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ISTM claims success
Sunday March 16, 2014 - Email this article to a friend

The inaugural International Ski Travel Market has taken place this month in Kitzbuhel, Austria. PlanetSKI reports.

Tour operators, holiday companies, resorts, regions and service providers were there.

The attendees came from across the world; USA, Canada, Russia and China.

The full range of European nations were there from Scandinavia to Portugal and all the Alpine nations.

The idea is to create a world ski industry trade event where deals are done. There were 60 or so suppliers: hotels, chalet companies, resorts and destinations.

On the other side of the table were the buyers - tour operators and holidays companies.

The deals made at the event affect where and how people will take their winter holiday and how much it may cost.

The event is being run by Reed Travel Exhibitions the company that organises the World Travel Market (WTM).

The WTM is held every November in London and is the biggest event of its kind in the world as the world's travel industry comes together to do business.

Many in the ski industry have complained that the WTM is too big and the snowsports businesses get swamped and somewhat lost. 

Hence the new initiative that has taken place in Kitzbuhel this week.

"With key representatives from across the ski industry attending, the focus of ISTM is essentially to facilitate business and networking opportunities and through this event to provide a forum within which businesses can successfully develop and grow," said the ISTM Exhibition Manager, Peter Grimster.

"This unique system translates into real business and a high return on investment for our exhibitors, not to mention a highly productive visit for our buyers," he added.

 2,700 appointments took place across 2 days.

It was run on the basis of pre-arrranged meetings that lasted 20 minutes.

There is a time limit so people get straight to the point; and do business.

Down to buisnessDown to business












Deal doneDeal done












The PlanetSKI content editor, James Cove, chaired the business forums that took place each morning.

ISTM forumISTM forum

















On the first day the panel of experts included Cathy Rankin from Pierre et Vacances, Jean-Baptiste Gravier from La Folice Douce and Gunther Aigner from the Kitzbuhel Tourist Office.

In a wide-ranging discussion they covered the future of the mountains and how things may change over the coming years.

They looked at the growing role of social media, the environmental impact of skiing and how the market is changing.

Several delegates from the floor spoke as well including a sole representative from China who was attending to see what the European market can offer outbound Chinese tourists.

On Tuesday the debate switched to looking at how things are done differently between Europe and North America.

Delegates heard from Holger Gassler from the Tirol Tourist Board, Jason Connell from Banff, Lake Louise and Sunshine in Canada and Bob Stinchcombe from Vail Resorts.

Tuesday's panelTuesday's panel












Luke Boulton, from Reed Exhibitions, is the man behind the ISTM. 

He says the delegates have come for across the world of snowsports.

Opinion has been over-whelmingly positive from the attendees.

"I didn't quite know what to expect, but the calibre of people here is good. There are the key decsion makers from the resorts and suppliers and not those that perhaps talk the talk but can't actually decided anything or spend budgets," one senior figure from a UK tour operator said to PlanetSKI.

Others praised the venue and the timing.

"The A-Rosa hotel is perfect and mid-March is a good time as decisions need to be made for next season. Grand Ski takes place in France in January and the Mountain Travel Symposium (MTS) happens in the USA in April so this event sits well between the two," another veteran of the UK snowsports industry told us.

The delegate that had travelled the furthest was Xiao Chun Yang from China.

"It has been very fruitfull and I have learnt much about the resorts in Europe and North America and there is certainly something of interest to the Chinese market," said Xiao Chun Yang.

For some alpine nations China is seen as a key development market and his presence reflected that.

ISTM has proved to be a success and will be back next year in Europe.  Final details are being made for the venue and the dates.

An announcement will be made shortly and here at PlanetSKI we expect it to become a firm fixture in the snowsports industry calendar.

Now it wouldn't be a good gathering of the snowsports industry if there wasn't a bit of partying and after the business of the day the delegates relaxed in the sunshine at the A-Ross hotel in Kitzbuhel.

Hard at workHard at work













And were then "entertained" by Craig Burton from Ski Solutions and Jason Connell from Banff into the wee small hours. Wink

Hard at playHard at play












For the spirit of the mountains

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