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16 Apr, 2015

Re-energised PATA Travel Mart 2015 now a far better deal than ITB Asia

Bangkok — The 2015 PATA Travel Mart to be held in South Indian high-tech metropolis of Bengaluru between Sept 6-8 is set to offer far more value for money than the ITB Asia.

A comparison of the rates of the two events shows that the Singapore-based ITB Asia 2015 has more than doubled its basic booth rates since its launch in 2008. Its lowest rates are also more than double those of the PATA Mart 2015. On the other hand, the PATA Travel Mart is just US$550 higher in 2015 than it was in 2004.

Along with the high cost of hotel rooms in Singapore, that makes ITB Asia a significantly high-cost proposition.


2008 RATES

  • Basic package: US$2,500 per 9 sq m
  • Premium package: US$3,000 per 9 sq m

2015 RATES

  • Basic package: US$5,282 or US$5,017 with 5% discount for early bird
  • Premium package: US$6,532 or US$6,205 with 5% discount for early bird


2004 RATES

Package A for a shell scheme booth package

  • US$1,650 with appointments with buyers for PATA members and US$1,950 for non-members
  • US$1,200 without appointments with buyers for PATA  members and US$1,500 for non-members.

2015 RATES

  • US$2,000 with appointments with buyers for PATA members, US$2,200 for chapter members and US$2,400 for non-members.
  • US$1,450 without appointments for PATA members US$1,650 for chapter members and US$1,850 for non-members.

Although ITB Asia insists the annual increases are minimal and in line with inflation rates, there is reason to doubt that claim. Singapore’s cost of living has not doubled in the span of nine years.

It claims to attract a high-level of attendance but that is largely due to the range of associated events organised and/or supported by the Singapore Tourism Board under the TravelRave programme.

Many of the delegates to the TravelRave events visit the ITB Asia more for socialising and networking. Moreover, many who register as “trade visitors” are often not buyers of the exhibitors’ products but sellers of products themselves, especially in the world of I.T.

The ITB Asia in effect is being subsidised by the Singaporean taxpayer. Unlike the PATA Mart, whose finances are open for public scrutiny, especially to the many taxpayer-funded national tourism organisations which are PATA members, Messe Berlin, organiser of the ITB Asia, does not disclose details about the financial status of ITB Asia.

With a heavier focus on more corporate and MICE Travel, and excessive domination by Internet companies, ITB Asia is becoming increasingly a rich-man’s club. That focus on the high-spending convention and exhibition delegates is in line with Singapore’s strategic tourism targets.

However, it has left the space wide open for the PATA Travel Mart to target the large critical-mass of the Asia-Pacific customer base, viz., the mid-market segment where an emerging generation of creative small & medium sized enterprises are hungry for business and international exposure, seek good advice and sharing of experiences with like-minded, low-cost entrepreneurs.

For this group of exhibitors, ITB Asia has already priced itself out of the market, especially as they cannot afford to send two delegates to both man the booth and attend the side events.

This year’s pricing scheme makes the PATA Mart good value for money for the many emerging provincial and city tourism boards as well as SME niche-market exhibitors such as boutique hotels and health & wellness resorts. It’s smaller size means more quality time can be spent on networking.

It will offer captive access to the outbound Indian market and a chance for delegates to experience a new destination. Bengaluru has an international airport with numerous Indian and foreign multinational companies which generate significant volumes of leisure and incentive traffic. It is also seeking to establish more air access with other Asia-Pacific cities.

The PATA Travel Mart was once the Asia-Pacific’s leading show but declined over the last decade due to PATA’s internal problems and a failure to stay abreast of the breadth and depth of change taking place across Asia, not just within the travel & tourism sector. It is now in revival mode, with a much more focussed agenda designed to put both “Pacific” and “Asia” back into the Pacific Asia Travel Association.

Said PATA CEO Mr. Mario Hardy, “We have so far over 83 buyers organisations and 50 seller organisations; but it is still early for registration; these numbers will climb up significantly within the last month before registration closes. We are receiving new registrations every day.

“This PTM will be different than previous ones as we are introducing a Responsible Tourism Pavilion, a Technology Pavilion, a Technology Forum with local / international Start-ups and Innovators, a Tourism Investment Forum, some side workshops and seminars featuring short 20-minute talks.

“Networking, Trading and socialising were already part of the PATA Travel Mart; but we are now introducing an educational component. There are partnership announcements planned in the coming weeks that will help lift the profile of the event even further,” Mr. Hardy said.

The Asia-Pacific region is big enough to support more than one show, and competition is a must. Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of the World Travel Market, was also due to announce an Asian version of its global show in Bangkok last year but deferred its decision following the military coup. Negotiations are still under way with the TAT and other regional NTOs.