'Upbeat' expectations for luxe travel confab in France

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The exclusive International Luxury Travel Market opens in Cannes, France, on Dec. 7 with a host of new products to showcase and a renewed display of confidence in the market's recovery on the part of retailers and suppliers.

"We expect it to be upbeat," said Simon Mayle, marketing manager at ILTM. "We recently ran a seminar with the U.K. luxury buyers, and they reported being anywhere between 15% and 25% up on year-on-year sales."

The invitation-only show brings top luxury travel agents and suppliers together for three days of one-on-one meetings. Each of the agents and suppliers has to be approved to attend. Agents who apply to be hosted for the show must provide references of luxury travel products they sell on a regular basis. After the show, suppliers rate each of the agents they have met.

"ILTM really is the greatest gathering of who's who in the luxury travel industry," said Naysla Edwards, director of travel benefits marketing at American Express.

Mayle said the show this year will feature 1,200 suppliers and 1,200 agents, about 200 of whom will be coming from the U.S. Of the suppliers approved to attend this year, he said, 25% will be new. The new products will include everything from private islands to private jets and adventure experiences. The list of suppliers, of course, also includes some of the most established names in luxury travel.

This year's event will mark the ninth year that ILTM will essentially take over Cannes, Mayle said.

"I think everyone who knows the event knows that you really get out there," Mayle said. "That's what's unique about this event. It is three days of meetings plus lots of networking."

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