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ITB India Virtual opens with Indian and South Asian markets driving towards recovery and growth

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Under the theme of “Connecting you to the Indian Travel Market”, the 3-in-1 show ITB India, MICE Show India and Travel Tech India 2022 opens its virtual doors, gathering top-notch industry figures and international exhibitors from various segments of MICE, Leisure, Corporate and Travel Technology.The B2B virtual events, happening on ITB Community in Asia (ITB Community) from 5 – 7 April, will provide up-to-date insights and key strategies to lead the industry, mainly in Indian and South Asian markets, towards recovery and growth. Key exhibitors at this year’s virtual show include Berlin Brandenburg Airport, Business Events Perth, German National Tourist Office, GIATA, Melia Hotels International, National Tourism Office of Spain in India, Radisson Blu Hoi An, Royal Commission for AlUla, Sarawak Tourism Board, Tourism New Zealand and Turismo de Portugal, to name a few.

“This year’s powerful conference’s keynote sessions unveil the biggest and most important issues to open the doors for travelling, accelerate international recovery and ultimately make sure that the travel, tourism and MICE industries become more inclusive and sustainable in the years ahead”, said Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of ITB India, MICE Show India and Travel Tech India.

Top line-up of industry leaders at ITB India Conference

As the travel industry is on the path to recovery, industry experts will share their ideas on the future of the Indian and South Asian travel markets. ITB India’s travel think tank will cover topics ranging from MICE, Corporate, Leisure Travel, Hospitality, Transportation and Travel Technology.

In the first session of the first conference day, titled “What Will Be Key to Travel the World Again?”, John Wroughton Brown, CEO, Agoda outlines what it takes to succeed as the industry continues to move forward on. He will share his thoughts on what the major game changers will be, how industry players are continuing to innovate the business models to remain competitive and their plans for the future of the travel industry.

Travel and tourism play an indispensable ingredient to the world’s overall economic health. Few, if any, industries generate jobs and commerce like the travel industry. Yet it is facing unprecedented challenges. In the session named “The Road to Sustainable Travel”Laura Houldsworth, Managing Director & Vice President, Asia Pacific, Booking.com will explore how India and South Asia are getting ready for the opening of the markets and the return of the travellers.

“Pivot! New Challenges Bring New Opportunities” is the session on the second day of the conference in which Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel Limited outlines the importance of customer service as the industry recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In his keynote speech he will also explain why the travel industry needs to focus on making customers feel safe when they book a trip away.

As hoteliers welcome guests back and look for ways to accelerate recovery, they are facing pressing questions, such as: What is the most-effective way to meet guests’ new expectations? or How to deal with the growing labour shortage? Under the heading “Driving India’s Next Tourism Revolution”G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Managing Director, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) will discuss trends and solutions to simplify operations and elevate guest experiences.

Young travellers keep the connection alive with their desire for shared experiences, storytelling and wanderlusting over when they can travel again. In his keynote speech on Conference Day Three named “Youth Travel: Trends and Opportunities for Growth”Adam Armstrong, Global CEO, Contiki will discuss what the year 2022 might be like for gen Z and Millennials looking to fulfill their travel dreams, now that international travel is slowly getting back on track.

MICE Show India with a comprehensive agenda for business, conference, and networking

This year’s MICE Show India gathers top executives from world’s reputable MICE associations and leading companies to provide valuable insights and actionable strategies to move the MICE industry forward.

Mikael Ek, Managing Director EMEA, BCD Meetings & Events explores several expected trends to lead the way through recovery and beyond in his session, “Business Considerations & Trends 2022”. He will also explain how to re-imagine the future of MICE, introducing various ways to conduct meetings and events.

The panel discussion titled “How to Transform Your Meetings & Events From Carbon Intensive to Carbon Neutral” will share best practices to help the industry make meetings and events more sustainable. Among the confirmed speakers are Arnab Mukherjee, Director, Meetings & Events India & Global Attendee Experience, AMEX GBT – American Express Global Business Travel Meetings & EventsPatrick Rush, Senior Regional Director Asia Pacific, American Express Meetings & Events, and Sanghamitra Bose, Vice President & General Manager, Singapore, Hong Kong & Thailand, AMEX GBT – American Express Global Business Travel (Moderator).

“How to Design Incredible Virtual Events – Based on Neuroscience” will be presented by Samir Kalia, Managing Director, MCI GeTS India Pvt Ltd who will share engagement tools and tips that can help keep enthusiasm alive and online audiences stay engaged longer.

The organisers and attendees of business events want to meet in person again. “Bringing People Together and Back Again through Conventions and Meetings” is the dedicated title of a presentation by Chander Mansharamani, Managing Director, Alpcord Network Travel & Conference Management Company. He will highlight the importance of business events as an economic driver for cities and how their economic contribution feeds into the businesses surrounding the venue.

In the past two years, everything we knew and loved about work changed due to pandemic. In the panel discussion titled “Making Incentive Travel a Growing Business Post-COVID”Barun Gupta, President, SITE India and Sanjeev Joshi, President, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Past President, SITE India will engage in a debate on why incentive travel programmes must change, too. Kamal Gill, Managing Director, OptiMICE Events will talk about “The New Face of MICE in India – Post Pandemic”. The MICE Show India will be rounded off with a session by Amit Saroj, CEO, Indiattiude with the title “After Lockdown – MICE’s New Business Model to Bounce Back”.

Travel Tech India: Where latest technologies, emerging trends, leading travel brands and innovative startups are all at one place

Technology plays a key role for every travel company to survive and move forward in this unprecedented situation to welcome travel back again. Travel Tech India will explore innovations, initiatives and case studies from various industry profiles including tech companies, hotels, OTAs, transport companies and more.

Titled “Powering up the Future of Travel with Technology”Anshul Gupta, Industry Lead for Travel & Hospitality and Advanced Technology Centers – India, Accenture, will discuss how travel industry leaders can empower their companies and employees with the latest technology for a better traveller and employee experience.

Tourism is a key industry for many economies in Asia and has been severely impacted due to the pandemic. Sangitha Shetty, General Manager – Global Travel & Mobility, Tata Communications will explore what will be key to reviving the sector in the session “Adapting to an Evolving Travel Ecosystem”.

Olivier Ponti, Vice President of Insights, ForwardKeys will share thoughts and insights on the new era of travel and the evolution of consumer sentiment in the session named “New Era, New Rules: Smart Tourism and the Global Challenges”Kanika Soni, CCO, Tripadvisor will give a talk about “Reconnecting Travel Back into the World” and Sachin Gadoya, Co-Founder & CEO, Musafir.com will highlight “The Present and Future of Travel Technologies”, while Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager for India, SEA, HK and Taiwan, Airbnb will underline “The Tech’s Role in Rebuilding Travellers’ Confidence”“The Customer Service Challenge: Chatbots vs the Human Touch” is the name of the speech delivered by Rajnish Kumarr, Co-Founder & Group CPTO, ixigo.

Conference sessions led by hotels

The travel industry is experiencing the toughest time. In the following sessions, hotel leaders across the Indian travel market and beyond share thoughts about how consumer expectations have evolved, lessons they have learnt leading the hotels during these uncertain times and what actions are needed to emerge stronger and better than ever.

  • “Leading the Journey to Recovery”
    Anuraag Bhatnagar
    , COO, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts
  • “Shaping the New Hospitality Industry with Confidence”
    Dimitris Manikis
    , President & Managing Director EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • “Serviced Apartments: Capturing the New Demand”
    Hoshang Garivala
    , Director of Operations – India, Oakwood Worldwide
  • “Leisure Hospitality Trends to Watch”
    Kavinder Singh
    , Managing Director & CEO, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India
  • “Hospitality 2.0 – Changing Face of the Industry with Evolving Guest Expectations and Experiences”
    Sudeep Jain
    , Managing Director, South West Asia, IHG Hotels & Resorts

Conference sessions led by transportation-focused companies

“Private Travel & the Future of Air Mobility” is the title of the session held by Ian Moore, CCO, Vista Global and VistaJetPrabhjeet Singh, President, India & South Asia, Uber will give a speech titled “Towards A Zero-Emission Travel Industry: The Path to Sustainability is Shared”.

Under the heading “The Revival of Aviation Post COVID”Aloke Singh, CEO, Air India Express will present a speech at this year’s conference, while Prakash Sangam, CEO, redBus will deliver a session on “Building Products for the Next Billion Indian Travellers”.

Corporate travel-focused sessions

In the session “Who will Disrupt Corporate Travel?”Rakshit Desai, Managing Director, Indian Subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group, FCM Travel highlights how we can leverage the power of collaboration and innovation in order to respond to the new realities and customer behaviours that have emerged during the pandemic. Neelu Singh, Managing Director, India, Japan & Korea, HRS Group will present several trends that are expected to lead the way through recovery and beyond in the talk titled “Corporate Travel Megatrends”. How can travel brands succeed in a post COVID-19 world? is one of the key question that will be addressed by Ritika Modi, Regional President, UNIGLOBE Travel (South Asia) and Ankur Khurana, Chief Transformation Officer, UNIGLOBE Travel (South Asia) in the panel discussion “Power as One: Revisiting Business Model – Travel Franchise System in the Post-COVID Era”.

Conference Sessions led by national tourism organisations and leading Indian travel associations

  • “Building a Resilient Recovery for Tourism”
    Brent Hill
    , CEO, Tourism Fiji
  • “Rethinking Travel for a Sustainable Future”
    Christine Mukharji
    , Country Manager, Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO)
  • “Marketing During Pandemic”
    Damcho Rinzin
    , Chief Marketing Officer, National Tourism Office, Tourism Council of Bhutan
  • “Destination Recovery: Building Deeper Connection with Travellers”
    GB Srithar
    , Regional Director, India, Middle East & South Asia, Singapore Tourism Board
  • “Sustainable Destination – Creating the Future Ahead”
    Luís Araújo
    , President, Turismo de Portugal (Portuguese National Tourism Authority)
  • “Delivering a Memorable Travel Experience for the Millennials”
    Neliswa Nkani
    , Hub Head Middle East, India, South East Asia, South African Tourism
  • “Capturing Indian Outbound Travel Market Share!”
    Nishant Kashikar
    , Country Manager – India and Gulf, Tourism Australia
  • “From Why to Why Not: Reinventing Tourism”
    Ajay Prakash
    , President, TAFI – Travel Agents Federation of India
  • “Driving Ways to Revolutionise Travel Across India and Other Regions”
    Jyoti Mayal
    , President, TAAI – Travel Agents Association of India
  • “Navigating the Future of Tourism”
    P P Khanna
    , President, ADTOI – Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India
  • “Indian Outbound Travel Market Outlook”
    Riaz Munshi
    , President, OTOAI – Outbound Tour Operators Association of India
  • “How COVID-19 Will Continue to Test Our Business Resilience”
    Tejbir Singh Anand
    , Vice Chairman, Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH)

Find further information on the events, or to join the following days, please visit itb-india.com.

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