Between 8 and 11 December, 2003 more than 2,000 professionals, representing the crème de la crème in luxury tourism, gathered in Cannes to share a market of more than $20 billion (50 per cent more than all the luxury goods industries put together).
They came to take part in the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) in the Palais des Festivals in Cannes.
After just one year's existence it is an unbelievable "success story". The event - which is one of the most expensive in the world in its category - has seen a 78 per cent increase in the number of exhibitors and the same increase in buyers.
ILTM, invented and developed by three former senior managers (Serge Dive, David Hammond and Ronan McCarrthy) with the Group Reed Exhibitions Companies (Reed owns 25 per cent of their company's capital), is an event that is unique by its format.
"We would like to revolutionise the exhibition model whose offer is often limited to the number of visitors generated in a specific profession. ILTM's offer, on the other hand, is based only on the 'bottom line' factor. We intend creating the ultimate machine capable of truly helping professionals squire market shares at international level and increase their turnover," said Dive, chairman and managing director of ILTM Media, the organising company.
ILTM is, in fact, managed like a private club (the participants are hand-picked, there is even a "black list" of undesirable companies or individuals), the buyers are either "hosted" by the organisation (full service with plane tickets, transfer by helicopter and accommodation in 5-star "palace" hotels in Cannes) or pay a very high admission fee (250 Euros, "since we only want seriously interested people" the organisers explained).
ILTM is - and wishes to remain, even if it loses some clients - the world's most expensive travel market. Twenty-five thousand business meetings are pre-organised between 1,200 international delegates via a revolutionary online IT system.
At a strategic level, the organisers work in close co-operation with the largest and most prestigious organisations in luxury tourism.
How can such a success be explained? According to Dive the success of the show results from the level of satisfaction expressed of luxury tourism generally.
"Not only did 94 per cent of exhibitors renewed their participation and increase their space demand by an average of 37 per cent, but they also became our main promoters abroad.
"The success of ILTM stems from the partnership created between the event and the industry that it represents; the industry wanted a luxury travel market and considered that the unique show formula - based on its niche and exclusive characteristics and the hosting of international buyers - would best serve its interests."
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.