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ITB Berlin News 2018 - Review Edition

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  • Berlin
  • Tourism
  • Luxury
  • Malaysia
  • Destination
  • Messe
  • Buyers
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  • Germany
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28 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

28 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW IT’S ALL ABOUT WHAT MONEY CANNOT BUY Marc Aeberhard President & Managing Director, Luxury Hotel & Spa Management Luxury – The Driving Force of the Hospitality Market Exclusive Interview – Marc Aeberhard – President & Managing Director, Luxury Hotel & Spa Management Luxury travel and hospitality was more than ever under the spotlight at ITB Berlin 2018. At this year’s ITB Berlin Convention, the session entitled, “Luxury Hotels: Secrets of the Hidden Luxury Phenomenon” underlined the fact that “bling bling is out”. We met with session moderator, Marc Aeberhard – President & Managing Director, Luxury Hotel & Spa Management, at the new “Loop” zone in Hall 9, and asked him firstly to tell us more about his company, based in Zurich. We open hotels, we manage hotels and we turn hotels around when they were in some kind of trouble. We restrict our new activity to small and tiny hotels but to the very highend and the top end; beyond starratings. We understand that the philosophy of luxury runs through a life cycle, just like a product, so you have an infancy stage, a growth stage, the maturation stage etc. Luxury today in the western world has moved beyond what one might call bling-bling. It’s not the tangibles. Today, everybody can afford crystal glasses and everybody can afford a golden bath tub if they want so you do not distinguish yourselves by these things… It’s beyond this. All the tangibles are the new standards, so what is new? It’s about Aphrodite… It’s about eternal youth… it’s about living forever… and safety, in the sense of not being just shot on the road but also have a paparazzi free zone, living incognito, living without a mask, having the possibility of drinking water from the tap, fresh air. It’s all about what money cannot buy. This is where the new definition of luxury starts, so this is where we are putting our company, and what we are focusing on. Our hotel projects very much take this as a basis, as a common ground, as a common denominator. It’s a question of triple bottom-line - it has to be economically profitable, socially responsible, and it’s ecologically sustainable. Your presentation was one of the most successful ones at the show. Why so, do you think? Luxury in general is something that attracts a lot of people, simply because we noticed there is a bit of confusion in the market, because we are changing the paradigm. We attempted to give a broader understanding of what this new luxury is all about. Within these different new dimensions of luxury, we picked out the element of safety, and within safety, we spoke about “hidden” luxury. Hidden luxury is some kind of parallel universe, in which the rich and superrich want to move around. Take the Obamas and the Royal highnesses and so on, who would just like to be treated like normal people. They would like to have some fine time off, some quality time with their families and not be chased by Paparazzi and bodyguards and so on. This has become an enormous privilege for these kinds of people - to find these kinds of settings. This year at ITB, you have based yourself at the “Loop”, a new zone at the show which seems to have been very successful. Can you tell me a little bit more about this and how you are leveraging the loop towards your success? The question is who moves the markets, and by experience, it is the top. If you want to move something, you have to start at the top. And what the Loop does is exactly that. We are trying to create a tool where the top of the trade meets in an environment that is comfortable for them. This is what Loop managed to do. It’s a bit like a speed dating module. You have a central wheel with 10 booths where you have your slot every 15 minutes with a new contact. Outside that you have a more informal communication area with little tables and stools and so on so there is a very open kind of communication. However, the common ground is that people that come here all speak the same language! ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 21 st March 2018 www.itb-berlin-news.com

ASIA AROUND THE WORLD 29 THE PHILIPPINES CELEBRATES DIVERSE DESTINATIONS AND CULTURES AT ITB BERLIN Guests at the Philippines booth got a glimpse of the country’s fashion scene with the fashion designer Renee Salud converting the booth into a catwalk... The Philippines Department of Tourism focussed on the way hospitality, cultural experiences and natural adventure all converge in the archipelago nation. On show were number of ecotourism products, part of the National Ecotourism Strategy, including dolphin watching, bird watching and mangrove tours, but also various community-based ecotourism experiences. One of the highlights of this year’s market was the official reception at the Philippines ITB Berlin stand on the Wednesday night of the show. During the event, guests were not only able to “taste” the Philippines by trying some authentic local cuisine, but also get a glimpse of the country’s fashion scene: The fashion designer Renee Salud converted the booth into a catwalk, and thanks to performances by the Ryan Cayabyab Singers the hall became a festival ground celebrating the creative and bright side of life that shines through in the Philippines. “We are glad to be at ITB Berlin once again to share some of our culture, talents, and creativity, and give people an experience of the fun in the Philippines. It’s a great way to end the first day of ITB,“ says Meggie Valdes, Director Central and Eastern Europe of Philippines Department of Tourism. Such festivities can also be experienced by visitors to the Philippines’ major cultural celebrations including the Ati-atihan, Dinagyang and Sinulog festivals in Akian, Iloilo and Cebu respectively. These one or two day events were once primarily for the domestic market but now have international appeal ITB Berlin 2018 - Laos Visit Laos Year 2018 Promises to Boost Arrivals Following two years of tourism decline, Laos Tourism has launched a bold new campaign to reverse declining tourism numbers. The Visit Laos Year 2018 marketing initiative kicked off at the end of last year and, according to Sounh Manivong, General Director of Laos Department of Tourism, the first effects are already being felt across the industry. “We hope to finally reach five million international arrivals this year while we attracted close to four million travellers last year. Our first figures for 2018 are again positive,” said Manivong. A special budget in the range of US million has been attributed for the promotion, a doubling of the normal budget given to tourism by the government. “With this budget, we doubled the size of our booth in Berlin. A Laos Week will also be organised in May in Tokyo while we will support a new Laotian Gastronomy Festival in July in Vientiane. We also strengthened our efforts to promote more actively Laotian traditional festivals overseas,” added Manivong.. However, the biggest change will come from a new approach to attracting Having recently revealed its new-look rooms and facilities, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket (Thailand) is celebrating an impressive three decades of service in style. To date, the huge makeover has involved 135 guestrooms, the lobby, the kid’s club, the swimming pool, Ruen Thai restaurant, Casuarina Beach restaurant, and the hotel’s fire safety system. By June this year, the hotel will complete the remaining 85 rooms and an international restaurant. Nestled amidst acres of tropical gardens on the idyllic shores of the Andaman Sea, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Hotel is located in the heart of Laguna Phuket, one of Asia’s most sought after destination resorts. Nestled amid native casuarinas and coconut palms, Dusit Phuket Hotel offers sanctuary to guests while also appealing with unique neo-colonial architecture underpinned by modern Thai style tourists. “Openness is the key words. Openness of our borders by providing free visas to more travellers,” Manivong explained, adding: “We recently granted visa-free entry to four Scandinavian countries. Our prime minister is now on the verge of announcing more European countries to join that scheme.” “Openness is also about more open borders with less administrative hassle, easier immigration formalities, an open sky policy for all airlines. I am confident we are on the right way,” said Manivong Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket: 30 years young Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket © Messe Berlin GmbH ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 21 st March 2018

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