Reema Lokesh– Singapore
The BRIC countries are a focal point of discussion at most international trade events especially in the tourism space. Within them the I and C of the BRIC were vibrantly discussed at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) seminar at ITB Asia, which recently concluded in Singapore. GBTA’s BTI study also forecasts China to overtake the US as the world’s number one business travel market by 2016 and other Asia Pacific countries such as India and Indonesia to grow between 11-14 per cent annually over the next five years.
According to Welf Ebeling, GBTA vice president, operations, Asia, “The second fastest growth market in Asia is India which equally to China showed a 16 per cent growth in the first decade of this century. Over the last 15 years, India has worked its way up the rankings of major global business travel markets from number 24 in 2000 to the world’s 10th ranked market in 2013. GBTA expects India to become the ninth largest business travel market within the next five years. He further added, “In Asia Pacific, there are a number of countries showing high growth in terms of business travel spend. These markets include Vietnam, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We forecast an average growth rate of 7.5-10 per cent annually in these markets.”
The global business travel spend is expected to reach a record US$ 1.18 trillion by 2014, with nearly 40 per cent coming from Asia Pacific, according to GBTA’s Business Travel Index (BTI) outlook report released at ITB Asia 2014.
ITB Asia 2014, a three day travel trade event kicked-off at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. 76 countries and regions took part in the event. This year also saw the strongest buyer participation to-date, with 14 per cent more buyers compared to 2013, informed Christian Göke, CEO, Messe Berlin, organiser of ITB Asia. He further added, “The MICE sector in particular is growing exceptionally, accounting for over half of the total business travel market. It is a very resilient segment that is outpacing traditional corporate travel.”
“The dramatic progress of Asia’s travel and tourism markets, fuelled by the rising BRIC economies, testifies once again to the region’s immense potential for growth. Now, more so than ever, we need to encourage greater strategic collaboration among the leaders of the industry. Over the years, ITB Asia has been incredibly valuable in delivering comprehensive market insights and important networking opportunities. We are confident that STB’s partnership with Messe Berlin will continue to boost the success of ITB Asia and anchor TravelRave’s status as the region’s premier travel and tourism week for the trade,” said Neeta Lachmandas, assistant chief executive, Singapore Tourism Board.
This year’s ITB Asia also witnessed a sizeable number of players in the technology space from backend technology and software solutions providers targeting both the travel and hospitality sector.