Mr Burkhard Kieker, CEO, visitBerlin,
Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice President, Messe Berlin,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good morning and a big welcome back to Singapore.
2. It is my pleasure to be here the opening ceremony of ITB Asia 2022 – the largest travel tradeshow in Singapore in the last 3 years.
a. Now that borders are open, glad to be able to address you in person and welcome everyone to Singapore.
b. Mr Kieker is no stranger to Singapore. He studied at INSEAD Business School.
3. It is you, our people in our travel and tourism industry, who shape destination experiences for travellers. People have long taken travel for granted, until the pandemic took away the magical experience of travelling from us.
4. Thank you Messe Berlin for making ITB Asia possible, and for entrusting Singapore to host this premiere event for the travel trade.
a. Messe Berlin will be signing a MOU with the Singapore Tourism Board to anchor ITB Asia in Singapore for the next 3 years.
b. We value this vote of confidence and partnership as we continue to strengthen our position as a global business hub and key node for Business Events within Asia.
The Evolution of ITB Asia and Launch of Travel Tech Asia
5. Since ITB Asia’s inception in 2008, it has grown from strength to strength.
a. Besides ramping up in size and scale, it has also adapted to stay relevant to the travel industry’s needs and evolving consumer trends.
6. As global travel resumes, events like ITB Asia help the global industry strengthen trade relations, forge new partnerships, and share ideas on how we can reimagine travel for the world.
7. With this in mind, Messe Berlin is launching the first in-person Travel Tech Asia event today.
a. Travel Tech Asia is a co-located event showcasing travel tech solutions.
b. It is a great platform that brings together travel industry players and solution-providers, helping us improve offerings and create new reimagined and yet to be imagined possibilities for travel.
c. Exhibiting at the event are companies like Vouch Concierge, a Singapore start-up which develops app-less platforms for hospitality companies.
d. Vouch has benefited from our Singapore Tourism Accelerator Programme. They developed an e-housekeeping solution to significantly reduce the time housekeepers spend collating customer service requests.
e. Since we launched the Accelerator in 2019, we have supported 42 tech companies to develop 51 tourism solutions.
f. There are also other success stories like these at the Singapore Tourism Accelerator Tech Showcase, happening on the 3rd day of ITB Asia (21 October 2022).
New and Refreshed Offerings in Singapore’s Tourism Sector
8. This year’s ITB Asia takes place amid geo-political and economic headwinds. But we have reasons to be optimistic, as Singapore and our region have much to offer.
a. Singapore is on track with our visitor arrivals. We will likely end the year with 4-6M visitors – closer to the higher end of our forecasts.
b. We also expect our tourism receipts for 2022 to hit between S$10-20 billion.
c. These figures are about 40% of our pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.
d. By year end, we expect the number of flights in Changi Airport to recover to over 80% of pre-Covid levels.
e. This puts us in a good position in our road to recovery next year.
9. As the worst effects of Covid-19 ebb, the momentum for travel recovery is growing.
a. People are looking to reconnect and explore new destinations or re-visit their favourite haunts.
b. Just a few weeks back, Singapore played host to the 2022 F1 Singapore Grand Prix.
c. The roar of the engines, cheer of the crowd, and the record number of visitors showed that Singapore continues to be an attractive destination for many of our friends from overseas.
10. Over the last 2 years, we have also seen new hotels open, new attractions come to life, and new experiences curated by our local operators, who grabbed the opportunity to develop quality products for our visitors to see a different side of Singapore.
a. The Museum of Ice Cream, Haw Par Villa’s Hell’s Museum, Central Beach Bazaar at Sentosa, and the inaugural Wellness Festival are just the tip of the iceberg.
b. Orchard Road is also a great example of how we have not stood still, and are injecting new experiences into existing tourism sites.
c. We are rejuvenating our famous shopping precinct into a lifestyle destination, and transforming it into a lush green urban corridor.
d. For example, we will create more car-free walkways for visitors and enlarge green spaces within the precinct.
e. Many first-to-market brands and hospitality players also chose to open or revamp their Orchard Road offerings during the pandemic.
f. These include Puma’s largest flagship store in Southeast Asia, Adidas Singapore’s first brand centre, the first voco hotel in the region, and Hilton’s new flagship hotel.
11. More of such locations and experiences are set to open across our island, such as the 17-hectare Bird Paradise in the second quarter of 2023 in Mandai, hotels such as The Edition by Marriott and Banyan Tree Mandai Park, the Avatar Experience at Gardens by the Bay and the inaugural ARTSG exhibition.
Focus on Sustainability
12. Underpinning these new developments is a keen focus on sustainability.
a. There is a rising demand for sustainable travel options, and STB is strengthening our tourism sector’s foundation in this area.
b. We launched our Hotel Sustainability Roadmap in March this year and are focused on reducing the waste and carbon footprint of exhibitions.
c. We also rolled out our Tourism Sustainability Programme. This helps businesses build their workforce and develop novel solutions to capture opportunities for sustainable travel.
d. To further benchmark our social and environmental performance against other destinations, we will participate in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) for the first time in 2022.
e. This ensures we are generating responsible and regenerative tourism that creates thriving destinations for all.
13. Our tourism sector has both solid fundamentals, and a strong pipeline of new and refreshed experiences. We are well-positioned for a full recovery.
14. Thank you to every one of our stakeholders. You have persevered despite the odds.
15. But our work must not stop here. We must continue pursuing innovation, pushing boundaries, and reimagining the future of travel.
16. I wish Messe Berlin a successful event, and may all of you have a fruitful and enjoyable time at ITB Asia as we chart our path of recovery, together.
17. Thank you.