The second edition of ITB China will open doors from May 16-18, 2018 in Shanghai. With 31 new exhibitors from the Middle East participating in this networking event, David Axiotis, General Manager, ITB China talks about how the fair is soon becoming a lucrative source market. shares with TravTalk.
Q What is the focus at this year’s ITB China?
Packed with networking, information and business, ITB China is designed as a B2B show focusing solely on the Chinese travel market. Visitors and exhibitors can initiate excellent business dealings and generate meaningful contacts. We offer our Chinese top buyers an international portfolio of exhibitors. Around 700 companies, destinations, organisations and travel service providers from some 70 countries and territories will be represented. Over one-third of the exhibitors are coming from Europe, and another third from all over Asia and China. The Americas and the Middle East are also strongly represented. More than 800 buyers will attend the show this year. The diversity will again be very high as the buyers will come from over 300 different companies and from all over China, thereby representing the full range of China’s largest industry players.
Q How will this year’s show be different from the last?
We have extended our hosted buyer programme this year. With more than 800 buyers, we will have an increase of more than 30 per cent in the number of buyers at this year’s show as compared to 2017. This year’s partner destination is Finland and ITB China 2018 is an official partner event of the EU China Tourism Year, an initiative that has been jointly announced by the Chinese government and the EU Commission promoting touristic and cultural exchanges between China and Europe. Wyndham Hotel Group has become the official partner hotel for the second edition of ITB China. ITB China also brings up two strategic partnerships in 2018 to mutually promote each other as well as to enhance business opportunities and raise global awareness for the Chinese tourism industry including the China Tourism Academy and the China Tourism Association. ITB China Conference will offer an ideal platform for training and networking at the new Business Travel Day. The last day of the exhibition will be dedicated to the Education and Job Day in partnership with Fudan University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Qyer and ITB China will co-organise ‘It’s My World Travel Awards 2018’, honouring key Chinese opinion leaders as well as global destinations. This year ITB China is launching a completely new matchmaking system perfectly catering to the needs of both exhibitors and buyers. Participants of the matchmaking are able to conveniently choose the buyers or exhibitors they would like to meet in our brand-new system using desktop, mobile, APP or Wechat interfaces.
Q Could you share the participation from Middle East with special focus on UAE?
The Middle East is strongly represented at this year’s ITB China (UAE, Turkey, Oman, Israel, Iran, Egypt). We have observed an increase in demand from the Middle East this year. Countries such as Abu Dhabi and Sharjah have already secured their places. We are pleased to welcome Etihad Airways as a new exhibitor. Sharjah even expands its booth space this year and is the biggest exhibitor among the UAE countries. Dubai represents itself with hotels and travel providers.
Q What are your expectations at this years’ event?
Our goal is to deliver and maintain the same high show quality in terms of business opportunities, matchmaking and content that attendees are used to from our Berlin and Singapore shows. We would like to expand both in format and size, and most importantly establish ITB China as the leading B2B show for the Chinese travel market in the long run.
Q Could you share some numbers from last year? How many are expected this year in terms of media, buyers and exhibitors?
In 2017 the first ITB China marked its premiere and proved its importance as China’s new marketplace for the travel trade industry. Some 600 exhibiting companies from nearly 70 countries and regions met with a total of over 10,000 attendees and buyers in the 12,000 sqm area of exhibition space. In 2018, exhibitor demand for the second ITB China is undiminished, as bookings are coming off expectedly well. That clearly shows the industry acceptance of the show concept. Many of our exhibitors coming from China are going to leverage our new travel trade fair to develop the distribution network. With an expected attendee number of 15,000, including approximately 700 exhibitors and far more than 800 buyers, ITB China will show significant growth after its world premiere last year. Last year, over 10,000 pre-scheduled appointments between exhibitors and hosted Chinese buyers were realised during the show; we expect this number to grow significantly in 2018.