A Q&A with ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore

A Q&A with ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore

As any travel professional will tell you, life is richer when you meet new people and see the world through their eyes. ILTM have been bringing the world’s top travel brands to China, each year, for over 10 years. Giving travel pros a platform to build relationships in the region and strengthening the connection between Asia Pacific’s huge and diverse markets of HNW travellers and the industry that serves them.

But travel pros have never been the type to just sit and watch. So, as the world changes around us, so do ILTM’s collection of events.

This summer, ILTM announced the launch of a new show, ILTM China, dedicated to the Chinese market, plus the relocation of ILTM Asia Pacific to Singapore. We caught up with the force behind ILTM’s growth, our trusty captain, counsellor and shepherd-in-chief, Alison Gilmore, to find out more…

Alison, what was behind the decision to split ILTM Asia?

Our client research highlighted that the Asian luxury outbound market is growing so fast that many companies are now separating their current and future business plans and marketing strategies to focus on China and Asia as two independent opportunities. As a result we will now deliver two dynamic events dedicated to their own audiences: ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 21 – 24 May and ILTM China in Shanghai, 31 October – 2 November 2018.

You mention that the new event, ILTM Asia Pacific (taking place 21 – 24 May, 2018 at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel), will be more like the Cannes event – how so?

ILTM Asia Pacific will be re-positioned to represent the whole of Asia, bringing more international buyers, similar in context to ILTM in Cannes. We will create the show to be as international as Cannes with over 35% of luxury travel suppliers representing Asia Pacific and 65% the rest of the world. 85% of buyers will be from Asia Pacific and 15% from outside the region. No luxury buyer will be attending any other ILTM event in 2018. Last year, Asia Pacific surpassed North America for the first time as the region with the largest amount of high net worth wealth, according to the World Wealth Report. ILTM Asia Pacific will focus on this growth, collectively bringing together international and regional luxury travel suppliers to boost and build their businesses from this dynamic region.

At the same time, Singapore is a beautiful green city, modern and efficient with a multicultural diversity that lends itself to some great venues for networking events, so we expect to deliver a similar ambiance as ILTM Cannes in Singapore reflecting the very best of mixing business with pleasure!

What were the other cities in the running to host the event?

We have had RFP’s from several Asian countries, all of which were keen to collaborate with ILTM, however Singapore delivered not only the best proposal but its significance as the gateway city with one of the world’s award winning airports, that serves more than 100 airlines flying to some 380 cities in about 90 countries worldwide, was a really important part of our decision.

ILTM China will still take place in Shanghai (31 October – 2 November) but will be a more bespoke event with one-to-one pre-scheduled appointments, similar to other ILTM events in Japan, Africa and Arabia.

ILTM China will indeed remain in Shanghai and be re-positioned specifically to bring Chinese luxury travel planners and buyers to meet with international exhibitors of luxury products and services. Every year we see a big increase in the number of Chinese luxury travel planners wanting to attend ILTM and with this new style of event we can focus on this market solely. There will be no overlap of Chinese buyers with any other ILTM event so every exhibitor can rely on 100% assurance that their participation will deliver on their business objectives and return on investment.

The appointment system of mutual matching between exhibitor and buyer will remain the same ensuring that every appointment in their diary has been selected as relevant between both parties – a great way to deliver real tangible business opportunities.

Given the incredible growth in the country, is there a chance we may see more than one China event?

For now Shanghai is the venue, but the buyer community will come from every part of China; we have a team dedicated to sourcing those who are relevant and who have clients of the highest net worth. Never say never, China is indeed a huge outbound market, and ILTM China will grow to reflect this.

It’s not the only change to the Asia portfolio – ILTM Japan (Tokyo, 26 – 28 February 2018) will now become an inbound event – can you explain why?

The key reason is that Japan’s inbound market has hit a record high, with a 21% growth in the first quarter of this year alone from neighbouring Asian nations. A combination of the relaxation in visa restrictions, the impending Rugby World Cup, the Olympics in 2020 and the Winter Olympics has led the Japanese government to planning upgrades to airports and seaports, as well as improving access to national parks and cultural attractions – the inbound experience is only going to get better. The perceived simplicity of Japanese culture continues to be extremely appealing to those in the West, particularly as the Japanese experience combines both the modern and the traditional concepts of luxury.

For further information see www.iltm.com/asiapacific or email Alison at alison.gilmore@reedexpo.co.uk

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