Inaugural International Ski Travel Market Drives Real Business

The first International Ski Travel Market has taken place in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Over 170 ski tourism professionals from 23 countries converged on the Alpine resort renowned for its first class skiing and unrivalled hospitality.  Attendees included 65 exhibitors from 11 countries as far afield as the USA and Canada and 65 ski buyers from 20 countries including China and Russia setting the scene for a truly international event.

The two day appointment-led event was a productive period of meetings and networking where business deals were signed for winter 2014/2015. Intensive 1-1 appointments were conducted between suppliers (including resorts and hotels) and buyers (comprising of mainstream ski tour operators and tailor-made specialists).

The first ever ISTM was held at the prestigious five-star A-ROSA Hotel in Kitzbuhel. Over 1,500 pre-arranged appointments took place across two days on the basis of 20-minute meetings; a total of 500 hours of business meetings in all.

Each morning started with a forum session comprising of a panel of industry experts debating and addressing topical issues surrounding the ski tourism sector. 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 impact of environmental concerns on skiing and how the market is changing.  With so much to discuss, the audience participation contributed to the lively debate. 

On Tuesday the debate switched to looking at ‘Market Growth and Resort Development- North America v Europe’ highlighting the differences in the North America and European approach. Delegates heard from Holger Gassler from the Tirol Tourist Board, Jason Connell from Banff, Lake Louise and Sunshine in Canada and Bob Stinchcomb from Vail Resorts.

Sandra Hubert from Jungfrau Region, Switzerland, said; “The correlation between attracting quality buyers was a major factor when choosing to attend ISTM. Having been a regular exhibitor at ISTM’s sister show, International Luxury Travel Market I decided to attend. This has been a fantastic business forum and the fact it is ski focused is key and everything has worked like Swiss clockwork.”

Laura Olivier of Madonna di Campiglio Pinzolo Val Rendena, Italy, agreed with this adding; “For me time is a precious commodity and here it was effective and productive as I met a host of new buyers.”

Val Thorens Tours’s Laurence Perrin from France articulated: “I didn’t quite know what to expect, but the calibre of people here is good. There are the key decision makers from the operators and a good mix as well. The worldwide attendance was a draw as was Reed’s reputation for professional event organising.”

Bob Stinchcomb from Vail Resorts, USA, agreed; “The show has been of use to Vail Resorts as we are looking to further develop new markets. 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 how well it was all organised.”

From the buyers’ perspective, Oliver Yang, Yoo! Elite Travel, China, said; “It has been a very fruitful forum for me as I have learnt much more about the resorts in Europe and North America. The resorts are eager for the Chinese 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”.

Colin Mayo from Bramble Ski, UK, commented; “We work with agents and this event has provided a way for us to grow our base in new geographical territories including Turkey, China, Brazil, South Africa and Australia. Face to face, meetings were key and we predict the ROI will be high.”

Jens Trier from Trier Ski, Denmark, added; “I had a surprisingly good show. I came with no expectations and I was surprised at the quality of decision makers from the resorts which is all thanks to the professionalism of the organisers. One of the key factors was the timing.”

Summing up, ISTM Exhibition Manager Peter Grimster said: “With key representatives from across the ski industry attending, the focus of ISTM was to facilitate business and networking opportunities and through this event in Kitzbuhel to provide a forum within which businesses can successfully develop and grow. The positive feedback from attendees has been over-whelming. The host venue the prestigious five-star A-ROSA Hotel in Kitzbuhel, partners, timing and destination were all instrumental in the success of ISTM.”

ISTM will be back next year in Europe, with the dates and venue to be announced next month as ISTM becomes a firm fixture in the snow sports industry calendar.

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

Leave a Reply