Alison Gilmore, director, ILTM Portfolio, discusses carving out the former ILTM Asia into two events, ILTM Asia-Pacific (incorporating ILTM Japan) and ILTM China
Why carve ILTM Asia into two separate shows?
Suppliers told us that they increasingly have two business strategies – one for China and one for the Asia-Pacific region – so we have responded by creating ILTM Asia-Pacific in Singapore (in May) and ILTM China (staying put in Shanghai, in October); two separate events to support two demanding economies.
The Asia-Pacific region has grown, and continues to grow, faster than any other. The 2017 UNWTO Asia Travel Trends talks of the perfect climate for “exceptional performance” in international tourism into Asia and how, also considering economic growth, this has given an added “boost to tourism, particularly through a vibrant and affluent middle-class, with 80 per cent of travel intra-regional”.
The creation of ILTM Asia-Pacific supports and taps into this dynamic growth in travel. This will be the first intra-regional luxury travel show with curated buyers from 21 countries across Asia-Pacific as well as from key international markets.
There will only be a limited number of Chinese buyers present at ILTM Asia-Pacific. Chinese agents will be invited to ILTM China.
So there will be buyers from Asia-Pacific who were never at ILTM Asia previously?
Yes, the size of ILTM Asia-Pacific allows us to increase the number of buyers to the event and we are currently expecting some 600 to be attending (Editor’s note: ILTM Asia fielded around 800 buyers, many of them Chinese buyers).
As regards new faces from key Asia-Pacific source markets, we have already received a 60 per cent increase in interest from Australian buyers as well as key source markets including Singapore (+47 per cent), India (+50 per cent) and Japan (+32 per cent). There is also intensified interest from Hong Kong and South Korea, as well as the Philippines and Indonesia.
What budgets do these buyers work with?
All buyers who are invited and apply to attend must prove they have a client base of high net worth individuals. In processing applications individuals have to be established, provide references, be a senior decision maker and have to be dealing with regular outbound travel for their clients.
To give an idea of spending power, at ILTM Asia 2017, 59 per cent of buyers placed orders at the event and 90 per cent planned to place orders in excess of US$10,000 as a direct result of the show. Over a third of all buyers expect to spend US$100,000+ with clients they met at the event.
What luxury products are in demand?
One buyer describes her clients and some trends in the sector of high-end luxury weddings in Asia. Evelyn Mills, founder of Marriage Maestros and Wedding Maestros in Hong Kong, said she is seeing a healthy increase in spend and demand for more diverse venues and destinations for the regions wedding ceremonies. Clients can spend anything from US$300,000 to US$1 million, depending on the size and duration of the wedding. Equally more and more couples are opting to do multiple celebrations as opposed to one main big event, so destination choice for not only the happy couple but also their guests means some of these ceremonies take out entire resorts. Eighty per cent of her clients plan their weddings inter-regionally.
Why incorporate ILTM Japan into ILTM Asia-Pacific?
With the continuing global demand for Japanese luxury travel experiences, ILTM Japan is now part of ILTM Asia-Pacific with its own area of the show and more space to grow. This new location for the event means that not only suppliers have access to all of the buyers attending, but they also can take advantage of the networking and social themes, all of which will add more opportunities to do business. We are expecting some 30 brands including, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, Cox & Kings Japan and Kyushu Railway Company, and just over 40 specialist buyers and agents.
What percentage of the exhibitors who were at ILTM Asia last year are coming to ILTM Asia-Pacific?
We expect the majority of those who were with us at previous ILTM Asia events to be part of this new experience. So far that’s about 74 per cent of the brands, and a number of new suppliers who want access to the increased spread of Asia-Pacific and international buyers.
Established global brands returning include: Accor Luxury Brands, Alila Hotels and Resorts, Belmond, Capella Hotel Group, Como Hotels, Edition Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Heavens Portfolio, Langham Hotels International, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Marriott International Luxury Hotels, Oetker Collection, Pandaw River Cruises, Ponant, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Relais & Chateaux, Rocco Forte Hotels, Rosewood Hotel Group, Silversea Cruises, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces and also, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts and Conrad Hotels and Resorts. A full list of exhibitors is available over the coming months on the show website.
New destinations so far include Fiji, South Korea, New Zealand, Dubai and Botswana who will be joining many destinations who have been with the event over the past years, including Catalonia and Los Angeles, Switzerland and Spain, with others due to confirm in the coming weeks.
New brands to ILTM Asia-Pacific will be Crystal Cruises, Joali and Kudadoo in the Maldives, new Ganges experience Aqua Indica and new wellness resort Alba Vietnam, to name a few.
Are there any unique aspects to ILTM Asia-Pacific?
Yes! ILTM Asia-Pacific is going to have the feel and style of ILTM Cannes, famous for its ability to draw the very best quality buyers and suppliers to an annual gathering where business merges with a lot of entertaining, parties and serious networking. It’s what the ILTM Collection is all about: L events that explore the world of luxury travel.
TTG Asia Luxury is the exclusive trade media partner for ILTM Asia-Pacific 2018 and will be producing a special edition to be distributed at the show, in addition to its normal circulation to luxury travel planners across Asia-Pacific.