ILTM is the luxury travel magnet

International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) 2019 opened properly on Tuesday 3rd December 2019 at Palais des Festivals et des Congres, Cannes, France. 1,884 exhibitors from 96 countries are spread over three floors of the venue (lucky Leading Hotels of the World, Relais & Chateaux and Small Luxury Hotels of the World – these three have taken over the top, conservatory-like, floor, with terraces looking down at the harbour’s superyachts, including two rented by Aman and Jumeirah for their entertaining).

Why are these exhibitors spending so much to be here? Thanks to ILTM’s computers, they are guaranteed one-to-one meetings with their choice of 1,848 buyers from 76 countries. These buyers are predominantly the world’s top travel advisors, agents, and many belong to Virtuoso.

Virtuoso Chairman Matthew Upchurch is of course here. He was prominent at Monday’s pre-ILTM Global Forum (see yesterday’s As well as the more-usual advisors there are also personal concierges, and advisors to family offices and; a whole range of other buyers.

Cannes is always an attractive draw, and with the strong pull of Reed behind it the magnet of ILTM is irresistible. Away from the meetings, who can ignore the social networking?

How to do it best? Le Cheval Blanc, part of LVMH’s hotels portfolio, hosted an amazing evening-long cocktail in one of Hotel Majestic Barriere’s top suites. There was a presentation of the transformation of La Samaritaine into designer retail (600 brands, of which 60+ are exclusive) plus a 72-key hotel which has one entire floor devoted to a Penthouse Suite with a private pool. Peter Marino is the designer, and the spa is Dior. So, what made their party special? All guests were given string shopping bags to fill, at will, from oodles of wrapped edible goodies, say chocolate from Paris, dried mango from the Maldives. The actual edibles, which included eulogistic one-bite mushroom puffs and a cheese table with, sliced to order, a truffled brie to die for, went with a roving jazz band which led guests out on to the sixth floor terrace overlooking the Mediterranean.

And a juicy take-away business nugget? Jennifer Lawrence honeymooned at Nihi Sumba which has seen that resort’s total bookings for 2020 rise 20% over this time a year ago….

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