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ITB Asia Conference 2023 – Stellar lineup of speakers and compelling sessions

ITB Asia Conference
Picture Credit: ITB Asia Conference

ITB Asia Conference 2023 in Singapore brings travel innovation to the forefront, uniting industry leaders for growth and new opportunities.

Exploring the forefront of travel innovation, the ITB Asia Conference 2023 takes place from 25 – 27 October in Singapore, alongside MICE Show Asia and Travel Tech Asia. Spanning across more than 90 sessions and boasting 160+ speakers, including notable figures from BCD Travel, Changi Airport Group, Constellar, Expedia Group, Hilton, Oracle and more. The ITB Asia Conference brings together influential voices in the sector to explore the evolving landscape of travel and tourism.

As the travel industry evolves at an unprecedented pace, ITB Asia Conference 2023 emerges as the premier platform for staying ahead of the curve. Under the theme “Accelerating Growth: Paving the Way for New Opportunities in Travel & Tourism”, its agenda promises a diverse range of sessions designed to inform, inspire, and innovate. Featuring three theatres, and more than 3,870 conference minutes, ITB Asia Conference is set to be a powerhouse of knowledge where 160+ industry leaders and innovators will share their insights and expertise in topics encompassing MICE, corporate travel, leisure, and travel technology.

Opening Keynote of ITB Asia 2023

The conference will be inaugurated by opening keynotes from Hermione Joye, Sector Lead, Travel and Vertical Search APAC at Google, and James Liang, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Board at Trip.com Group Ltd.

The conference theme aptly sums up the proactive stance that the industry must adopt. Navigating challenges and fostering rapid growth, ITB Asia Conference aims to uncover fresh possibilities that will shape the future of travel and tourism. With a lineup of renowned speakers, we will examine emerging trends, the future of travel, key industry concerns, and the ever-important aspect of sustainability”, says Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of ITB Asia, MICE Show Asia and Travel Tech Asia.

ITB Asia, MICE Show Asia, and Travel Tech Asia conferences will unfold across three distinct tracks.

Knowledge Theatre

At the Knowledge Theatre, the principal conference track, industry leaders and experts will delve into the future of travel, emerging trends, critical concerns, and sustainability issues, offering attendees invaluable insights.

At the Hotel’s Leader Panel, titled “Paving the Way for a New Era of Hospitality”, esteemed leaders will discuss embracing holistic wellness solutions and enhancing overall guest experiences. Moderated by Margaret Heng, Executive Director of the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA), the panel features the following expert speakers: Rachael Harding, CEO of East, South Asia & Pacific, Club Med, Vincent Ong, Vice President, Head of Full Service Brands, Asia Pacific, Hilton, Carina Chorengel, Senior Vice President Commercial, Asia Pacific, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Jonathan Newbury, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific, Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Ben Schumacher, Vice President of Operations, South East Asia Pacific Rim, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

With travel and tourism rapidly bouncing back, longer-term outlook and projections for travel for the coming decade will be explored in the “APAC 2030 and Beyond: Travel Trends in the Next Decade”, led by Michael Shoory, Lead Economist – APAC at Tourism Economics (an Oxford Economics Company).

“Aviation Landscape in the APAC Region” is the title of the session led by Lim Ching Kiat, Executive Vice President of Air Hub and Cargo Development at Changi Airport Group, who will provide insights into the evolving aviation landscape in the APAC region.

Other key speakers at the Knowledge Theatre include Laura Houldsworth, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Booking.com, Olivier Berrivin, Vice President – APAC, BWH Hotels, Ananth Ramchandran, Head of Advisory & Strategic Transactions, Hotels & Hospitality, Asia, CBRE, Philipp Bonkatz, General Manager Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei, Lufthansa Group, Wen Ciu Lee, Head of Operations APAC, TUI Musement, and Sarah Wang, Regional Director for Asia, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

MICE Show Asia Theatre

Stepping onto the MICE Show Asia stage, the leading MICE & Corporate Travel conference, the focus will illuminate trends within the meetings and events landscape, collaborative strategies to foster MICE success, and methods to enhance the allure of incentive travel and corporate expeditions.

In the panel discussion, titled, “Greener Gatherings: Low-Carbon Meetings Demand Creative Thinking”, moderator Ian Cummings, Global Head, CWT Meetings & Events, will explore together with Roger Simons, Director of Sustainability, Marina Bay Sands, and Walter Dias, Managing Director Greater China and Korea, United Airlines, why and how stakeholders across our industry must collaborate and think out of the box to find solutions for decarbonising meetings and events.

The “C-Suite Talk: Enhancing Accessibility and Driving Innovation in Corporate Travel” features Irene Chan, CEO of AsiaWorld-Expo Management Limited, who will discuss how accessibility is transforming extended travel across regions.

Abel Zhao, Co-Founder & CEO of FREED GROUP and CEO of Connexus Travel, explores the driving innovation through partnerships with tech companies during the C-Suite Talk, titled, “Driving Innovation in Corporate Travel: Collaborating with Tech Companies”.

Further key speakers at MICE Show Asia include Kaori Pereyra-Lago, Head of Strategic Meetings Management, APAC & EMEA, Global Business Development & Strategy, American Express Global Business Travel, Samrat Roy, Senior Vice President, Program Management, Asia Pacific, BCD Travel, Mahir Abdulkarim Julfar, Executive Vice President – Venue Services Management, Dubai World Trade Centre, Joost de Meyer, Chairman & CEO, First Incentive Travel, Michael Kruppe, CEO / General Manager, Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), and Shane Barr, Managing Director Asia Pacific, TAG.

Travel Tech Asia Theatre

Meanwhile, Travel Tech Asia, the conference for digital travel leaders, will pivot the spotlight towards digital travel innovation. Attendees can anticipate talks on utilising technology, upcoming trends, and the new era of data, AI, and automation.

The “Tech Leaders’ Panel: Unleashing the Power of Travel Technology” brings together top industry experts and visionaries to share valuable insights into how they are leveraging technology to enhance customer experiences, streamline operations, and drive growth in the industry. The panel welcomes the following experts: James Marshall, VP, Global Air Account Management, Expedia Group, Abdel Abatouy, Chief Technology & Information Officer (CTIO), Asia, FCM Travel, Pippa Williamson, VP Commercial for APAC, Hotelbeds, Brett Henry, President Director, MG Group, and Bradley Haines, Regional Vice President of Asia Pacific, SiteMinder.

In the session, titled, “Travel & Hospitality Strategy and Investment Outlook”, Nicholas Cocks, Managing Partner, Velocity Ventures, will examine the state of the industry’s recovery, the key problem areas that are emerging and deep dive into several startups that are addressing these problems while disrupting the industry in the process.

Patrick Andres, Regional Vice President – Hotels and Food & Beverage, Oracle will explore his insights on guests’ experience in the session titled, “From Pre-journey Till Post-journey of Guests’ Stay: How Hotels Can Improve Their Automation”.

The Travel Tech Asia Conference will be rounded off by other top speakers including Diego Heredia, Vice President Corporate Strategy, Amadeus, Emilie Couton, Managing Director Asia Pacific, D-EDGE Hospitality Solutions, Benhur Villamil, Vice President Information Technology, Discovery Hospitality, Teresa Matheson, Vice President, APAC, Egencia, Elia San Martin, Vice President & General Manager, APAC, KAYAK, and Chitra Gurnani Daga, Co-Founder & CEO, Thrillophilia.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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