The Asian edge
The Asian continent is always referred to and recognised as being big but when it comes to business it is more than just big. While penning this edit I was in the thick of all the action and articulation at ITB Asia in Singapore, where the power of the Asian giant was felt rather strongly in the travel and tourism space. The event witnessed some high power debates and discussions ranging from topics that were intense to inspiring. From the tech touch v/s human touch debate to the online-offline story questioning the survival of brick and mortar set-ups to refreshing pointers on brand positioning, some of the sessions were thought provoking. Sensitive issues of survival and profits, inspiring success stories to emulate, best practices and formulas to be applied in business, using technology to one’s advantage, there was a lot to both learn and unlearn. Knowledge seminars on technology and trade, human resource and responsible tourism ran parallel across the three days with some sessions going off track, however giving the audience an opportunity to both filter and factor in the best practices and solutions that can be applied to businesses for better efficiency and ROI.
Further, this event also brought to fore an observation which seems rather ironic. Reasonable number of traditional and long standing SMEs in the space have expressed their concern on dwindling profit margins while on the other hand there are non traditional players who are making their debut in this space.
Another interesting finding was highlighted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which clearly stated that Asia Pacific will account for 40 per cent of global business travel spend in 2014 which is expected to reach a record US$ 1.18 trillion by 2014. Though the BRIC countries are actively being discussed, within them the faith in the India market has risen manifold. WTTC along with GBTA has recognised India as a major player in the tourism space in the coming years. India’s change at the government level is also being widely discussed as a positive development in providing a healthier business environment for investment.
Lastly, India – The Land of Buddha, an exclusive coffee table book published by Express TravelWorld was launched at ITB Asia. From ITB Asia to the forthcoming WTM in London, the world travel and tourism sector seems to be jetsetting across continents.