The International Travel Expo (ITE) 2016 is back in Ho Chi Minh for its 12th edition. The most well established travel event in Vietnam, whose popularity can be gauged from the fact that there will be a record 30,000 strong crowd this year, will be held from the 8-10 September at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre.
On the eve of the ITE, Jack Wei, General Manager, Informa Exhibitions, the co-organiser of the ITE as well as the Mekong Tourism Alliance Awards (MTAA) answers a few questions.
What are your expectations for the ITE in 2016?
Every year, we hope to bring in more buyers to our sellers, not just in terms of quantity, but also quality. This year, we have achieved more than what we have set for both buyers and sellers. We are hosting over 300 buyers which is more than 40% higher than last year. We have also concluded our results with more than 15% increase of sellers this year.
We are very pleased to announce that over 3,100 pre-scheduled appointments have already been made between the sellers and buyers for meeting during the two trade days. This is our highest record so far.
How many sellers do you have attending and from which countries?
This year, we have 280 exhibiting companies including airlines, hotels and resorts, tour companies and travel representatives from 22 countries like Cambodia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, as well as 31 provinces from Vietnam – An Giang, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau, Can Tho, Da Nang, Dak Lak, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Noi, Ha Giang, Hai Phong, Hau Giang, Ho Chi Minh City, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Kontum, Lam Dong, Long An, Ninh Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, Tien Giang, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien Hue, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, and Vinh Long
How many buyers are attending the Fair?
We are hosting more than 300 buyers this year. The international buyers come from countries like Australia, Austria, China, Czech, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UAE, the UK, Ukraine and the US.
There are also regional buyers, including those from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
What are the major changes that have taken place over the 12–years of ITE?
ITE has grown since its inaugural; at the first launch of ITE, we only had two international pavilions from Thailand and Cambodia – most were local exhibitors during the time – and 65 buyers. Today, ITE HCMC is recognised as the most established international travel event in Vietnam for NTO’s, tourism authorities and the travel industry, who want to promote their country destinations and travel products and services not only to the Vietnamese market, but also the Mekong region countries. Every year, ITE HCMC also brings together international and regional buyers to meet our exhibitors for outbound and inbound businesses here.
The strong participation from the international pavilions and countries, as well as the buyers, has only increased exponentially. This testimony speaks strongly of ITE HCMC in term of its progression over the last few years.
What are the major achievements in 2016 compared to 2015?
Besides the significant increase of exhibition size, exhibiting companies and buyers, this year we are also very happy to host some international travel bloggers from Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand, Norway, UK and Sweden. The bloggers will also be sharing their experiences on how social media can help market destinations better in today’s world, in a seminar.
How did the MTAA awards come about and what is the judging criteria for this?
Following five successful years of staging the ITE HCMC in 2009, the Organising Committee found scope and reason to introduce a much anticipated dimension that can serve to elevate the stature of the event and its participants. This took place in the formation of the Tourism Alliance Awards (TAA) now known as Mekong Tourism Alliance Awards (MTAA) slated to be an annual much-awaited industry and peer-recognition awards designed to celebrate only the best and brightest tourism stars within the Mekong region concept. With tourism already a priority in this region as a key foreign exchange earner, increased air travel into and within, and the steady rise in quality accommodation and attractions, the time is ripe for the introduction of a well-recognised awards programme that would be highly reflective of the state of the Mekong tourism. The awards will help to raise standards through a structured submission process of self-assessment through the preparation of a detailed questionnaire which is then reviewed by industry peers who respond carefully to defined international criteria. The awards process will culminate in a night of celebration that recognises and promotes outstanding achievements by those at the heart of the industry.
Proudly supported by the countries’ respective tourism ministries, the MTAA, now in its 8th year, has eight prestigious award categories, including The Best Airline of the Year; The Best Outbound Travel Operator of the Year; The Best Inbound Travel Operator of the Year; The Best Five-star Hotel of the Year and The Best Resort of the Year.
To take into account current trends in tourism and its promotion, three new categories have been introduced this year, namely: The Best Tourism Website of the Year; Best Festival of the Year and Broadcast Excellence Award for Destination Promotion.
We are very excited about the three new award categories in the MTAA this year, as it’s a reflection of the changing times, for instance, in how travellers research for their itinerary (Best Tourism Website of the Year award.)
We also added the Broadcast Excellence Award for Destination Promotion, in response to the prevalence of travel videos, as well as the Best Festival of the Year, as tourism boards become more aware of the role that festivals play in attracting travellers who want a more immersive experience.
Written by : Punam Mohandas