ITB Asia 2009: Of mice, men and a little rock 'n' roll
The second year of ITB Asia's annual convention and meetings will convene this week at the Suntec City convention center. To address the gloom and doom facing the travel industry, the B2B event will switch focus this year to overcoming challenges and obstacles. In an effort to bring life to the industry event, local rocker Wendi Koh will take to the stage for partner event Web in Travel.
Travel SMEs get a helping hand
This year's focus will be on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the travel and tourism industry. Asia-Pacific national tourism organizations (NTOs) have highlighted the challenges facing their respective SMEs in the ITB Asia 2009 report. In an official statement, Dr. Martin Buck, Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), organizers of ITB Asia, said, "It is apparent that the recent global financial crisis has had a significant impact on travel and tourism SMEs. In all countries, there is general acknowledgment that SMEs comprise the bedrock of the travel and tourism industry."
This year's SME report will offer a comprehensive roundup of the various efforts being made by regional NTOs and other social, financial and economic arms of governments to help the SMEs in the wake of the global financial crisis. It will be available at ITB Asia 2009.
'Stormy Skies' panel
Airline experts will gather for a 'Stormy Skies' panel discussion at the Web In Travel conference, taking place alongside ITB Asia, where they will discuss business challenges and opportunities, as well as the results of a new global survey to be released by Sabre Airline Solutions. Among recent developments, Malaysia Airlines has managed to transform its business, while low-cost airlines such as AirAsia and Jetstar Asia have converted consumers to new ways of flying.
Speaking in a WIT podcast, moderator Gordon Locke, vice president of Airline Marketing & Strategy of Sabre Airline Solutions, noted that the survey results raised a number of questions: "Is it all about revenue, all about cost, or all about the customer, or can an airline really focus on all three?"
Tourism goes earth-friendly
An important new forum will be the responsible tourism networking event on October 22, which aims to link up environmentally and socially responsible travel operators. The 6-8pm networking session will be preceded at 5:15pm by a presentation detailing 15 successful examples of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Asian travel Industry.
Rock chick Wendi Koh performs
In perhaps the most exciting news of all, local rocker Wendi Koh will take to the stage at the annual WORLDHOTELS party on October 20. The party will be held at the Home Club, 20 Upper Circular Road, B1-01/06, The Riverwalk, from 7–9:30pm and will follow the theme of the conference, 'Tough Love.' The best dressed male and female will win new iPod Nano 16GB players -- all WIT delegates can attend for free.
CNN is a media partner of ITB Asia 2009. CNNGo is a media partner of WIT-Web in Travel.