Love is the greatest luxury

The theme of ‘love, loyalty and luxury’ underpins the 15th edition of the world’s leading luxury travel event
Gilmore … 5,000 luxury influencers came together in Cannes

Exploring the role of travel in the modern luxury landscape, the 15th edition of ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market) in Cannes was the platform for 5,000 luxury travel influencers to come together to highlight love as the greatest luxury of the world and travel as the mechanism of that love.

Alison Gilmore, director, ILTM Portfolio, said; 'At ILTM this week, we have learnt that if we love everything that we do, love will be returned. We are honoured to have welcomed 1,550 of the world’s most incredible luxury travel stories, brands and experiences as well as the most discerning of travel planners and buyers during this week at ILTM. The love and respect they each have for this industry is evident in the incredible business they have built this week, not forgetting the new relationships created and established relationships enhanced. The luxury travel year truly ended on a high at ILTM 2016.'

TTN caught up with Alison for more.

What were the highlights of ILTM 2016?

So many – I think the Global Forum which opened the entire event was almost my favourite this year. Introducing the theme of ‘Love, Loyalty and Luxury’ which prevailed throughout ILTM 2017, the speakers explored the role of travel in the modern luxury landscape, highlighting the fact that 'love as the greatest luxury of the world and travel is the mechanism of that love.' We welcomed 5,000 luxury travel influencers to Cannes this year – our largest and most successful event ever – that was a true highlight.

What kind of feedback have you received from exhibitors? How many have rebooked already?

Our exhibitors really appreciate the fact that ILTM explores the role of travel in the modern luxury landscape and creates REAL business and business opportunities. Many ILTM participants have told us that travel is not only a language but also a liberation, and this is the currency of the travel today. I honestly can’t tell you how many have re-booked but I can tell you that ILTM has one of the highest exhibitor satisfaction rates of any trade show. If they are happy, we are truly happy…

What is the kind of interest did you receive from the Middle East?

We once again welcomed popular favourite destinations for the world’s luxury travellers such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai but also smaller properties for the first time such as Oman’s Dunes by Al Nahda.

Did you have any buyers from the Middle East? What were they looking for?

We had 60 buyers from Middle East attending, an increase of 20 per cent from 2015. They were mainly interested in Luxury and Boutique hotels and beach resorts with a notable significant interest in Safaris, Cruises and Private Villas.

What are the trends in luxury that you notice this year?

Again so many…. just a few that were noted by my team as well as some of the 80 or so high-end luxury travel media who attended from all four corners of the world: access all areas, space, transformative travel, off the beaten track, cruise and trains, once in a lifetime ephemeral events, the rise of responsible travel, nomad is the new normal, the union of art and beauty and last but not least, plain simplicity.

What are some of the new and upcoming names in luxury travel? Could you name some notable destinations, hotels and operators?

Destinations such as Mexico with its wealth of new, colourful resorts and Morocco, on the frontier of luxury with many different properties coming on line. Oman is another amazing destination, on the list of very few but we predict this will change quickly. Doha is the new Dubai with non-stop new hotels and Qatar flying new routes everywhere, even to Rio. Equally small hotel chains, such as The Doyle Collection, Sibuet, and special properties – such as Italy’s Sikelia and Su Gologone and Mexico’s Esencia are fantastic new trends

Ultimately, there is still a huge hunger for authenticity and to travel with passion and purpose – these are core values and now, a trend for luxury travel. People are impressed and moved by experiences, not things.

What have been your observations from this year’s show? Any post-event statistics that you can share with us?

Essentially, there are more exhibitors and buyers than ever before – 1,550 of each (a 5 per cent increase) and a total of 60, 518 one-to- one pre-scheduled appointments. Interestingly, 43 per cent of the buyers (673) are new faces at ILTM in Cannes so we can truly say that we are always introducing new faces to the ILTM mix.