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ILTM Asia Pacific 2024: Day three updates from luxury brands and destinations

ILTM Asia Pacific was hosted in Singapore last week with an opening forum on the first evening of the event and a busy day two from the showroom floor. Karryon Luxury shares highlights of day three.

ILTM Asia Pacific was hosted in Singapore last week with an opening forum on the first evening of the event and a busy day two from the showroom floor. Karryon Luxury shares highlights of day three.

Hilton

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Alan Watts, President APAC for Hilton. Image: Katrina Holden.

At a media breakfast at Hilton’s Singapore office in Centennial Tower, we heard from Alan Watts, President APAC; and Candice D’Cruz, Vice President, Luxury Brands APAC about Hilton’s plans and the trends they are seeing across its portfolio of 1,600 hotels and 12 brands in the region. 

Watts said that luxury was still about experiences, but there’s a rapid rise of ‘new money’ in Asia, fuelling growth in Asia Pacific. Some 40 per cent of Hilton’s luxury supply and 50 per cent of its future pipeline “has a lot to do with the rise of the Asian high net worth traveller – with that traveller fuelling luxury growth in Asia Pacific,” said Watts. 

Pointing to what’s new, Watts referenced the need for ‘pop-ups’ and off the beaten track travel, which was the driver behind its partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World. 

“Our customers may want to stay at a Waldorf Astoria but then want to experience an off-the-beaten-track destination and pop-up, boutique luxury experience,” he said. 

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Candice D’Cruz, Vice President, Luxury Brands APAC, Hilton. Image: Katrina Holden.

Highlights and insights presented by D’Cruz included:

  • The growth of familial travel for Indian travellers who typically travel with three generations, leading to a rise in small group travel
  • There are 21 properties in the pipeline for Hilton’s Conrad brand – 15 of the 21 are in China
  • The group is poised for the re-opening of Waldorf Astoria New York in late 2024 after more than seven years of meticulous renovations
  • Waldorf Astroria properties in Asia Pacific will grow from its current six to 18 in the next 3-4 years, including Waldorf Astoria Osaka and Waldorf Astoria Tokyo (both 2026)
  • By 2030, Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Alpha are expected to account for 80 per cent of luxury purchases with a population of more than four billion in these three generations by 2030
  • Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia rank as part of the top 10 fastest growing UNHW markets
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David Brandon (far left) and Savenio team members at ILTM Asia Pacific. Image: supplied.

Back on the showroom floor, appointments and meetings continued. Three members of the Karryon Luxury Advisory Board were in attendance for ILTM Asia Pacific 2024, including Anthony Goldman, Goldman Travel; Neil Robertson, MTA; and David Brandon, Savenio.

Anthony Goldman with fellow team members of Goldman Group including Travelcall, SmartFlyer Australia and Goldman Travel_ILTM Asia Pacific.
Anthony Goldman (bottom row, far left) with fellow team members of Goldman Group including Travelcall, SmartFlyer Australia and Goldman Travel. Image: supplied.
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Neil Robertson (far left) and fellow MTA team members. Image: supplied.

Karryon Luxury attended a second day of press briefings. Highlights from each are below.

Accor
Pascal Visintainer
Senior Vice President Global Sales Luxury & Lifestyle brands

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Pascal Visintainer, Accor. Image: Katrina Holden.
  • The group now has 532 hotels with 118,200 rooms in its portfolio
  • There are more than 250 hotels in the pipeline over next few years
  • Visintainer talked about the HERA Accor Travel Advisor Program (launched in May 2024) and their goal to be the “best partner” of travel advisors. HERA represents 270 hotels and 11 brands including Raffles, Fairmont, Orient Express, Banyan Tree etc. Each time a travel advisor makes a booking, they acquire points. The program has its own dedicated website that features a member-portal where advisors can find maps of suites, have direct access to a champion HERA ambassador in each hotel, and personalise confirmation of the renovation. Visintianer says the latest figures show there are around 10,000 travel advisors in the program.
  • Major upcoming hotel openings include Orient Express La Minerva Hotel, Rome, (opening by the end of 2024); Delano Dubai, UAE, (opening in Sept/Oct 2024); and Fairmont New Orleans (2025)
  • The 50-key Raffles Jaipur opened this week, with Visintainer saying the property is now a good compliment to its other India property, Raffles Udaipur
  • He spoke about the upcoming Orient Express 220-metre-long ship. It will feature three 100-metre-high masts that can retract. The 52-suite vessel will have capacity for 104 guests. It is currently being built in France and will utilise the latest technology.
  • Accor’s two train projects are La Dolce Vita by Orient Express, set to launch in Q1, 2025. La Dolce Vita will travel throughout Italy, offering one-to-three night packages to Puglia, Sicily, Venice etc.. The group is also working on the new Orient Express, converting one of the original Orient Express trains – currently being fully refurbished and expected to launch in 2027
  • Accor and LVMH joined a strategic partnership. More information is to come in the next few weeks and months.

Japan National Tourism Office 
Harriett Bougher 
Business Development and Senior Assistant Marketing Manager, Sydney JNTO

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Harriett Bougher, JNTO Sydney. Image: Katrina Holden.
  • JNTO has 26 global offices
  • Bougher said that a part of luxury travel in Japan is embodying the nature and spirit of the country
  • Culture through cuisine continues to be a focus with Japanese washoku (Japanese food) a strong part of the country’s identity.  Japanese craftsmanship is another key pillar for the tourism board.
  • Bougher spoke about the relatively undiscovered Hokuriku region, which is 2-3 hours by train from Tokyo. Travellers can take in a  thriving performing arts scene in Kanazawa – with geisha performances, tea ceremonies, and Wajima lacquerware
  • Resources for trade are available on the JNTO website with more than 120 unique experiences and ideas about luxury travel in Japan presented in webinars and other e-learning resources. Hard copies of brochures are available for travel agents
  • There are now 46 luxury hotels in Japan with a concentration in Tokyo
  • There are a number of new luxury hotels opening in 2024, 2025, 2026 and beyond.

A&K Travel Group Ltd.
Michelle Mickan
Vice President of Marketing, APAC

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Michelle Mickan, A&K Travel Group. Image: Katrina Holden.
  • Mickan talked through the A&K Travel Group’s portfolio which now includes A&K, Sanctuary Retreats (the Egypt river ships fall under the Sanctuary banner) Crystal and ecoventura (luxury expedition yachts in Galapagos Islands)
  • A&K announced this week 25 new itineraries for luxury small group journeys portfolio. A highlight includes a trip with A&K Founder Geoffery Kent to Raja Ampat via private jet. He’s been working on the itinerary for more than 10 years
  • A&K Travel Group now has 55 offices – and continues to grow, opening a new DMC in Mexico at the end of 2024
  • Trends they are seeing out of Australia are: India is the number one destination; and Africa is seeing double digit growth
  • Trends they are seeing out of APAC are: Africa is VERY popular; Antarctica is also trending; and South America is starting to emerge as a popular region for APAC travellers 
  • Micken spoke about the group’s upcoming new river ship in Egypt, with a fifth one to be announced shortly. Meanwhile she shared a sneak peek of some interior images of its new Peru river ship that will offer 3-4 night itineraries on the Amazon
  • A new Sanctuary Retreats lodge is in deveopment for Mexico – with details of its exact location to be shared soon. There are also plans for new lodges in Kenya and Rwanda
  • Crystal will see two new ocean ships with the first to launch in 2028. A new partnership with Casino de Monte-Carlo means they will be operational on board Crystal ships
  • A&K will share a brand refresh later in 2024.

banyangroup
Hazel Ooi
Head of Brand Communications

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Hazel Ooi, banyangroup. Image: Katrina Holden.
  • Banyan Tree is celebrating 30 years in 2024, with the first Banyan Tree property opened in 1994
  • They have now rebranded as banyangroup. “We are a multi-brand ecosystem, focusing on three design-led experiences across a sense of place, wellbeing and sustainability,” said Ooi.
  • They have 84 resorts and hotels in 18 countries
  • Ooi talked through Banyan Tree and its brand extensions including Banyan Tree Veya and Banyan Tree Escape 
  • There are five further openings scheduled for this year including Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto (August 2024); and Banyan Tree Veya Valle De Guadalupe in Mexico with seven F&B outlets for the 30-villa property. 
  • A 38-key Singapore property (with elevated tree houses) will open in 2025.

Minor Hotels
Marion Walshe-Hedouin
Global Head of Public Relations and Communications

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Marion Walshe-Hedouin, Minor Hotels. Image: Katrina Holden.
  • Minor Hotels isn’t so ‘minor’ anymore, Walshe-Hedouin says, with around 550 properties in the group across eight brands in 57 countries
  • Recent openings include Anantara Koh Yao Yai Resort and Villas, Thailand; and a canopy dining experience at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort where guests sit elevated 50 metres above the jungle
  • Walshe-Hedouin shared a preview and announced Boheme by Mekong Kingdoms set to launch around November, 2024. The three-storey, 12-cabin vessel will sail on the Mekong River from Luang Prabang, Laos on three-and-four-night cruises. The ship features 12 cabins and one suite, plus an on board spa. 
  • The 66-key Anantara Ubud Bali Resort “is finally opening this year,” she said. An October or November open date is slated.  
  • The 150-key Anantara Jaipur Hotel, a new build, will open at the end of 2024, marking the first Anantara property in India
  • Details were shared of ‘Layan Life’ – a new 3000-square-metre medical wellness hub in Phuket at Anantara Layan Phuket Resort launching in October 2024
  • The group now has nine Anantara properties in Europe. Anantara Palais Hansen in Vienna, currently undergoing a full restoration, will re-open in November or December this year 
  • She feels Nice, France is “having a moment” with some great openings including those beyond the Minor Hotel Group 
  • Anantara Kafue River Tented Camp in Zambia will open in mid 2025 with a 600 square metre presidential tent villa.

Rocco Forte Hotels
Jan Arnold
Vice President, Sales

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Jan Arnold, Rocco Forte Hotels. Image: Katrina Holden.
  • The group now has 14 hotels in its portfolio – “We are a small but mighty hotel group, and probably one of the fastest growing hotel groups in Europe at the moment,” said Arnold. 
  • New openings include Rocco Forte House Milan, in a converted 19th century palace, opening on 29 August 2024. It is a collection of private apartments that people can rent and feel like a local
  • The Carlton Milan is scheduled to open in Q2 2025 on the fashionable Via Della Spiga
  • A 64-key beachfront property in Sardinia, Italy will open in 2026; and a palace hotel in Naples in 2027
  • The group has opened its first ‘Fairytale Suite by Hamleys’ at Hotel de Russie, following the famous UK toy store’s debut in Rome.  The child-friendly Fairytale Suite is bookable until January 2025.

After the day’s proceedings, Karryon Luxury headed to an IHG cocktail party at InterContinental Singapore. A number of IHG representatives were in attendance, including Rajit Sukumaran, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, East Asia & Pacific; and Matthew Tripolone, Managing Director Australasia & Pacific. 

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L-R: Rajit Sukumaran and Matthew Tripolone, IHG. Image: Katrina Holden.

Sukumaran addressed guests briefly, saying it’s been an exciting year for IHG across its six luxury lifestyle brands – pointing to particular highlights with the recent opening of Six Senses Kyoto (the brand’s entrance into Japan); the upcoming Regent Bali that will feature the world’s first Regent spa; InterContinental Auckland; Budapest Kimpton and two Hotel Indigo openings in Indonesia this year.

For the final leg of the ILTM, we headed to a media breakfast on Thursday morning at Mandala Club hosted by Urban Resort Concepts. The group has three hotels in its collection: The Puli Hotel & Spa (Shanghai); The Puxuan Hotel & Spa (Beijing); and The Ruma Hotel & Residences (Kuala Lumpur). 

The Puxuan Hotel & Spa, Beijing.
The Puxuan Hotel & Spa, Beijing.

The Puli in Shanghai was the first to create an urban hotel concept in China; while The Ruma in Kuala Lumpur is the first hotel in Malaysia to be GSTC certified. The group aims to be Asia’s soulful and artisanal hospitality brand. More hotels for the group will be announced soon.

To view our gallery of social images from ILTM Asia Pacific 2024, visit here.