First ITB Asia Opens in Singapore


ITB Asia opened on Wednesday in Singapore at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The three-day, sold-out event has attracted 5,000 leisure, meetings and corporate travel representatives from over 50 countries. ITB Asia is organised by Messe Berlin (Singapore) with support from the Singapore Tourism Board. The show will showcase global travel products to Asian buyers.

The event was three years in the making,” said Raimund Hosch, CEO of Messe Berlin. “Our goal is to create an international show on the same scale as ITB in Berlin, which had its inaugural 42 years ago.”

The impact of the global financial instability on travel bookings and the need for a coherent response will be addressed by hotel, aviation and tour operator CEOs, including Peter Long, chief executive of TUI Travel Plc in the ITB Asia Convention. ITB Asia is the brand extension of ITB Berlin, the largest travel show in the world.

“The travel industry in Asia has seen good times and bad times— it always comes back stronger after a setback,” says Dr. Martin Buck, director of Messe Berlin. “Travel industry leaders are forward-looking, positive and solutions-driven. There will certainly be urgency and a buzz around the show floor this week.”

ITB Asia has attracted 651 exhibitors from 58 countries and territories and sold out three months prior to its opening.

During the opening ceremony, Lim Hng Kiang, minister for Trade and Industry Singapore, took the stage. “Economic instability, the rising cost of air travel and rising fuel prices will affect the region in the short term,” he said. “But we will rebound. We expect Singapore to rebound in two years time.”

The minister’s prognosis seems sound. Singapore is coming off a high after hosting the first  Formula One night race last month, and a slate of ambitious new projects such as the Marina Bay Sands development, auger well for the future.