The inaugural edition of WTM Connect Asia in Penang next month aims to connect South-east Asian sellers to international buyers, and plugs the gap for Malaysia in having a branded travel trade show at last.
An offshoot of World Travel Market, the three-day event will be held from May 18. The first will showcase more than 50 exhibitors and 75 hosted buyers, according to organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions. The opening will be held at E&O Hotel Penang while business meetings will be at Straits Quay Convention Centre in Penang.
Zulkefli Sharif, CEO of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), said: “This show is important for Malaysia as we don’t have a travel trade show of international standard. It also provides an opportunity for South-east Asian sellers to meet with international buyers without having to travel far.”
MyCEB is targeting an economic impact of around RM15 million (US$3.8 million) from the three-day event and a total international spend of RM7.7 million.
Buyer breakdown is as follows: 40 per cent from Asia-Pacific, 20 per cent from Europe, 10 per cent from Middle East and Africa, and the rest from North America and Latin America. The show will also host a number of key outbound Chinese leisure travel buyers, providing more business opportunities for exhibitors targeting the Chinese market.
Show highlights will include pre-scheduled business meetings onsite, numerous networking opportunities, as well as speeches by Azran Osman Rani, former CEO of AirAsia X, and Jamling Tenzing Norgay, Sherpa Everest Climber, mountain guide, motivational speaker and author of Touching My Father’s Soul.
This show is supported by Ministry of Tourism and Culture, MyCEB and Penang’s state tourism.