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ILTM Launches Global Forum to Provide Real Industry Insight

ILTM, the luxury travel industry’s premier global event, announces the launch of the ILTM Future Forum. Held at the opening of the 2008 ILTM show, it will conduct real time research among up to 1,000 senior luxury travel providers and buyers, creating a unique, up-to-the-minute insight into the health of the industry.

With input from industry experts and subject matter specialists - including a key note address by Mr. Larry Hochman, customer relationship expert, former Director of People & Culture for British Airways and a European Business Speaker of the Year - Forum attendees will debate what ILTM has identified as the most pressing challenges facing the luxury travel industry today:

• The market agenda: Global down turn – impact to date and expectations for 2009
• The business agenda: Marketing through the down turn - changing strategies and channels
• The service agenda: Instilling a customer service ethos - the future for training and people development

The ILTM Future Forum will use interactive voting technology to conduct real-time research among its participants. “It will canvas, consolidate and present the experiences, expectations and intentions of this powerful group. For seven years providers and suppliers have come to ILTM to meet, source new opportunities and plan business activities. The ILTM Future Forum will provide them with a context for that planning, with added intelligence and timely insight to the strategies of their peers,” says ILTM Director, Ms. Christina Wood.

The ILTM Future Forum is expected to become a regular feature of the annual ILTM event. Now in its seventh year, ILTM is going from strength to strength. ILTM 2008 will welcome over 1,300 VIP buyers, up 14% on last year, while there has been a comparable increase in exhibitors. All buyers and exhibitors are handpicked and carefully vetted by ILTM’s organisers to ensure that only the best attend, guaranteeing the exclusivity and business focus for which ILTM is renowned. ILTM has a long established track record for introducing top-flight buyers to new and innovative providers in an atmosphere that’s conducive to business and deal making. International Luxury Travel Market 2008 is also introducing exciting new formats to maximise on networking opportunities.

ILTM remains the event of choice for ‘A-list’ luxury travel buyers and exhibitors and in a bid to increase value for all participants, 2008 will see the introduction of Speed Networking. This initiative will allow buyers and exhibitors to undertake a series of valuable five-minute meetings with selected business partners during five hour-long sessions. Each session will focus on a specific geographical region. An additional innovation is Focus Forums, which will aim to provide a unique tailor made platform for exhibitors to meet with a targeted group of buyers in an informal networking environment.The Mediterranean was firmly back in vogue last year as shown in the ILTM Buyers Survey, which highlighted Spain as one of the fastest growing luxury travel markets. This is reflected with Turespana’s debut at ILTM 2008. As part of a strategy to shift Spain’s mass-market image, Mr. Ignacio Vasallo, director, Spanish Tourist Office said “ ILTM is an unparalleled opportunity for luxury travel suppliers from Spain to showcase their products to international buyers. For the first time, the best accommodation and
experiences Spain has to offer will be exhibited to this elite audience. By exhibiting at ILTM we demonstrate the importance of the luxury market for Spain”.

Italy revealed by ILTM’s research to be the most popular European destination for luxury travellers is also boosting its stand this year by profiling more partners to take full advantage of the show. Other new exhibitors in Europe include the first and only luxury destination north of the Arctic Circle - Finland. Reflecting the dominance of high end product within the Middle East, Abu Dhabi will be enhancing their participation. Mr. Ali Al Hosanani, promotions director, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority said “The focus of the event is perfect for Abu Dhabi, as the destination's target market is to high end premium audience promoting such areas as new cultural events and some of the leading hotel brands that are opening in Abu Dhabi." The highly successful unique formula together with the new initiatives, effectively reinforce ILTM’s position as the most innovative and leading luxury travel trade event.

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