Agenda Day 1 | Agenda Day 2 | Agenda Day 3

Day 3 : 19 OCT 2018


10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

China Keynote Panel: Seizing the golden opportunity: How Chinese travelers are changing the world and how to win them over

Chinese tourists are having a huge impact on destinations everywhere with over 135 million travellers a year, spending US$261 billion, which welcome the money they pay. 

  • Connecting travel brands with Chinese millennials 
  • New trends and driving forces 
  • How to market your destinations to the tech-savvy Chinese travelers 


  • Alessandro Dassi, CEO & General Manager, Thomas Cook Greater China and Far East 
  • Troy Liu, Founder & CEO, Mileslife 
  • Changle Yang, COO, Tujia 
  • Yuzhou (Frank) Huang, Vice President and General Manager of Hotel Business Department, Fliggy 


  • Saxon Booth, Director of Business Development, Dragon Trail Interactive

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

The future of travel: Minimizing the impact of flight disruption

Christopher Flook, CEO FlightGlobal, Lonely Planet

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

How Lonely Planet creates engaging content with selected and like-minded brands

Adam Knight, Sales Director, Client Solutions APAC, Lonely Planet

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Innovative Event Ideas vs. Budget

Nowadays it becomes more and more important to create awareness among the customers for a special product. The event industry itself, beside events like concerts, theatre or cinema performances, where the event is actually the product, can help to market products. It starts from upload of a simply YouTube self-made video and goes up to Mega event shows. The borders are not given and the creativity of what you can do is unlimited. Though events became part of product marketing. In the tourism industry we are faced with a special development. Events aren’t only to promote new products, the tourism product itself shows increasing pieces of events. The question is how to define it and which budget the costumer is willing to pay for it. There is a broad range of possibilities for single costumers as well as for big companies. Let’s have a special look into this very interesting topic.

Norbert Pfefferlein, Managing Director, TCME touristic concept marketing & events international GmbH

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Why does group technology lag behind transient technology?

Over the last few years, there has been a significant amount of technological change on the group side of travel and hospitality. Heightened demand for connectivity, the proliferation of mobile devices, and the continued growth of online commerce are example of catalysts.

Still, there exists a reasonable point of view that groups business lags behind its transient peer in the quality of its technology products and its rate of adopting new technology. We often hear perspectives from technology-savvy group planners expressing frustration that the groups industry is not yet able to meet a standard set by transient technology experiences. “I wish buying and planning a meeting was as easy as purchasing my transient travel.”

In general, technology adoption in the groups business category can be slow and product quality often lags compared to transient experiences.

In this session, we discuss why it is an important long-term priority for groups business organisations to be proficient at how they adopt and manage technology, what are the dynamics in groups business that make such efforts especially challenging, and what organisations can do to overcome them.


  • Steven Hopkinson, Founder, Idem Hospitality
  • Michael Chiay, Founder & CEO, MEETWIZE

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Travel without traveling: Can Voice Assistant (AI) and Hologram technology completely transform your next conference or travel experience

It's ITB 2020 and you are sitting among 2000 others for the Opening Keynote in Singapore. The stage lights up, and there comes Richard Branson. Live, interactive, inspiring you with his talk, and addressing your questions. Only, he isn't actually there. It's his Live Human Hologram, moving, talking and engaging you in real-form. 

Not just that, he is teleported at the same time to Shanghai, London and Mumbai for 3 co-located venues where the same conference is happening.
And beyond the keynote... Imagine a friction-free voice assisted experience, from registration, to information and navigation, and even getting your Grab booking to head home after.

No twiddling on your mobile phone. Not one more app that you need to install. Native, pure, raw voice based natural conversations...helping you get in, get around, and get out.
This session will showcase all that's coming in the future of MICE with Augmented Reality and Voice AI.

Swami Sekar, Co-Founder & CEO, Winimy.Ai

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

Contract negotiations

Contracts are the legal expression of an incentive travel agreement between the buyer and the supplier. Successful contracts result when buyers and suppliers both approach negotiations in a collaborative manner, understanding the requirements and limitations of each other. In this course, participants will explore both perspectives of contract negotiations as well as “gotchas” that buyers should be aware of.

This course is appropriate for both sales professionals and buyers with five or more years of experience in the incentive travel industry.

At the conclusion of this course, participants should be able to negotiate an incentive travel contract for the mutual benefit of both the buyer and the supplier.

El Kwang, CEO, Biz Events Asia (Conference Partner: SITE)

12:30 PM - 13:00 PM

13:00 PM - 13:30 PM

Is personalisation still possible in a global market place?

With increasing global operations enabled by the internet and other technologies organisations are needing to extend their travel programs across multiple locations.  For many this becomes a choice between having multiple providers with the associated issues this causes to compliance, reporting and risk management. Alternatively, they are looking to global providers to avoid the issues but can find themselves forced into a model of service that does not match their previous experience.
What actually are the options available and what are the benefits and pitfalls of each?
This session will explore traditional versus new ways of managing travel and consider how personalisation and customer experience is impacted by each.  Also, it will help to answer the question of whether it is possible to get the best of both worlds i.e. Consistency of service and program management across multiple locations while retaining high service levels and exceptional traveller experiences. 

David Hughes, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, UNIGLOBE Travel International

10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

The Rise of “Tech” in Events - Have we missed something?

This session will be interactive with a discussion around the so-called “missing human touch” as we rely heavily on Tech for Events. We will explore how to maximize the “human touch” whilst effectively leverage technology.


  • Ragini Modi, Founder & Managing Director, Spectrum Events Co., Ltd.
  • Nitin Modi, Co-Founder, Spectrum Events Co., Ltd.

11:00 AM - 11:20 AM

Getting personal: How far can event apps engage with attendees

With personalization becoming the key component of events; whether it is about making smart communication, setting up the schedule, networking with fellow attendees or exchanging notes Apps have come a long way in delivering value and ensuring communication on a real time basis.
The session will cover various aspects which Mobile Apps can deliver in today’s fast paced event ecosystem where the attendees try to utilize their time to the fullest. 

Rohit Ahuja, Director Business Development, Wizard Events & Conferences

11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Ignite your next event with gamification – It’s end to end Engagement

Event gamification is a revolutionary concept for event organisers.

Using a mobile app, organisers can incorporate game mechanics into their plans to improve the quality and effectiveness of their event or promotion, result in: improve participation, increase engagement, unforgettable experience. 

Traditional methods of driving participants to engage are: loyalty programs, gaming, & behaviour economics.


The purpose of Gamification is to stimulate participation, engagement and loyalty, by activating motivational levers such as: recognition, emulation, security, sociability, intellectual stimulation.

Listen to case studies of gamification projects and how it had achieved its desired objectives.

Dr Kenny Goh, Founder, Mice Neurol Pte Ltd

12:00 PM - 12:20 PM

When Tech Meets Weddings: Can more be done to marry the two? And what does it mean for the future of Destination Weddings

Discussion on how existing technology might not solve all problems wedding-related. Are traditional methods related to idea formulation, search and decision-making still relevant or can they be improved and better executed through smart technology?

Valerie Lim, Co-Founder, Love, Audacious

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

The Mekong Travel Start-up Forum By Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism

MIST,, is a travel innovation accelerator for the emerging markets of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam. It challenges entrepreneurs to meet the travel industry’s most pressing needs in the region. And it rewards scalable, high-potential business models that contribute to responsible tourism.

MIST is an Australian Government-funded initiative of the Asian Development Bank and the six-government Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.

MIST is showcasing eight early-stage Mekong region travel startups at ITB-Asia. Each has a unique model for solving a common travel industry problem in the market, and all have received coaching and support through the MIST program. Two will emerge from ITB-Asia as MIST Innovation Grant winners!

10:30-10:45: Welcome
Jason Lusk, Program Director, Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism Accelerator, Asian Development Bank

10:45-11:15: First 4 startup presentations

BambooLao (Lao PDR) produces reusable bamboo straws to replace single-use plastic straws.
Arounothay Khoungkhakoune-Klemm, Founder & Director, Bamboo Lao

BookMeBus (Cambodia) connects travelers and bus operators in real time, helping bus companies fill their seats and users find the most cost-effective ways to easily get around the region.
Panhavuth Heng, Co-Founder, BookMeBus

Dichung (Viet Nam) uses technology to promote low-impact rideshare transportation options, giving drivers the chance to trade free seats in their vehicles, and working with taxi companies to develop vanpools.
Nguyen Thanh Nam, Founder & CEO, Dichung Taxi

Ecohost (Viet Nam) improves the local homestay experience, improving the management of homestays and local activities while making them easier to book.
Nguyen Thu Ha, Co-Founder, Ecohost 

11:15-11:30: Networking break

11:30-12:00: Final 4 startup presentations

Go Explore (Viet Nam) organizes “workation” programs aimed at international and domestic remote workers.
Nguyen Thanh Huong, Founder & CEO, Go Explore

TakeMeTour (Thailand) is the largest and leading peer-to-peer marketplace for local tours in Thailand with more than 12,000 local guides from 48 cities.
Amornched Taro, CEO, TakeMeTour

Sidesbag (Cambodia) is a mobile application enabling airline passengers to purchase available luggage allowance from fellow travelers.
Ty Sokmey, CEO, Sidesbag 

VDEs (Viet Nam) connects event planners with event venues and makes them bookable through their database.
Ann Nguyen, Managing Director, VDEs 

12:00-12:20: Group Q&A

12:20-12:30: Awards Presentation: Mekong’s Most Innovative Travel Startup 2018

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

12:30 PM - 13:00 PM

The AI-powered hospitality is near

The adoption of artificial intelligence has become quite the trend after receiving inspiration from successful use cases. In the case of hotels, the real boost of artificial intelligence in hospitality sprung from the fact that it has the power to impact and transform the industry completely. Given the rising need for smart automation of existing processes, AI has entered the traditional hospitality landscape with a promise to enhance hotel reputation, drive revenue and take customer experience to the next level. Mike will present the store of the future, and how hoteliers can use their AI to create a frictionless experience for their consumers.

Mike Ghasemi, Founder & Chief Analyst, Mike Ghasemi Research

13:00 PM - 13:30 PM

9 Key things that can turn-around Traditional Tour business into higher profits with the use of Artificial Intelligence and other Technologies

This session would show you how traditional business can retain customers in simple steps using different technologies in the competitive markets.

Neelkanth Pararath, Managing Director, WebCRS

13:30 PM - 14:00 PM

Can Virtual Reality influence and transform travel decision making?

Within this session, we will explore how impactful Virtual Reality (VR) can be in influencing the decision-making process of prospective travelers. VR as an immersive medium places the travelers at the destinations and enables them to explore the new space from the comfort of their home. The level of detail a traveler experiences helps them make their decision with less unknowns and opens up a new upsell and cross-sell opportunities in the planning phase itself.  Leisure travel is a social experience, all the way from inspiration phase to post travel conversations. In this session we will also explore how VR as a medium can be leveraged to create a social dialog in discovery and planning phases. 
VR is a powerful medium for luxury resorts and hotels to showcase their differentiation to the prospective travelers. The content and medium together can be used for powerful story telling. Hotels can create social dialog with their potential visitors by hosting guided virtual tours, thus engaging with them in new ways at the top of decision funnel.
Join us, as we unfold the Impact of Virtual Reality on an "Experience-led Travel”.

Mohit Saxena, Founder & COO, Rizort

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Panel: Make bookings big online

How to run a successful bookings-based business when you are a smaller player as compared to Expedia or Airbnb?


  • Max Kraynov, CEO,
  • Felix Tan, Co-Founder, Anywhr
  • Jon Stonham, CEO, Elite Havens
  • Amit Saberwal, Founder & CEO, RedDoorz
  • Frederic Chanut, Managing Director, In Marketing We Trust


  • Mar Pages, Founder & Partner Consultant, Once In A Lifetime Journey

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Navigating the Cruise Industry Towards Greater Profits By Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

Asia is on top of the world in terms of cruise growth with a record-breaking 4.052 million Asians taking an ocean cruise in 2017 – representing an impressive 20.6% increase from 2016. 

What are the opportunities for travel agents? How can travel agents use the different brands’ unique selling points to sell cruise better? How do you attract the Asian cruise passengers?  

Join the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and cruise brands as they share the trends, tips and the unique selling points that will help you navigate the cruise industry to higher profits! 

Welcome & Introduction

  • Jiali Wong, Regional Manager Asia, CLIA 

Unique Selling Points – How and Where to use them?

  • Jiali Wong, Regional Manager Asia, CLIA 

Norwegian Cruise Lines – Freestyle cruising

  • Felix Chan, Vice President of Sales Asia, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Oceania Cruises – The finest cuisine at sea

  • Felix Chan, Vice President of Sales Asia, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Regent Seven Seas Cruises – The most inclusive luxury experience

  • Felix Chan, Vice President of Sales Asia, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Royal Caribbean International - Driving Innovation in Guest Experiences

  • Ng Si Mei, Business Development Manager, Royal Caribbean Cruises

Opportunities for travel agents in Asia cruising

  • Jiali Wong, Regional Manager Asia, CLIA 

Princess Cruises - Come Back New with Princess Cruises

  • Charmaine See Thoo, PR & Marketing Manager, Princess Cruises

Uniworld - 2019 Uniworld Ultra-Inclusive River Cruises

  • Henry Yu, Director, Asia, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Dream Cruises - “Pursue Your Dreams” Inspirational Enrichment Programs @ Sea

  • Terence Lim, Assistant Vice President - Singapore Sales, Genting Cruise Lines

Costa Cruises - Costa Fortuna home porting from Singapore

  • Rudy Wiratno, Sales Manager, Costa Cruises

Perspectives from the Asian cruise passengers

  • Jiali Wong, Regional Manager Asia, CLIA 

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

12:30 PM - 13:00 PM

13:00 PM - 13:30 PM

13:30 PM - 14:00 PM

Creative storytelling through AI in today's digital-first landscape

We're living in an age where artificial intelligence and machine learning is becoming commonplace in better delivering brand and business results to travel marketers. 

In online advertising, marketers can reach audiences at the right place and right time - but this might not be enough to tell your entire story. Influencer marketing is already being used by travel marketers to drive influence to audiences - but how does artificial intelligence play a part in this? 

The session looks at ways marketers can tie these readily available resources together, to drive results through an ever-increasing digital audience.


  • Otohiko Kozutsumi, COO & Co-Founder, AnyMind Group
  • Masaru Watanabe, Marketing & Sales Asia/Oceania, All Nippon Airways

14:00 PM - 14:30 PM

The importance of loyalty to gain direct booking: How hotels build loyalty beyond the stay

During the past decade, hotels, especially independent and small-chain hotels, are experiencing fewer direct bookings and relying more on bookings from Online Travel Agents (OTA). While OTA do provide value to hotels by bringing in new guests, they also dilute the loyalty of guests from a brand-quality stay to just discounted rates.

Many hotels are trying to grow their ratio of direct vs OTA bookings through setting up loyalty programs. However, only a few can successfully implement this type of program. This session will help hotels to understand:

•    Guest online-booking behavior 
•    What guests expect from a loyalty program 
•    How Millennial travellers differ from other generations 
•    Strategies to set up and run a successful loyalty program 

Loyalty programs should offer more than just discounted rates. Recent survey data indicates that unique experiences and other factors are highly valued by consumers and lead to not only increased direct booking but contribute to long-term guest loyalty.

Loyal guests are a hotel’s most valuable customers. This session will show you how to implement a successful loyalty program and gain a competitive edge.


  • Hartono Liman, CEO, LoyalGuest
  • Nantida Atiset, Chief Marketing Officer, Katathani Collection
  • Ang Eu Khoon, Founder, City DMC Pte Ltd
  • Michael Chiay, Founder & CEO, MEETWIZE

14:30 PM - 15:00 PM

Collaboration and partnership for high value ASEAN tourism services 

The value of Collaboration in ASEAN, most of us recognized the benefit of inter-organizational relationships and networks in tourism as significant sources of resources, competencies, and innovation. Under ASEAN single destination concept, the ASEAN network consists of multistakeholders with varied characteristics and changing membership. In this nowadays dynamic context, it is important to strategize and acquire the network continuously to influence the costs and benefits with partners. Therefore, the enterprises must collaborate throughout those complexity issues with heterogeneity partnerships to reach the equilibrium of resource, relationships to strive for the high value services and maximize profits.

Mingkwan Metmowlee, President, Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations (FATA)

15:00 PM - 15:30 PM

Conference Session by The Code

Few hotels in the Philippines have voluntarily adopted the Code of Conduct since ECPATPh started its advocacy for Child Protection in travel and tourism in the early 2000.

The Philippines is an archipelago with more than 7,000 islands and pockets of tourism destinations.  Most of the tourism establishments such as hotels and restaurants are locally associated.  The Province of Bohol, for instance, has its own Bohol Association of Hotel, Resorts and Restaurants (BAHRR).  Although BAHRR officials agree to adopt the Code of Conduct, they can’t simply impose this among their members as there are small and big players.

Members when consulted suggested to initiate a local legislation with the government. This resulted to a tripartite initiative (tourism industry represented by BAHRR, the local government of the Municipality of Panglao and NGOs represented by ECPAT), to craft and lobby for a local legislation.

The Child Protection Ordinance in Travel and Tourism was enacted in the Municipality of Panglao and the City of Tagbilaran in 2016 and adopted by the Province on Bohol the following year, meaning all the Municipalities and the lone city are obliged to implement the Child Protection Ordinance.

Now, mandated by law, all parties are involved in the implementation including the adoption of child protection policy, training of personnel and reporting of sexual exploitation situation. 

Dolores Alforte, Executive Director, ECPAT Philippines, Inc.

15:30 PM - 16:00 PM

How to Growth Hack Your Social Media

Social media marketing has become integral to the marketing campaigns of successful travel brands. With the global availability of mobile connectivity, more and more travel stories are shared on social media, service complaints are made, brands are discussed, and experiences are broadcast. It is therefore imperative that brands are shaping the conversations that affect them. The problem is that social media is constantly evolving, making it difficult to stay up-to-date. What’s more, next to the biggest names in the travel industry and thousands of competitors, how is it even possible to gain traction on social media?

This panel, as moderated by award-winning travel blogger and former Professional Travel Bloggers Association President Matt Gibson, will reveal the secrets used by professional travel influencers to stay ahead and maintain loyal social media communities.

Key Topics

  • The value of social media marketing before, during and after travel • How social media affects the travel experience
  • The power of user-generated content
  • Where influencers are spending their time in 2018 (it’s all about the ‘gram)
  • The meteoric rise of Instagram Stories
  • Tips for efficient and effective social media management
  • Social media best practices


  • Nam Cheah, Blogger, Laugh Travel Eat
  • Daniel Bibb, Blogger, As We Saw It
  • Linda Bibb, Blogger, As We Saw It


  • Matt Gibson, Former President, Professional Travel Bloggers Association & CEO, UpThink

16:00 PM - 16:30 PM

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Turkish Showcase: Towards a Comprehensive Destination Based Approach for MFT

The most prominent characteristics of Muslim Friendly Tourism in Turkey is the abundance of historical sites and attractions which without doubt appeal to those in search of Islamic heritage destination. The Turkish experience is a showcase of how such an abundant treasury can be best used with complimentary Islamic destination marketing elements and strategies to relieve the legacy of Islamic heritage and to serve to Muslim Friendly Tourism.

Turkey has various Islamic heritage elements including both tangible and intangible ones: monuments, crafts, holy relics, legacy of Ottoman, Seljukians; many cities hosting this legacy. In line with this Islamic heritage, an overall look to Muslim Friendly Tourism in Turkey will be provided. The efforts for comprehensive destination marketing will be elaborated with all its elements including MFT products & services like Muslim friendly hotels, Muslim friendly airlines, Muslim friendly airports, Muslim friendly transportation facilities, Muslim friendly online booking websites, Muslim friendly travel agencies.

Begum Soysal, Counsellor for Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Turkish Embassy Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Destination Development in Halal Tourism hosted by CrescentRating


  • Carel Stadler, Trade & Partnership Manager, Cape Town Tourism
  • Chris Nader, Vice President, Shaza Hotels
  • Zulkifly Md Said, Director General of Islamic Tour Centre Malaysia, Ministry of Tourism and Culture

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

12:30 PM - 13:00 PM

12:30 PM - 17:00 PM

FUTURE LEADERS 2018 (by invite only)

Want to play a leading role in the global hospitality industry? Get up to speed with key hospitality trends, and the skills needed to keep pace.

Future Leaders, a session aimed at cultivating the future talent of the travel and tourism industry in Singapore is back for its 6th edition to address the diversity and constant changes in the hospitality careers. 

This session acts as a platform to spark conversations between local students and the industry to promote a better understanding of careers within the tourism sector and the needs and expectations of job seekers. 

The 2018’s session will focus on technology as the driven disruptions to the sector. Speakers will provide insights in this new travel industry that have rapidly developed over the past years. Our panel aims to help students understand the market challenges, career opportunities, and necessary skill sets required to stay relevant and thrive in this competitive industry.

12:30 - 13:00: Registration

13:00 - 13:55: Tour of ITB Asia Exhibition Hall - Basement 2

13:55 - 14:00: Opening Remarks for Future Leaders 2018

14:00 - 14:20: Individual Presentation: The Right Attitude
As professionals seek to provide exceptional services, it is key to have the right attitude. Master what it takes to excel in the industry in this session.
Stewart Fu, Director of Learning, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

14:20 - 14:40: Individual Presentation: The Sky’s The Limit
Explore what it means to enter the Hospitality industry, the changes driving the industry and why you should start your careers in countries like Singapore. 
Ian Wilson, Senior Vice President of Non-Gaming Operations, Marina Bay Sands 

14:40 - 15:10: Fireside Chat: Climb the Hospitality Ladder
Hear from our speaker on the highs and lows of the hospitality career, their differentiated career path, and how you can create your own.

  • Zak Muysken, Director of Guest Services, Intercontinental Singapore 
  • Sulbi Lee, General Manager, M Social at Millennium Hotels & Resorts


  • Lee Yan Xuan, Fresh Graduate, Singapore Institute of Technology

15:10 - 16:00: Panel Discussion: Envisioning the Future
The industry is at the edge where technology revolutionises how guest experiences are delivered. What would employers seek from aspiring hospitality associates in the future as we shift from the traditional way? Join us for a conversation on tech trends and how brands recognise and recruit talent with skills to stay ahead these changes.

  • Darren Ware, General Manager, Carlton City Hotel Singapore
  • Ng Gian Heng, Director of Human Resources, Intercontinental Singapore
  • Merle Chen, Chief Talent Officer, Lo & Behold Group
  • Lavinia Rajaram, Regional Head of Communications, Expedia Asia
  • Harpreet Singh Chhatwal, Senior Director, Human Resources, South East Asia and Pacific, Radisson Hotel Group


  • Wimintra Jangnin, Editor in Chief,

16:00 - 17:00: Breakout Session and Networking


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