Where luxury travel meant business

ILTM 2013 marked an increase in buyers including UAE and Saudi Arabia

LEADING hub for the global luxury travel industry, International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) 2013, which took place in Cannes in France from December 2 to 5, has facilitated over 57,000 individual business meetings, an increase of 12 per cent year-on-year.

The 2013 edition of the show welcomed more than 1,450 buyers from 73 countries – 34 per cent of them first time participants. There was a marked increase in buyers from countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Mexico and Argentina.

The event was a success for the 1,450 exhibitors attending from 96 countries across the world.

“ILTM guests are the best of luxury travel today. We are delighted to have once again facilitated so many successful business opportunities for both the new and the established generations of elite travel at ILTM 2013,” said ILTM senior exhibition director, Alison Gilmore.

ILTM 2013 Opening Forum introduced over 1,000 of the luxury travel industry’s most influential suppliers and buyers to the insights and predictions from four speakers, followed by a real-time research session. The research identified that 79 per cent of ILTM participants voted Facebook as the best form of social media for client engagement, discounting and online discount sites present the biggest challenge for 2014 and 43 per cent of participants are seeing the most growth from the 35-44 age group.

Gilmore opened the Forum with a tour of each event in the growing ILTM family, and welcomed its newest acquisition – Travelweek São Paulo – the high-end travel exhibition that introduces select international travel suppliers to premium buyers from across Brazil and other Latin American countries.

An aerial view of The Brando, an exclusive luxury resort in the Maldives

“ILTM is a culture,” explained Gilmore, at the Forum held at the Grand Auditorium, Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes. “Luxury consumers seek out ever more authentic, original and sustainable experiences.”

Singapore-based Como Hotels and Resorts announced the opening of its three new properties at ILTM. The group opened its second resort in the Maldives (and the first ever in the Thaa Atoll) Maalifushi by COMO last month and the Point Yamu by COMO designed by Italian superstar Paolo Navone on the Yamu Peninsula in Phuket in November 2013. It will open its first US Hotel, Metropolitan by COMO in Miami Beach this month. 

The show also launched a unique resort and model of sustainable technology, located on the private island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia, The Brando, a product of the late actor Marlon Brando’s vision.

The goal for The Brando, featuring 35 private villas, is to become the first new resort in the world to obtain the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. The Brando’s opening is scheduled for July 1, 2014.

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas unveiled its aggressive expansion plans at ILTM. It opened its 26th property Anantara Chiang Mai in Thailand. 2013 has seen considerable expansion for the luxury experience-led brand, with properties so far joining the portfolio in China, Vietnam and in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE including the most recent additions – Anantara Al Sahel Villas in Abu Dhabi and Anantara Bazaruto Island in Mozambique which was rebranded in December 2013. 2014 will also see the expansion plans continue, with the first quarter seeing a new flagship opening in Thailand – Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa which opens early in the New Year – followed by Anantara Emei Resort & Spa near Chengdu in China’s Sichuan Province and Anantara Doha Island Resort & Spa in Qatar, which will be the first property in the country. 

Other future projects are five properties in China, one each in Lao and Mauritius (the first venture for Anantara in this popular Indian Ocean Island destination),  two in Sri Lanka and one in Oman, Anantara Salalah Resort and Spa located on the Arabian Sea in Salalah City, Dhofar Coast on the south of Oman.  The new 136 guest rooms and villas resort will be 10 km from the city centre and 15 kms from the airport.  It will be located adjacent to a natural canal and will have direct access to the beach, a botanical garden and the Al Baleed Unesco archaeological sites. The group aims to reach a target of 50 Anantara properties either in operation or under development by 2015.

Capella Hotels and Resorts, which serves top-tier travellers and residential property owners, announced its new properties. This year, a 86-room Capella Bahia Maroma in Mexico will open doors in summer and 80-room Capella Niseko, located in Niseko, Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, will open in winter. Capella Nahui in Mexico and Capella Bangkok will open in 2016.

InterContinental Genève makes a strong come back into the hospitality scene with the unveiling of its one-of-a-kind The Residences, refurbished by world-renowned New York interior designer Tony Chi and his associate William Paley.

Originally built in 1963, InterContinental Genève is located in the heart of Geneva’s diplomatic district and nestled in an area of lush parkland.

It features 16 meeting and event spaces, two dining venues, a bar, The Clarins Institute & Day Spa, a 24-hour fitness facility, and 333 intimate guest rooms, including 49 elegantly furnished suites and three residences.

It underwent a $110 million refurbishment over a period of 10 years.

Aggressive expansion by Anantara … Anantara Bazaruto Island in Mozambique

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts highlighted its appointment to manage the legendary Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, which is currently closed to undergo a complete restoration and scheduled to reopen in 2015. Originally built in 1758, Hôtel de Crillon overlooks the Place de la Concorde. This announcement comes shortly after the launch of Rosewood London. Rosewood has embarked upon an ambitious global expansion with a particular focus on Europe and Asia. In 2014, the brand will open hotels in Beijing, Riyadh and Baha Mar with further openings already announced including Phuket, Bali and Bangkok. 

Warwick International Hotels (WIH) announced its plans for the region. Currently in its portfolio are Winter Valley Warwick Resort & Spa, Warwick Il Palazzo Hotel & Suites, Amman and Winter Valley Warwick Resort & Spa, Dead Sea in Jordan and Warwick Pangea Beach Resort & Spa, Jiyeh and Warwick Palm Beach Hotel in Beirut, Lebanon.

Three new properties are expected to open this year including Warwick Stone 55 Hotel, Zalka in Beirut due to open in February, Warwick Hotel Dubai due to open this month and Warwick Hotel Babylon, Baghdad, Iraq due to open after renovations in the first quarter. Since 2012, WIH has established a regional office in Beirut. Warwick International Hotels plans to continue expanding its locations in the regions.

WIH is present on four continents and has a portfolio of 54 hotels with more than 7,000 rooms. By the end of 2015, WIH plans to open five to reach a network of 12 hotels in the Mena region.

Cheval Blanc, the high-end luxury hotel arm of LVMH, hosted a party at the Louis Vuitton store in Cannes and gave an update on its latest property, the Cheval Blanc Randheli in Maldives. It features 45 villas, five restaurants, three bars and a spa offering exclusive Guerlain treatments as well as a diving and water sports centre, Le Carrousel for children and Le Paddock for teenagers.

Organisers have announced the ILTM calendar for this year. ILTM 2014 will take place from December, 1 to 4 in Cannes, ILTM Japan will take place in Kyoto from March 17 to 19, ILTM Africa will take place in Cape Town from April 28 to 30, ILTM Asia will take place in Shanghai from June 2 to 5, ILTM Americas will take place in Mexico from September 22 to 25 and ILTM Spa will take place in London from October 1 to 3.