The 2019 edition of ITB Asia kicked off with a press conference at the Marina Bay Sands, at which the importance of tourism for peace and freedom were underlined.
Michael Müller, The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, and Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Education, Republic of Singapore, were guests of honour for the official opening conference, ceremony and stand tour.
Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, organisers of the event, thanked Mr Chee for the support, hospitality and cooperation the Singapore government has shown for the past decade: “I can say that we feel at home here, we feel welcome here, and you truly make doing business a very passionate affair.”
The Minister outlined major moves by Singapore’s tourism authority in moving the industry forward, and that Singapore was looking for opportunities to develop and optimise twinning strategies with cities in the region as part of efforts to attract new sources of tourists: “It is not a zero-sum game with cities in the region. We are not just competing with each other for tourists; what we actually can do is to win together and offer tourists who come to Southeast Asia multiple destinations that they can visit,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Chee said the state’s initiative to introduce “Passion Made Possible Privileges” (PMPP) with Alipay this year has resulted in a major rise in spending by Chinese tourists in Singapore. “Based on early results, tourists using PMPP spend three times more than the average Alipay user in Singapore.”
The Governing Mayor of Berlin spoke about the importance of tourism as an industry to his city, and to the world at large. With his city celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, he underlined the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of travel as key civil liberties, and the fact that the people of Berlin fought to gain back these rights and to keep them into the future.
Photo: (from left to right) Michael Müller, The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Education, Republic of Singapore, and Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, touring the show floor after the opening press conference