SINGAPORE – 24 October, 2011 – TravelRave, Asia’s mega travel and tourism festival, came to a close yesterday after a weeklong celebration of Asian tourism.
Abuzz with activity and excitement, TravelRave 2011 packed a punch with its concentration of high impact business events, catering to the diverse needs of the travel and tourism industry. As the only comprehensive regional platform of its kind, TravelRave 2011 sought to bring tourism professionals and business leaders together to discuss collaborative opportunities and stimulate growth for the region.
In its second year, TravelRave 2011, consisting of ten world class events, each with their own unique, yet synergistic attributes, started with the Singapore Experience Awards, and culminated on a high note with the Cornell Hotel Society Asia Pacific Regional Conference. The festival saw more than 9,500 attendees, representing a 15 per cent growth over 2010.
“It has been a fruitful week of meaningful discussions and meetings. Many who attended TravelRave this year have made valuable contacts and gained useful insights from the various sessions. All in all, we have seen the industry really coming together to make TravelRave a success, and it would not have been possible to achieve this without the strong support of all our partners,” said Ms. Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). “With the satisfactory conclusion of TravelRave 2011, we look forward to an even bigger and extensive edition in 2012, as the cluster of events grows into a platform for Asian tourism.”
The by-invitation only Asia Travel Leaders Summit once again gathered leaders for an intimate dialogue on issues pertinent to the Asian travel and tourism industry. Leaders in attendance included Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWO), David Scowsill, President and Chief Executive Officer of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Zhuang Chenchao, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Qunar, and Rattan Keswani, President of Trident Hotels. There was unanimous agreement amongst the leaders in terms of the manifold opportunities presented by the fast-rising Middle Affluent Consumer (MAC) segment in Asia as well as the pressing talent crunch the industry faces in spite of its large populations.
Other highlights of the week included the inaugural release of new tourism and travel findings.
For instance, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) released their research on the importance of business travel and its impact in Asia. While companies will continue to spend due to the importance of building and maintaining relationships via face-to-face meetings, they are also now looking to maximize their returns. This is particularly true for companies in the South East Asia as they generated the highest return on investment out of Asia Pacific, according to the WTTC findings.
Value was also the theme that resonated through the Travel + Leisure’s Luxury Travel Research, with the luxury sector similarly looking to maximize the value from their travels. From these findings, Asia’s potential as a destination for attracting the luxury sector was clearly strong: 21 per cent of survey participants planned to visit Asia in the next year, and with an average intended spend of $9,142.
On the collaborative front, TravelRave 2011 saw the strengthening of bilateral ties and continued partnership between countries in Asia, with Singapore and ITB Asia jointly showing their support for Japan’s recovery efforts. This led to the participation of leading Japanese tourism companies at ITB Asia, highlighting Japan’s resilience and recovery.
“Japan was honored to be the official partner country at ITB Asia 2011. We thank the Singapore Tourism Board and ITB Messe Berlin for their generous support and opportunity to showcase Japan and its attractions at this event,” said Mr. Hiroshi Mizohata, Commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency. “Prior to this show, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Singapore and Japan to strengthen tourism cooperation and bilateral exchanges in June this year. This was made possible through Singapore Tourism Board (STB), which had led the delegation to Japan. Moving forward, the ITB Asia show had served a good platform to spur on Japan’s recovery from the aftermath of the March earthquake and tsunami.”
In the midst of serious conversations that ranged from manpower challenges to sustainability to market trends, throughout the week, attendees also have had some time to enjoy themselves. The official TravelRave networking event, Rave On! TravelRave Party by the Bay, brought the industry closer to forge more contacts and facilitate exchanges in an informal setting.
Speaking from the viewpoint of someone who attended TravelRave for the first time, Mr. Henning Boysen, Chairman of the Kuoni Group, said “The way TravelRave has been put together and run has been seamless, professional and very efficient. The whole set up has been organized the way we try to put together travel experiences for our guests - seamless travel. Absolutely, if you want to grow and develop your business in this region, you'll greatly benefit from participating at TravelRave.
Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, added “UNWTO is very happy to have been part of TravelRave with the organization of a High Level Meeting dedicated to debate tourism opportunities and challenges in Asia. TravelRave is an innovative initiative and a perfect platform to leverage the dynamism of Asian’s tourism. According to UNWTO’s long-term forecast Tourism Towards 2030, Asia will be the fastest growing region for international tourism within the coming two decades. TravelRave enables the sector to harness this vast growth potential."
Apart from congregating travel and tourism industry professionals and opinion leaders to leverage the growth presented in Asia, there is also a need to develop and interest the next generation of industry leaders. To this end, a regional youth competition, the inaugural TravelRave Talent Challenge, was launched this year.
The challenge winner was a student from Singapore Management University, and sharing her experiences in TravelRave, Ms. Mabel Fu said, “It was a great opportunity for me to attend the events held during the TravelRave week. I was exposed not only to the business side of travel and tourism, but also to more in-depth industry insights, the current issues prevailing, entrepreneurial ideas and the future of the sector. Through interaction with these thought leaders, I have gained a better understanding of the sector and it has opened my eyes to parts of the business I never knew existed. Their passion for the travel industry is truly inspiring. I would definitely consider joining the industry upon my graduation.”
Summing up the weeklong series of events, Mr. Kerry Gumas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Questex Media Group, said, “From our perspective as the organiser of the Asia Pacific Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference, this is an absolutely magnificent concept. From start to finish, we have been impressed with the collaboration among all the TravelRave partners. The entire strategy behind the organisation of TravelRave has been truly remarkable in trying to bring together so many different events that represent different constituencies within our industry.”
As a participant of TravelRave and a delegate of the Asia Travel Leaders Summit, he also added, “Without question, for anybody who has not been to TravelRave, the key business benefit of coming here is that you have all of the different participants in the industry here at one place, at one time. Although they are different events, they take place at one very convenient, fun, informative location where you can get all of your networking and business meetings done while having a good time. We think it has been a total success, and we are very much looking forward to coming back again in 2012.”
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is a leading economic development agency in tourism, one of Singapore’s key service sectors. Known for partnership, innovation and excellence, STB champions tourism, making it a key economic driver for Singapore. The STB aims to differentiate and market Singapore as a must-visit destination offering a concentration of user-centric and enriching experiences through the “YourSingapore” brand.