The founder of Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, Ho Kwon Ping, speaking at the Opening Forum of ILTM Asia 2012, says that the future of high end travel will be driven by the emergence of ‘rainbow tourism’ made up of people of multicultural origins from mature markets and from the emerging BRIC nations.
In an interview with Klara Glowzewska, Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast Traveler US, at the Opening Forum of the sixth edition of the leading ‘invitation only’ luxury travel event for the Asia Pacific - ILTM Asia 2012 - Ping said the current wave is the third in the development of world tourism after the historical dominance in high-end travellers from Europe and the US.
“This emerging group of rainbow tourists is looking for authenticity and sustainability in the destinations that they visit,” Mr. Ping said.
”Tourism should be seen as a force for good, and the overriding drive of hotel operators should be to remain faithful to their local identities and provide an authentic experience of their heritage and culture.”
Talking about the tourism wave of the future Ping said that the danger is the huge numbers of ‘rainbow tourists’ who will be entering into the market place and it was important that operators did not create ghettos by catering to individual needs and tastes of different nationalities.
“Tourism should not cater to the national traits of travellers but provide them with a chance to understand the in depth background of the country they visit. This will create a force for good and help unify the outlook of the world,” he said.
Another feature of the ILTM Asia Opening Forum was a debate involving four panelists moderated by Dorinda Elliot, Global Affairs Editor of Condé Nast Traveler US discussing the topic; ‘Why a changing luxury traveler demands change: Fostering entrepreneurship to address multicultural needs’.
The panel featured four pioneers and entrepreneurs from the luxury travel sector. They were Leonardo Ferragamo, Director of Salvatore Ferragamo and President of The Lungarno Collection; David Williams, Chief Marketing Officer of Orient-Express; James Baillie, Founder of Australia’s Baillie Lodges; Sarina Bratton, Founder & Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises.
Elaborating further on the topic the individual panelists commented as follows:
Mr. Leonardo Ferragamo, Director of Salvatore Ferragamo and President of the Lungarno Collection said, “Product owners must promote their own cultures and tell the true and authentic story of their heritage. Their luxury shopping bag should not comprise luxury items but memorable experiences.”
David Williams, Chief Marketing Officer of Orient-Express said, “There should be no knee-jerk reaction to match the needs and interests of individual nationalities of tourists. We must educate them about our local offerings and help them to experience and understand local cultures and the nuances of each market place in which we operate.”
James Baillie, Founder of Australia’s Baillie Lodges said, “Our key strength is to advocate the attributes of Australia and celebrate its authenticity. We don’t believe homogenisation is the way forward and we hope tourists will enjoy our synergy with the environment and natural products, which are drawn from the communities in which we operate.”
Sarina Bratton, Founder & Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises said, “Because our product is unique with limited access to many destinations such as the Antarctic and Papua New Guinea, it is therefore important that our clientele appreciate the remote and un-spoilt nature of the destinations that make up our portfolio. Education of our prospective consumer is therefore a vital part of our long-term marketing strategy.”
Alison Gilmore, ILTM Asia Exhibition Director said, “The high powered panel assembled for the ILTM Opening Forum debate was a definitive way to launch this year’s event, as the views and insights provided delegates with a valuable overview of the luxury travel industry in Asia Pacific.
“ILTM Asia is the premier luxury travel platform in this part of the world and to have such distinguished leaders share their knowledge with others in the industry ensures the event is a focus for all pioneers of luxury in travel,” Alison Gilmore concluded.
The event is staged over the next three days, concluding on Thursday June 7, 2012.