Asia’s most influential travel trade festival unveils significant industry insights that affirm the region’s buoyant growth and opportunities

Published on : Friday, November 1, 2013

Singapore Tourism BoardTravelRave, Asia’s most influential travel trade platform, concluded last Friday with new content and insights emerging from discussions amongst Asia’s prominent travel and tourism leaders. ITB Asia and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) also sealed a partnership to produce an even stronger conference programme over the next three years.

 

The fourth edition of the five-day festival comprising eight travel trade events welcomed more than 10,800 attendees. TravelRave kicked off with Web in Travel and the Singapore Experience Awards on Monday 21 October, and concluded with ITB Asia on Friday 25 October.

 

“Asia is fast coming into its own where tourism growth and opportunities are concerned.  In this diverse region, having relevant knowledge on evolving travel and consumer trends is vital,” said Mr. Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive of STB. “Once again, TravelRave has proven to be a valuable platform for sharing best practices, strategic insights and knowledge about Asia. This year, we have discussions giving rise to concrete, implementable ideas, like the Executive Development Programme that will be launched next year by a working group from the Asia Travel Leaders Summit (ATLS). Such initiatives are due in no small part to the synergies that TravelRave provides across markets, content and networks.”

 

Growth trends in Asia’s tourism

The growth of tourism in Asia was a key discussion topic across various TravelRave events. Backed by the emergence of economic powerhouses, the Asia Pacific travel market is expected to grow another 8 per cent, reaching almost US$352 billion this year, according to industry research presented by PhoCusWright at ITB Asia.

 

In a joint panel discussion by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), STB and ITB Asia, the significant opportunities in the emerging Southeast Asia outbound markets were also discussed. With an estimated population of 600 million, and rising consumer spending, UNWTO estimates that more than 500 million tourists will travel into the region in 2013. Most will come from Asia Pacific, with China continuing to be responsible for much of this growth. The Chinese spent more than US$102 billion on travel in 2013, and are estimated to spend US$135 billion dollars abroad this year alone.

 

Mr. Marcio Favilla L. de Paula, Executive Director, Competitiveness, External Relations and Partnerships, UNWTO highlighted the continual growth of both inbound and outbound tourists in Asia Pacific. The 6.3 per cent growth of international tourist arrivals in Asia showcases the strength and resilience of the tourism sector in this region. International tourist arrivals in Southeast Asia, namely Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore, further boosted Asia’s growth, which is above the world’s average of 5.3 per cent.
In terms of global business travel spending, the forecast for Asia Pacific is equally promising with China surpassing the United States by 2016 to become the largest business travel market in the world. According to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)’s Business Travel Outlook (BTO) Report 2013-2017, Asia Pacific accounted for more than 37 per cent of global business travel spending in 2012 – an amount that reached US$1.06 trillion in 2012 – and is expected to account for more than 43 per cent within the next five years.

 

Other TravelRave events also sought to share similar opportunities, trends and potential issues within an environment of ever-evolving demands and consumer needs. The Asia Pacific Tourism Destination Investment Conference (APTDIC), Hotel Technology Conference, Aviation Outlook Asia, Web in Travel Conference and UIA Round Table provided insightful Asia-focused content that enabled businesses to understand the multi-faceted region and develop more effective solutions to better serve the emerging Asian traveller.

 

The opportunities in Asia and the need for constant exchange of insights were also factors that led to the inking of an agreement between STB and Messe Berlin to strengthen ITB Asia’s conference programme over the next three years.

 

Capturing the Asian Millennial Traveller

With the expected growth in Asia’s tourism, staying ahead of consumer trends remained at the forefront during TravelRave. This year’s Asia Travel Leaders Summit (ATLS), an intimate dialogue among Asian travel and tourism leaders, delved into the profile of the Asian Millennial Travellers, a segment touted as the most educated and connected generation in modern history.

A joint study by STB, Visa and McKinsey & Company revealed that over the next decade, Millennial Travellers (born between 1981 and 1995) will enter their peak earning and spending years, opening tremendous opportunities for the travel industry.

 

According to the study, approximately 60 per cent of the world’s Millennials reside in Asia, with a third originating from either China or India. Even before entering the prime of their earning power, Millennials already account for almost 35 per cent of the US$600 billion that Asians spend on international travel. Driven by income growth, the Asian Millennials’ expenditure on international travel is expected to increase by 1.6 times to US$340 billion by 2020. Successfully capturing this next wave of consumer demand will thus require players to acquire an in-depth understanding of the Millennials.

 

“I am very delighted to be part of the Asia Travel Leaders Summit.  The research that we based our discussion on was very robust, leading to the development of thought-provoking ideas,” said Mr. Deep Kalra, Founder & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip.com. “It’s wonderful to get everyone from the travel industry together in a meaningful way – and it’s exciting that TravelRave is spearheading this concept.”

 

Other leaders who participated in the Summit included Mr. Fan Min, Co-Founder, Vice Chairman of the Board and President, Ctrip.com International; Mr. Tran Trong Kien, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Thien Minh Group and Ms. Marianne Hontiveros, Chief Executive Officer, Philippines’ AirAsia Inc.

 

To develop a better understanding in online consumer engagement as well as its implications for their own businesses, the leaders also studied Amazon’s culture, operating model and approach to personalisation and customer loyalty.

 

Grooming travel leaders of tomorrow

A paradox highlighted during the Summit was the severe skill shortage despite the significant rise in youth unemployment. Leaders recognised that proactive collaboration would be critical to plug the gap. Solutions proposed included engaging youth early, increasing interaction with education providers to develop suitable competencies, as well as building more coalitions with both allies and competitors.

 

To discuss the challenges and potential solutions to the shortage of talent, ITB partnered with STB and talent and employer company, Universum, to convene Singapore’s industry leaders and relevant tertiary students. During the session on Future Leaders – Cultivating the Travel Leaders of Tomorrow, students heard from Mr. Ong Wee Min, Executive Director of Expo Sales, Marina Bay Sands; Ms. Janet Tan-Collins, Chief Executive, East-West Planners and President, SACEOS; and Mr. Kung Teong Wah, Executive Assistant Manager, Rooms, Holiday Inn Atrium on their perceptions of the travel and tourism industry in Asia Pacific.

 

“If we don’t develop our talent and infrastructure, Singapore will face competition that can offer better prices and natural attractions,” said Mr. Ong. “It is a very vibrant industry. And students – if you are good enough, and last long enough, you will climb high enough.”

 

Opportunities through cross-event networking

Beyond the exhibition and conferences, tourism leaders found time to network and recognise the achievements of industry luminaries at the TravelRave Leaders Gala.  At the Gala, the CNBC Travel Business Leader of the Year was awarded to Mr. Emirsyah Satar, CEO and President Director of PT Garuda Indonesia (Persero) Tbk for his strong innovation and effective management skills in the travel and tourism industry. Members of Singapore’s tourism industry were also honoured for their contributions at the Singapore Experience Awards.

 

TravelRave’s official cross-event networking session, Rave On! TravelRave Party saw more than 300 delegates and industry partners networking at the annual function, held at Bacchanalia.

 

Mr. Rustom Vickers, Group Director of Development, Dusit International sums up the benefits of TravelRave’s cross-events synergies. “The TravelRave platform must be one of the most well-organised industry events that I’ve attended.  My main purpose of attending this year was to participate in the Asia Pacific Tourism Destination Investment Conference, but it was fortuitous that I could also tap on other events happening concurrently.”

 

TravelRave will return for its fifth run from 27 to 31 October 2014 with an equally stellar line-up of speakers sharing Asian-focused knowledge and insights. For more information and updates on events, please visit www.travelrave.sg or join in the discussions @TravelRaveSG on Twitter and TravelRave group on LinkedIn.

 

Source:- Singapore Tourism Board

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