A Glimpse Over the Shoulder

ITB China General Manager David Axiotis looks back at the show that was… Keeping the concept on track, sticking to the original concept, and maintaining the focus on the quality of the show

It’s generally the first thing one asks at the end of a big show someone has organised… How did you feel about it? We put the question to ITB China General Manager, David Axiotis.

WE ARE VERY HAPPY THAT WE HAVE KEPT ON TRACK AND MANAGED TO DELIVER THE SAME HIGH-QUALITY DESPITE THE BIG GROWTH WE FACED IN ALL ASPECTS OF THE SHOW IN ITS SECOND EDITION

I have a very good feeling. Already the feeling from the first show was very good. But we still paid a lot of attention to managing expectations, keeping the concept on track, sticking to the original concept, and maintaining the focus on the quality of the show, keeping it as high as we managed to set the bar on the first year. That was really the main focus for this, the second year: managing the growth but still keeping the quality of the show at the same level. This has of course been a challenge, with a 50% growth in exhibition space. And it’s not just the exhibition space. We grew the conference substantially for the second year with a second conference room. We significantly grew the networking programme. Last year we had the ITB China cruise night and this year we had four events, so two concurrently on every evening: the Party like a Finn evening, we had the cruise night again which was a big success, we introduced the European night, and we had a cooperation with Qyer.com, who organised a great gala dinner after their awards ceremony. All in all, we are very happy that we have kept on track and managed to deliver the same high-quality despite the big growth we faced in all aspects of the show in its second edition.

You had some quite important new exhibitors this year. Please tell us a little more about them.

We grew pretty much in all regions and segments, starting with Europe which we just talked about. Key exhibitors included Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Poland Lichtenstein, Malta, Slovakia and Hungary, just to mention a few. We grew in the Middle East region, and a big new newcomer this year was Israel, which was added to Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, who had very big pavilions this year, even growing in size. We had a lot of newcomers from the Americas – especially the Latin American region, with Mexico, Panama, Peru, Argentina and Brazil, who for the first time with an impressive stand. All of them were new, major exhibitors, who chose ITB China as a trusted platform when starting or entering into the Chinese travel market. As opposed to other destinations that are closer to China and naturally have been working with the Chinese travel industry and networking with the big Chinese players for a longer time, I believe that for them, being so far away from China, they are still in an early phase of developing ties and products for the Chinese market… so we are very happy on that side as well.

This was the EU-China Tourism Year and the link you made with them was very important. Tell me about that and how that pannedout during the show.

Europe was our partner destination in year one, so Europe has been an important partner and supporter from the very start of ITB China. European exhibitors were very strongly represented at the first show already and the European segment grew a lot from the first to the second year. We were an official a partner event of the EU-China Tourism Year. It was therefore very fitting to have a European partner country this year for the show, with Finland. The destination is doing an amazing job when it comes to welcoming Chinese tourists and professionally developing the Chinese market. And that’s not just at a national tourism board level, but especially thanks to the cooperation with the national carrier airline, the airport on the national tourism board so all this was very fitting. Thanks to all of this, ITB China is truly a platform connecting the Chinese travel industry with the rest of the world.


Photo: David Axiotis – General Manager, ITB China