Records Broken at International Ski Travel Market

The second International Ski Travel Market has taken place in the historic Alpine resort of Davos in Switzerland. The largest ski travel trade event in Europe welcomed a record number of visitors with exhibitors up  15% on the 2014 event, showcasing 50 resorts from across Europe and North America – the sell-out show mirrors industry growth and confidence for the future.

Concluding two days of travel trade business, Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of International Ski Travel Market (ISTM) 2015, which comes to a close today (24 March), reports that visitor numbers topped 180 ski industry professionals who converged on Davos from 20 countries.

Summing up, ISTM Exhibition Manager Peter Grimster said: “The host venue, InterContinental Hotel Davos, has been filled with ski trade professionals. The feedback from exhibitors, key note speakers and the 70 hosted buyers has been overwhelmingly positive, reinforcing our position as the industry platform for ski professionals to share their news, network with decision-makers, meet potential partners and exchange insight and ideas. The scene was truly international including buyers from the USA, Middle East and Europe”.

The two day appointment-led event was a productive period of meetings and networking where business deals were signed for winter 2015/2016. Intensive 1-1 appointments were conducted between suppliers (including resorts and hotels) and buyers (comprising of mainstream ski tour operators and tailor-made specialists) during 1620 pre-arranged appointments; a total of 533 hours of business meetings in all.

The new look panel session hosted by James Cove saw an excellent turnout of  attendees at 08.30 in the morning. The two keynote speakers, Urs Eberhard, Vice Director and Head of Markets, of Switzerland Tourism, and Mathew Prior, Managing Director of Specialist Holidays Group, TUI Travel PLC discussed the future of business with questions raised by members of the audience.

Buyers and Exhibitors gave some interesting feedback:

Irmgard Huber from Lech Zurs, Austria, said; “It’s great to have meetings with buyers from the UK and Russian markets who want to feature more in Austria. The correlation between attracting quality buyers was a major factor when choosing to attend ISTM. This has been a fantastic business forum and the fact it is ski focused is key and everything has worked like Swiss clockwork.”

Francesco Comotti from Madesimo, Italy, agreed with this adding; “For me I was not expecting big results. My time here was effective and productive as I met a host of new buyers when time is a precious commodity.”

Avoriaz 1800’s Virginie Dupe from France articulated: “This morning Avoriaz met with key partners, then the rest of the day was followed with beneficial meetings with new potential buyers. We are here to showcase our new 5* properties with Pierre and Vacances and are pleased to meet with the luxury market. The key decision makers were here from a good mix of outbound operators from Bulgaria, Turkey and Russia.”

David Steiner from Jungfraubahnen, Switzerland agreed; “The show has been of use to us as we are looking to further develop new source markets. My first meeting was with a lady from Abu Dhabi where there is an interest in this market for skiing. It was an opportunity to meet new buyers and make appointments which would not have been possible in other venues. I liked the intimacy of the show, the qualified buyers and the meetings.”

From the buyers’ perspective, Maria Lukianchenko, Tesoro travel LLC, Ukraine, said; “It has been a very fruitful forum for me as I have made some good contacts with exhibitors. Our clients are looking for 5* luxury hotels in Switzerland or 4* superior for the families travelling. Zermatt and Davos are key partners but we are now looking to expand into other exhibitors resorts.  The resorts are eager for the Ukrainian market and there is plenty of interest for this inbound business. The event was very professionally managed and I am looking forward to the next one”.

Lee Smolinski from Palm Coast Travel, USA, commented; “I came to explore opportunities to grow the American clients to ski in Europe. So far my clients have opted to travel from Florida to the West Coast resorts of Vail and Vancouver but it’s the same distance to Europe. It’s great to open up a dialogue with exhibitors so I can take this back and explain in more detail what the European vacation involves.”

Daniela Casniova from Concierge Bleu & Blanc i, Slovak Republic, added; “I had a surprisingly good show. It’s my first time here and it’s been a superb networking event for me. I already know who we will be working with in the future and it’s good to cement new relationships.”

Next year, the third ISTM event will take place in Ötztal’s luxury Aqua Dome complexin Austria with access to the ski resorts of Sölden, Obergurgl and Hochgurgl on the 14 and 15 March 2016.

Grimster concluded, “As always, as one show wraps-up we are eagerly anticipating the next, and on as a result of the events business buzz, re-bookings for 2016 are already extremely encouraging. We also have a number of innovative ideas as to how we will develop our strategic offering for next year to continue our growth pattern in line with regional development,”

As this year’s show closes and ISTM becomes a firm fixture in the snow sports industry calendar, preparations get under way for the event, which continues to grow, attracting and bringing together delegates from across the worldwide ski tourism market.

To discover more about ISTM and how it is offering the perfect platform for debating the industry’s hottest topics, engaging with peers and generating new business, please visit