have some 100 weekly flights,”

Othman explains.

China is generating over 35% of

all foreign arrivals and the growth

continues this year unabated.

“Chinese travellers are

generating revenues for many of

our communities, especially for

East Coast destinations,” Othman

adds. Most of the Chinese

travellers stay in Kota Kinabalu

and the islands far from the

regional capital city or along the

East Coast.

Empowering communities is

turning into an important tool for

tourism marketing in the State.

“We feel that tourism belongs

to local people. We have 26

districts in Sabah and we created

a Tourism Action Committee in

each of them. The TAC identifies

the tourism product and we then

help them to market it to the

right target, help local people

understand tourists’ expectations

and manage their tourism

activities properly,” describes

Noredah Othman.

This strategy towards local

communities is paying off.

According to Othman, positive

results have been registered in

areas such as the Kadamaian

area in Kota Belud, now well

known for water adventure and

rafting; Kiulu in Tuaran which

developed farmstays; or Ranau

with rafting products

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019








Dorothea Schäffler

International Marketing, Saxony Tourism (TMGS)

Growing Asian

inbound markets

to Saxony

For Dorothea Schäffler, International Marketing for Saxony

Tourism (TMGS), Asia remains a priority market and ITB

Asia was the perfect place to highlight what the Eastern

German state can provide in terms of tourism attractions

and activities.

Asia is a fast growing market

with China and Japan being our

top incoming Asian sources. We

also see a growing number of

Southeast Asian travellers. We

are lucky to be well positioned

near the borders of both the

Czech Republic and Poland,

halfway between Berlin and

Prague. This makes our region

an ideal stop for multi-country

circuits,” she explains.

Culture remains the top

motivation to visit Saxony with

its historical towns, palaces,

cultural institutions as well as

local traditions. Local christmas

markets or classical music

in prestigious locations such

as the Semper Opera House

in Dresden are part of the

permanent marketing offer of

the Land of Saxony.

“We however know that we

also need to adapt our image

to specific wishes of Asian

clientele. Luxury products

are for example part of our

communication towards Asian

markets. We emphasise the visit

of Meissen and its world-famous

porcelain manufacture, the

luxury watch brand Glashütte

and also the production sites

for Porsche and BMW that can

be visited. We promote as well

general shopping in Dresden

and Leipzig,” adds Schäffler.

In the coming years, Saxony

tourism representatives want

to emphasize more secondary

destinations, particularly

smaller cities which often

correspond more to the

Asian perception of romance.

“Bautzen or Goerlitz are true

architectural jewels. They are a

perfect setting for the wedding

market for example’, tells


This year, UNESCO listed the

Ore Mountain Mining Region

(Montanregion Erzgebirge)

on its world heritage list with

its 800-year old industrial

heritage landscape. The area

has numerous monuments

and collections related to the

historic mining industry of

the region. It is also a chance

to discover the traditional Ore

Mountain folk art produced

for Christmas with its wooden

smoking figures, Christmas

pyramids and candle arches

Present for the first time at

ITB Asia, Budapest Parisi

Udvar Hotel is a spectacular

five-star property which

helped revitalise one of

the most impressive Art

Nouveau buildings in the

heart of the Hungarian


Parisi Udvar is a majestic building

standing on the Pest side of

the city which was achieved in

1871 by the Hungarian architect

Mihaly Pollack for Baron Jozsef

Brudern. One of Budapest’s

first passages with shops, the

building was reconstructed

in the years 1909-1912 in the

new eclectic style of the time,

Art Nouveau (locally known as


Abandoned for many years,

Parisi Udvar has been fully

restored and transformed into a

luxury hotel, which is now part

of The Unbound Collection by

Hyatt and is managed by Mellow

Mood Hotels.

The magnificent property

blends Arabic, Moorish and

Gothic architectural details, a

testament to Hungary’s rich

history. The original façade,

staircases and decorative tiles

have been carefully preserved.

Inside the hotel, the lobby is

The renovated Parisi Udvar hotel in Budapest

located where shops used to be,

giving a feeling of grandeur to

the structure. Visitors are likely

to be puzzled by the majestic

glass ceiling dome and the veuve

The hotel’s 110 guestrooms

have been elegantly designed

by Hungarian contemporary

artists and designers, inspired

by Gothic, Moorish and

Oriental styles with tailor-made

Hungarian-crafted furnishings.

There are 18 luxurious suites

and two Royal Residencies.

The hotel offers two dining

options, each with their own

style and space. The hotel’s

main restaurant, the Párisi

Passage Cafe & Brasserie,

serves international cuisine

but also local and international

wines in a cosmopolitan dining

area. It is made complete with

an open kitchen, allowing

guests to interact with the

chefs in a relaxing yet lively

atmosphere. The Patisserie &

Café, best known for its

signature Parisi kocka dark

chocolate dessert, serves

fresh juices, artisan coffee and

traditional Hungarian pastries.

The hotel also has a spa, a fitness

centre and 300 sq m of meeting


ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019





Evija Gavrilko

Leisure Sales Manager,

Baltic Travel Group

Representing Latvia for ITB Asia, Evija

Gavrilko is working for Baltic Travel

Group, a DMC which represents the three

Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and

Lithuania. The tour operator was created

in 2000 and is one of the most important

travel companies in the Baltic States.

“This is a very well-organised show and

we will certainly be back, especially if we

also get the support from our government.

We had a good show here as we consider

ITB Asia as the best place to meet all

the buyers from Asia and Australia who

cannot come to Europe. We met many

buyers from Hong Kong, Japan and

Singapore. We received a lot of interest

as Latvia and the other Baltic countries

are relatively new destinations for Asians.

Generally, travel to our three countries

are done in conjunction with Finland and

Poland but also sometimes with Denmark

and Sweden”

Matthew Zattho

Vice President of Tourism,

Asia-Pacific, ADARA

ADARA works with NTOs by providing

a value-based understanding of their

relationship with travellers thanks to

the company’s comprehensive travel

database analysing travel patterns, trends

and behaviour from more than 850 million

monthly unique traveler profiles across

more than 200 of the world’s top travel


“I have come to ITB Asia for the past five

years and I think that the most interesting

part of the show is the large range of

conferences looking at technology and

development trends. There are more and

more leaders coming for those events

which are turning ITB Asia into a real

platform of global exchanges. At the show

itself, I would love to see more innovation

in the way the travel market is presented.

It would be great to see tech companies

doing demonstrations of what they

actually bring to the travel industry and

explaining their purpose in the market”



Chief of ASEAN 1 (ASEAN, South

Asia and South Pacific Market

Division), Tourism Authority of


The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)

led a strong delegation of private and

public participants to ITB Asia 2019.

The Thai Pavilion comprised 30 sellers.

Of these, 26 were hotels and resorts and

the rest consisted of tour operators and

tourism-related agencies.

“Thailand came here with 30 sellers to

meet buyers looking mostly at seaside

destinations, which remain extremely

popular. We had many hotels this year and

will try to bring more DMCs to participate

next year. We will also continue to

promote the inclusion of more secondary

destinations to buyers. We already see a

shift with circuits being organised beyond

Phuket to Phang Nga, Krabi and Trang.

We had good feedback and demand for

culinary tourism all across the country,

including to Isan or Central Thailand”

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019




A selection of some of interesting and attractive stands at ITB Asia 2019


Far East Hospitality has a portfolio of over 13,500 rooms under

management across close to 90 hotels and serviced residences in

seven countries. In Singapore, it operates 22 hotels and serviced



Genting Cruise Lines comprises three distinct cruise brands – Star

Cruises, Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises – providing a range of

products from contemporary cruises to ultra-luxurious vacation



Moscow City Tourism Committee implements projects on

extending external and internal trip flows, maintains a strong

brand and creates a positive image of Moscow as a tourist centre

in Russia and all over the world.


Indonesia was busy this year with a clear message to focus its

tourism development efforts on five super priority destinations.

In the last five years, Indonesia has been heavily promoting itself

to entice more tourists to visit the world’s largest archipelago.


Seoul Convention Bureau (SCB) is a division of Seoul Tourism

Organization representing the city in MICE industry to boost

business and association events in Seoul, using various means of

content to show the worldclass venues and services.


A landmark masterplan plans to transform Sentosa and Brani

islands into Singapore’s trendiest leisure destinations. Some 19

million Singaporeans and tourists visit the 500-hectare resort

island annually.

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019

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