If a 15-minute slot in Normatec legs, as above, is anything to go by, compression suits could well be the next self-help wellness guide on the market. Cleverly, Alison Gilmore, Portfolio Director of ILTM, is a passionate believer in wellness as an essential part of lifestyle. At all ILTMs, therefore, there is a wellness Retreat. Here at ILTM Asia Pacific the Retreat, a quiet corner cunningly sealed off from the madding crowd, is run exclusively by Six Senses. In among the living palms and the buttercup yellow of therapists’ robes and a couple of table cloths, Ash the gong whisperer repeated the same magic she had done at the opening Forum two nights ago.
In between pre-arranged buyer-seller appointments, therefore, people pop in. One is invariably waylaid enroute. ‘It’s so uplifting talking to the travel advisors and knowing everyone is already planning ahead to 2023’, ropertiesaid Christine Galle, Founding MD/CEO of Heavens Portfolio, the Singapore-based representation company who looks after Asia interests for, among others, Le Cheval Blanc and Oetker Collection.
Splendid stands also featured exploration specialists, destinations, cruise companies, consortia, hotel groups and individual properties. On the Trump Hotels stand, Anne-Marie Donoghue, VP Sales & Strategy, said ‘ILTM is big for us: the world has been closed and it’s a joy to be back here’. Comments from the floor were unanimous. Yngvar Stray, GM CAPELLA SINGAPORE, felt the quality of the buyers to be exactly what he wants (the Capella stand had several GMs there, which always impresses agents, who feel they get good value when they ‘know the boss’).
There was so much for the buying advisors to take in. Rwanda’s High Commissioner Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye joined his tourism colleagues in promoting gorillas and more. Accor’s CCO Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, Kerry Healy, shared daunting figures – 19 brands in her area (372 properties, of which 35% are luxury, with a definite pipeline of 127). Forthcoming properties include a Raffles on Sentosa, Fairmonts in Hanoi and Tokyo, Sofitel in Cebu, and a Mondrian in Singapore.
Minor Hotels are offering Chao Phraya river journeys in four cabin boats, fully staffed, and they have a Vietnam luxury train that is vastly better than driving between resorts; in Amsterdam they are taking over the GRAND KRASNAPOLSKY and the former Oberoi Dubai is now ANANTARA. In Rome, ANANTARA PALAZZO NAIADI will have a rooftop bar. Lungarno Collection’s long-awaited PORTRAIT MILANO, opening 1st December, will have four restaurants.
Everyone certainly needed sustenance at ILTM this year. As Shane Jameson, Cluster DSM for several IHG hotels in Bangkok, said, ‘Everyone here at ILTM is buzzing, it’s beyond amazing’. Also Thailand-based, Anthony Lark, Executive Director, designer Bill Bensley’s HMD Asia, pointed out how invaluable it is to be able to meet face-to-face again. ‘Life is precious and we need to live every moment.’
Media also had a busy programme, by the way. There was strong content representation from the region, especially Australia and Indonesia, and other communicators flew in from USA, UK, Germany and UAE. Companies who signed up for 20-minute press conferences got best value. Destinations that did particularly well, thanks to entertaining and skilled presenters, included Catalonia and Switzerland. The companies that invested in sending top speakers attracted most interest.
Media were also splendidly entertained. Marriott Luxury Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Bart Buiring, based in Hong Kong, hosted drinks and a super-gourmet paired Cantonese dinner, seated at flower-heavy round tables, at J.W. MARRIOTT SOUTH BEACH’s Madam Fan. Hilton Luxury threw a breakfast at CONRAD CENTENNIAL SINGAPORE – long tables lavishly decked with cornucopia of exotic fruits and best baked items in town (from Burnt Ends Bakery, who work with WALDORF ASTORIA ITHAAFUSHI MALDIVES, whose signature lobster breakfast burger was among the brought-to-you main courses that followed). Keynote breakfast speaker was Hilton head of luxury Asia Pacific Nils-Arne Schroeder. Hear his earlier Podcast below..
And make a note of next ILTM Asia Pacific, 19-22 June 2023