Exhibition Showcase Talks To Katrina Leung, Managing Director, Messe Berlin (Singapore) And Learns About The Inaugural Edition Of ITB India. Excerpts Of The Interview:


ES. Can you share the major highlights of ITB India? What all action can we expect to see there?
Katrina. The inaugural ITB India sees big support from the industry. Numerous exhibitors have confirmed their participation at an early stage, such as Aito Iran Tours, Iran, Austria Tourism Council, Austria, Carlton Hotel, Switzerland, Cassia Phuket, Thailand, German National Tourist Office, Germany, HF Hotels, Portugal, Intercenter Group, Russia, Isprava Hospitality, India, Jupiter Legend, USA, Kakslauttanen, Finland, KPG Hotels Group, Japan, Luxrica Pte Ltd, Singapore, Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, Indonesia, Miracle Asia Travel, Vietnam, Onlyone Africa, Kenya, PKFare, China, Ri-Yaz Hotels Group, Malaysia, RusconiViaggi, Italy, Saxony Tourism, Germany, Sharjah Tourism Council, UAE, Travelbook, UK and many more.

During the three-day event, visitors will have the opportunity to be inspired by leaders in the tourism industry and learn from their experiences. Conference tracks such as Travel Technology, MICE Exchange, Destination Marketing, C-Suite Talks and Corporate Travel will be featured at the show. Committed top speakers from local and international brands are: Deep Kalra (Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip), Angel Llull Mancas (Vice President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Booking.com), Prakash Sangam (CEO, redBus), Siew KumHong (Regional Director for APAC, Airbnb) and Bhanu Chopra (Founder &CEO, RateGain). Visitors will have the chance to learn from top brands and thought leaders of Accenture, Airbnb, Amadeus, AMEX GBT, Booking.com, Cleartrip, CWT, Egencia, FCM Travel Solutions India, Flight Centre Travel Group, Ithaka, KAYAK, MakeMyTrip, OYO Hotels & Homes, PayPal India, RateGain, redBus, Skyscanner, Thrillophilla, Travel Designer Group, TravelClick, Travelport, TUI India, Yatra and many more. ITB India will also be introducing a Buyers Elite Partner Programme (BEPP). Under this new initiative, every partner that recommends 15 successful buyers to attend the show will be able to receive complimentary hosting by ITB India.

ES. Are you also having a hosted buyer program there?
Katrina. ITB India has a Buyer’s Programme to ensure the quality of all buyers attending the show. A strict validation process is in place to ensure all attending buyers are serious decision makers. The validation process is based on criteria such as procurement track record for the Indian outbound market, buyer’s rating for similar ITB series of shows attended and more to ensure that all buyers are right matches to attending delegates. On top of the Hosted Buyer Programme, as mentioned above, ITB India will be introducing a Buyers Elite Partner Programme (BEPP) which further ensures the quality of buyers attending ITB India 2020.

ES. What are the key features of ITB India?
Katrina. With the success of ITB Berlin, ITB Asia and ITB China, the next big opportunity is the India market, thus the birth of ITB India. ITB India is a 3-day purely business-to-business (B2B) event that will bring together international and local exhibitors, while focusing on Indian & South Asian outbound buyers. The event will be a hybrid show that will cover the three key pillars of the travel industry – MICE, Corporate and Leisure Travel. In terms of content, ITB India will feature a series of C-Suite Talks where C-Level Executives are invited to speak about the industry’s latest trends and forecasts; a conference track dedicated to Travel Technology, gathering leaders in the travel space to share some of the most exciting innovations and trends; a MICE & Corporate focused track to address the key challenges on MICE in India and beyond.

ES. What is the scope of outbound travel market in India? What are the major markets for Indian travellers?
Katrina. India’s strong economic growth is producing higher income which is being increasingly invested in travel. Experts estimate that by 2020 turnover in India’s travel industry will be worth an overall 56 billion US dollars. The World Tourism Organization UNWTO forecasts a figure of 50 million outbound travellers by then. The leading destinations will be Eastern Asia and the Gulf region. America and Europe will also remain popular.

ES. What is your opinion about business tourism (MICE)? What can we expect for MICE at ITB India?
Katrina. The MICE market is an important growth factor for both the tourism industry and the economic development of cities. Worldwide it generates millions in turnover and is continuing to grow. According to a recent study by IPK International together with ITB, the MICE industry grew by two per cent over the first eight months of this year. New technologies such as VR, AI and live streaming are influencing the MICE market. Venues need to follow these trends closely in order not to fall behind. Event and conference industry professionals can find out about new technologies and future meeting scenarios at the dedicated MICE conference track at ITB India to address the challenges and case studies for MICE in India.

ES. Are you collaborating with travel associations for ITB India?
Katrina. ITB India is working with many travel associations as part of the BEPP, including The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI), Enterprising Travel Agent’s Association (ETAA), IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI), Network of Indian MICE Agents (NIMA), Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), Travel Trade Association of Uttar Pradesh, United Federation of Travel Agents Associations (UFTAA) and many more to come. The full list can be found on our website.

ES. Messe Berlin’s leading show ITB Berlin celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016, can you share some highlights of the journey of ITB Berlin and how it came to be recognized as a trendsetting show?
Katrina. Launched in 1966 as a minor exhibition, it rapidly became a global success. With the expert knowledge of the trade fair team, long years of experience and keen understanding of trends and developments in the international travel industry, ITB Berlin established itself as the world’s leading travel trade show. Over the years ITB has not only grown in size, exhibitor numbers and attendance, it has also become a comprehensive industry marketplace, showcasing travel products and services from around the world and growth-intensive niche markets. The show on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds also reflects trends in society as well as technical and economic developments. Today, ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. In 2019 a total of 10,000 exhibitors from 181 countries displayed their products and services to 160,000 visitors, including 113,500 trade visitors. One of the most important milestones was the 2004 debut of the ITB Berlin Convention, which over the years became the industry’s largest specialist convention. Equally ground-breaking was the 2011 launch of the eTravel World with the biggest display of travel technology products at any trade show worldwide. In recent years the ITB brand has gained further international standing with its leading trade shows in Asia. With ITB Asia in Singapore, ITB China in Shanghai and ITB India in Mumbai, which will debut in April 2020, the global ITB brand is making its mark in the world’s most rapidly expanding markets.

ES. Please share some facts and figures about Messe Berlin’s other leading shows like ITB Asia
Katrina. Progressing into its 13th year, ITB Asia is the premier meeting place for the travel trade industry for forging new partnerships and strengthening existing business relationships with the most important players in the region. ITB Asia’s 2019 edition saw huge success with over 1,300 exhibitors, over 1,250 quality buyers, more than 7,000 minutes of conference and more than 13,000 attendees.