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Wednesday, 30 October, 2019, 17 : 20 PM [IST]

ITB Asia 2019: Expanding its Horizon

The 12th edition of ITB Asia, a congregation of Asian travel and tour operators, saw over 1,300 exhibitors and more than 1,250 buyers. The three-day exhibition from October 16-18, 2019, saw more than 27,000 business appointments made, which is a growth of 7.4% year-on-year. Held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Marina Bay Sands, the opening ceremony was graced by four guests-of-honour Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education, Republic of Singapore, who was attending for the second year running; Michael Müller, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, who attended ITB Asia for the first time; Dr Christian Göke, Chief, CEO, Messe Berlin GmbH and Keith Tan, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board.

Commenting on this year's show, Katrina Leung, MD, Messe Berlin (Singapore), ITB Asia's organiser, said, "ITB Asia continues to maintain its position as the leading travel trade show in the region. Working in close collaboration with international exhibitors, travel companies and international buyers from across the MICE, leisure and corporate travel markets, we look forward to unveiling this year's engaging and exciting programmes that will benefit all."

To accommodate the growth in participation, ITB Asia 2019 expanded its space to occupy two floors of the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Over 110 National Tourism Organisations (NTO) and Regional Tourism Organisations (RTO) exhibited this year, including first-time appearances from Armenia, Czech Republic, Malta, Russia and the Balkan States – Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, and RTOs from Busan, Frankfurt, Los Angeles and more.

In addition, to meet the demands of the MICE and corporate travel sectors, ITB Asia this year launched the MICE Show Asia, a MICEdedicated show to which all ITB Asia attendees had full access. Launched by Messe Berlin (Singapore), the team behind ITB Asia, strengthened the MICE component of the show. Under the overarching theme of "Bold Thoughts, Bold Moves," key industry leaders shared innovative ideas and knowledge on practical applications to keep pace with industry changes.

L-R: Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice President Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin GmbH; Katrina Leung, MD, Messe Berlin (Singapore); Dr Christian Göke, CEO, Messe Berlin GmbH; Mike Lee, VP, Marina Bay Sands and Ong Wee Min, VP, Conventions & Exhibitions, Marina Bay Sands, commemorating the signing of the MOU with MBS

In addition to the launch of MICE Show Asia, ITB Asia 2019 has also introduced the Buyers Elite Partner Programme. 41 partners are part of the programme that provides a forum to develop stronger trade ties with recommended buyers and to maximise business opportunities together.

Moreover, ITB Asia announced that it will launch Travel Tech Asia in 2020. A complement to the existing ITB Asia and MICE Show Asia, it will be part of Asia Pacific's largest travel trade show dedicated to travel technology. New buyers in charge of purchasing travel technology will be introduced to the latest innovations, emerging trends, leading industry brands and innovative startups that are gathered at one place to create new possibilities of travel.

Across the three days of the conference, attendees were able to hear from more than 270 speakers, including, Expedia, IBM, OYO China, TripAdvisor, Tujia, etc. For the first time, attendees also got a chance to gain 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. With a turnout that exceeded expectations, the successful debut gives grounds for optimism for the future expansion of this dedicated marketplace.

Dr. Göke 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."

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.

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."

George Tanasijevich, President & CEO, 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."

The next three editions of ITB Asia will take place from October 21 to 23, 2020, October 27 to 29, 2021 and October 19 to 21, 2022.

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