The 33rd International Travel Expo (ITE) and 14th MICE Travel Expo opened June 13 to the sound of Indonesian and Thai music and the clashes of home-grown lion dancing.
Guest-of-honour Joe Wong JP, Commissioner for Tourism, Tourism Commission of the HKSAR, introduced the impressive number of over 700 exhibitors from 55 countries and regions in his speech, and said the four-day expo was anticipating 12,000 visitors and buyers over the first two trade days, and 90,000 visitors during the second two public days.
Fresh products kept interest high
While themes included cruising, green and sports tourism, adventures, culture and gourmet tours, new to the expo were destinations that included Cyprus, Ecuador, Moscow, Somalia and Peru.
Seminars on Nordic destinations, new African destinations Mogadishu and Madagascar, and MICE at Sea took place during the trade days, while public days have full schedules of presentations, many on Japan and China.
Old favourites and new destinations
Okinawa had a large presence, with the Nanseirakuen Resort Company’s multiple resorts on Miyako anticipating an upturn in Hong Kong visitors once the HK Express direct route to the island starts in July. Meanwhile, the Enso Ango collection of boutique hotels scattered across Kyoto were promoting their new “dispersed” hotels concept, with more properties in the pipeline.
New, fast-growing destination Somalia was represented by Visit Mogadishu, promoting their beaches, ruined lighthouse and the Black Hawk Down site. While at Moscow’s sizeable booth a spokesperson said ITE was an ideal platform for connecting with Asia’s tourism industry and presenting Moscow as a new and promising tourist destination. Tourists from China have been steadily growing these last few years, and leisure visitors are currently attracted by the classic sites and the city’s many festivals.
Nature and sports attracted adventurous travellers
Among the green and sports themed destinations, Nordic country Finland was represented by Nordic Travels, while HK Discovery’s Green and Sports Tourism stand was promoting cycling tours, from family-friendly to challenging, by professional cyclist Alan Ho.
Bhutan Rila Expeditions running since 2006, based in capital Thimphu, reported recent interest from Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan, as well as China and Hong Kong, with travellers searching for peace, nature and adventure.
Local destinations didn’t disappoint
Closer to home, Macau’s Turbojet introduced their new cruise, with new boats Coloane 1 and Taipa 1 offering a seaborne and scenic alternative with their sailings Taipa to Coloane. In the future stops at Fisherman’s Wharf and the A-Ma Temple will be added.
And finally, the MTR’s popular High Speed Rail between Hong Kong and 44 destinations in China will be adding 14 new direct destinations from July 10. While the long-haul trips, for example the nine-hour Hong Kong to Beijing route, are more popular for students and retirees than business professionals, the most used route is for day trips from Shenzhen and Guangzhou.