SUDIPTA DEV – Singapore
On its fifth anniversary, ITB Asia created many milestones this year that ranged from the increase in number of exhibitors to larger floor space to being a sold-out event many months in advance. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Nino Gruettke, executive director, ITB Asia said, “We have new initiatives on the buyers side, we focus a lot on the conferences, trends and data. We have also focused a lot on corporate procurements and corporate buyers. On the exhibition side we see a strong growth from the Asian countries, but that is not surprising, the surprise comes from the emerging markets. We see marked growth from Southern America and Southern Africa, so that participation is becoming more and more prominent in ITB Asia and may some day outperform that of Europe or the US.” He pointed out that another segment that has been highlighted this year is cruise. “Singapore has a new cruise terminal and we partnered up with Asia Cruise Association who brought in big exhibitors from the cruise sector and they are delivering to travel agents who are interested in the segment,” added Gruettke.
Regarding the long -term strategy for ITB Asia, Gruettke stated, “We want to make ITB Asia as successful and as established like ITB Berlin is for the rest of the world and Europe. How long that will take I do not know. It could be five years or 15 years. ITB Berlin is 50 years old. However, we do not believe so much in taking the show around the world or Asia like other travel trade shows that happen at different destinations every year, we are very happy to have ITB Asia in Singapore.”
Talking about the growth potential he remarked, “Every business wants to grow not just for the growth sake but for quality. In terms of the future of ITB Asia we cannot really grow stronger than the market, we may gain market shares from other travel trade shows but we cannot out perform the market with our show, we are a market platform and we can only be as strong as the market. However, as this part of the world and this market is very strong we believe that there is a lot of room for improvement and potential to grow for ITB Asia.”
Gruettke acknowledged that one of the major debates in ITB Asia is will this part of the world develop as Europe and America has or will it take a different turn and Europe and America will follow what has happened here.