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Singapore Tourism Board releases first TravelRave report to share Asian travel and tourism insights

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) released its first TravelRave report recapping key highlights from TravelRave 2013. Among the pertinent issues raised at TravelRave, the report underscored talent, technology and the Asian Millennial Traveller as key areas that needed to be addressed.

The report sets the tone for the fifth run of TravelRave, taking place in Singapore from 27 to 31 October 2014. TravelRave has established itself as a unique week-long platform for Asian-focused knowledge and insights from the region’s prominent travel and tourism leaders. The fourth edition last year, which welcomed more than 10,800 attendees across related sectors in tourism, enabled delegates to gain a more extensive understanding of Asia’s changing landscape as well as its increasingly sophisticated consumers and discover business opportunities through complementary travel trade and networking events.

Initiatives to address talent issues
One of the prominent themes highlighted in the report was the challenge of attracting, retaining and developing high quality talent at all levels in Asia’s travel and tourism industry. High turnovers, skill mismatches and employees unprepared for leadership roles were some of the challenges faced by every company in the industry that were identified by travel and tourism leaders.

In response to the human capital issues raised, two working groups were formed out of the Asia Travel Leaders Summit (ATLS), a thought leadership platform in TravelRave. A key industry-led initiative that arose from the working group discussions was the Executive Development Programme (EDP), led by Mr Marc Dardenne, CEO Patina Hotel and Resorts, in collaboration with Shatec and DePaul University. The inaugural programme will be launched this month with an estimated attendance of 30-35 mid-to-senior level hospitality executives.

The four modules conducted over a period of eight months will cover topics on leadership, finance and revenue management, human resources management as well as sales & marketing. The full programme will comprise four 3.5-day modules over the course of one year. This will include a half-day site visit and talk by an industry leader in the relevant modules.

Asia driving international tourism growth
Another recurrent theme was the major role that the Asia Pacific region continues to play in the growth of international tourist arrivals.

According to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals grew by 5 per cent in 2013, reaching a record 1,087 million arrivals. This was well above expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists travelling the world in 2013. For 2014, UNWTO forecasts 4 to 4.5 per cent growth, which is above the global long term projections.

In addition, research presented by PhoCusWright projected that the Asia Pacific travel market would maintain its growth through 2015 to reach US$407.3 billion, with China accounting for a third of that. Travel Link Daily also noted the potential of the market as only 3 per cent of China’s population are passport-holders.

Emergence of the Asian Millennial Travellers
A joint study by STB, Visa and McKinsey & Company delved into the profile of the Asian Millennial Travellers, a segment touted as the most educated and connected generation in modern history. The study revealed that over the next decade, Millennial Travellers (born between 1981 and 1995) will enter their peak earning and spending years, presenting significant business opportunities for the travel industry.

As Asian economic powerhouses continue their growth trajectory, the Asian Millennials’ expenditure on international travel is expected to increase by 1.6 times to US$340 billion by 2020.

New technologies changing the industry
Innovating and exploring ways to leverage technology to drive growth in the travel and tourism industry continue to be a topic of interest. Improved technology infrastructure and increasing adoption of technology will give rise to a new landscape and continue to accelerate the pace of change in the industry.

According to “The Constantly Connected Traveller”, a Google Study presented at TravelRave 2013, more than four-fifths of travellers use the internet to plan their hotel stays. This emerging breed of Asian travellers who are heavily reliant on the web use an average of four different sources of information when planning their hotel stay.

Ms Neeta Lachmandas, Assistant Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board, concludes, “Discussions at TravelRave have emphasized that the next decade will offer many opportunities for Asia’s travel and tourism industry. Successfully capturing these opportunities will rest on the industry’s ability to collaborate between businesses, both among the public and private sectors, and throughout the region. As the marketplace for the travel industry in Asia, TravelRave will continue to facilitate this collaboration by creating synergies in cross-event content and networks.”

TravelRave 2014 will see the return of anchor events such as the Asia Travel Leaders Summit, ITB Asia, Web In Travel, Aviation Outlook Asia, TravelRave Leaders Gala and Singapore Experience Awards.

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