Exclusive Interview: Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore) – organiser of ITB Asia and MICE Show Asia
Asia’s premium travel and tourism trade event takes new strides in 2019, with a number of innovations. We asked Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore) – organiser of ITB Asia and MICE Show Asia to tell us more.
For the first time this year, ITB Asia is organising the inaugural MICE Show Asia 2019, which focuses on Asia Paci c’s burgeoning MICE sector. Highlight topics that will be discussed during MICE Show Asia include 2020 forecasts for the global meetings and events and the digital transformation of the meeting and events industries. ITB Asia has also introduced a new Buyers Elite Partner Programme (BEPP) this year. Under this new initiative, every partner that recommends 15 successful buyers to attend the show will be able to receive complimentary hosting by ITB Asia. Additionally, there is a new theatre included for the show conference, Destination Marketing. Top practitioners in these sectors will discuss topics such as getting the most from social media to promote travel destinations, and utilising destination brands to attract interest.
THERE IS A SHIFTING TREND IN WHICH TRAVELLERS ARE SEEKING NEW PLACES TO TRAVEL, PROPAGATED BY SOCIAL MEDIA
So MICE takes a front seat this year… Can you tell us more about that?
With MICE being a highly competitive industry, it is a sector that is expected to reach a size of US$1.44 bn by 2025, with growth in Asia Paci c expected to reach 8.6% through to 2023. Thus, with the sheer potential of the market, Messe Berlin, the event organisers behind ITB Asia, responded by launching MICE Show Asia, a dedicated show for the industry, looking to provide attendees access to industry professionals from across varied disciplines to share their knowledge and perspectives.
The conference features a stellar line-up of speakers from top-tier brands including American Express Meetings & Events, Group GmbH and Cvent. Themed “Winning the Hearts of MICE Buyers”, more than 30 speakers from Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB), MICE buyer organisations, MICE tech companies and start-ups will discuss topics ranging from events organisation and management, technological applications to trends forecasting and challenging conventional practices, 2020’s forecasts for the global meeting and events industries.
Are there any major new exhibitors to talk about?
The strongest participation this year comes from Asia, with Southeast Asia well represented, and newcomers Myanmar and Jakarta, taking part. North Asia will see an expanded South Korean contingent with Regional Tourism Organisations from Gyeonggi, Jeju and Seoul securing their own booths. South Asia also sees a larger presence as new exhibitors such as Bhutan, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka join India while Central Asia is represented by Uzbekistan which is taking part for the first time.
From Europe, tourism boards representing Armenia, Italy, the Balkan states – Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are taking part for the rst time along with Estonia and the Czech Republic. Compared to previous years, Hungary and Russia will also bring larger contingents. New RTOs from East Bavaria, Franconia, Frankfurt and Magdeburg are also part of a larger German contingent with existing destinations like Berlin and Saxony, present at ITB Asia 2019.
Asian outbound tourism continues to grow, providing opportunities for National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) and RTOs to promote their destinations and capture the market. With ITB Asia’s track record of being an effective business platform for which buyers sign contracts with exhibitors, NTOs and RTOs are continuously attracted to participate with the aim of promoting their destinations to the show’s attendees.
Additionally, with the new exhibitors including the likes of those from Central Asia, Balkan states and smaller cities, there is a shifting trend in which travellers are seeking new places to travel, propagated by social media. Through conference sessions, especially those in the Destination Marketing track, destination marketers are attracted to attend ITB Asia, to gain insights on how to maximise and capture the potential from these travellers.
Photo: Katrina Leung, Managing Director, Messe Berlin (Singapore)