The new WTM connect events will offer a unique one-to-one format targeted at the booming Asian and Chinese leisure travel markets, allowing exhibitors to exclusively meet with elite hosted buyers.
South East Asia’s tourism numbers continue to grow with 102 million inbound tourists and 59 million outbound tourists in 2014, with further growth of +5.9% and +3.8% a year respectively until 2018.
China leads the way, as the single largest outbound leisure travel market in the world with 102 million tourists in 2014 with the largest expenditure in the world of $165 billion, an increase of 28% on 2013. It is predicted 140 million Chinese tourists will holiday abroad this year, spending more than $188 billion.
All WTM connect Buyers will be carefully selected based on industry relevance, expertise and purchasing responsibility, replicating the rigorous qualification process seen at many other WTM Portfolio events.
WTM connect will attract top quality buyers from the world’s leading tour operators such as Cox and Kings, Kuoni Travel, China Ctrip and China U-Tour to network, negotiate and sign business deals with these growing markets.
Alongside the one-to-one meetings, a full program of events will be scheduled offering lively panel debates, discussions and educational content, providing delegates with a fresh and current perspective on the destinations.
WTM connect will be the place to do business, with the WTM Portfolio this year facilitating more than $7 billion (£4 billion) in industry deals. The Portfolio’s spring events, which include WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market, witnessed a phenomenal 30% increase in senior industry buyers attending.
Furthermore, niche B2B ski exhibition, International Ski Travel Market will be re-branding to WTM connect Ski as it continues to follow the same unique one-to-one format as WTM connect Asia and WTM connect China. WTM connect Ski takes place in Austria from March 14-15, 2016.
WTM connect Asia will take place at the Eastern Oriental Hotel, Penang, Malaysia on May 18-20, and WTM connect China will be held at the Renaissance Sanya Resort and Spa, Hainan Island, China on the May 23-25.
WTM Portfolio, Director, Craig Moyes, commented: “We are delighted to be able to take the WTM Portfolio to Asia and China, with the launch of the brand new WTM connect brand. WTM connect will offer the perfect platforms for the Asian and Chinese travel industries to conduct business and firmly establish themselves as the fastest growing and most important regions in the global tourism marketplace.
“WTM connects are targeted events for exhibitors to meet with especially hand-picked buyers. The WTM Portfolio will help facilitate more than $7 billion in travel industry business deals in 2015, the WTM connect events in China and Malaysia will see this figure increase further in 2016.”
Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Director General for Tourism Malaysia, WTM connect Asia host country explains: “We are pleased to be partnering with Reed Travel Exhibitions, the world’s leading travel exhibitions organizers, to host the inaugural WTM connect Asia 2016 in Malaysia.
“Tourism Malaysia looks forward to delivering an exceptional Malaysian experience for hosted buyers.”
Mr. Kuan Zhao, Secretary General, Sanya Tourism Association, the host destination for WTM connect China commented: “I am glad to be the official partner of WTM connect China and supporter of this event in the beautiful destination of Sanya.”