SUMMER 2017 | VOL. 42 NO. 2
We Are Global
As the winners of the Product Innovation Awards were announced at this year’s International Travel Goods Show, it struck me: We are truly a worldwide industry, and The Show is a global event.
All three of this year’s Product Innovation Award winners hail from different countries. Third-place winner XTEND has offices in France and San Francisco; second-place Smoots was launched by Ken Kammal in Las Vegas; and first-place JetKids came from Norway.
What’s more, this year’s Community Service Award went to Pacsafe, which has its global headquarters in Hong Kong, with offices in Seattle, WA, Germany and China. And this year’s TGA Award winner, Cliff Ensley, built Leisure Merchandising into an industry giant by leveraging the power of Asian manufacturing long before it became the industry norm.
Of this year’s 303 exhibitors, 92 – nearly a third – were international. Not surprisingly, the foreign country with the most representation was China, our industry’s de facto manufacturing center, with 33 exhibitors. But Canada was the surprise runner-up, with 17 exhibitors coming from our neighbor to the north; and 11 companies call the UK home.
Europe was well represented, with exhibitors from Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Asian exhibitors traveled from India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Even Australia got into the act, with four exhibitors making their way to the Las Vegas Convention Center from Down Under.
This is a change that’s been decades in the making – we’ve certainly come a long way from TGA’s founding as the Luggage and Leather Goods Manufacturers of America in 1938 – and with internet ordering and supply-side management, global manufacturing and worldwide shipping, this is a trend that’s sure to continue.
But The Show has become more than an international event – it’s our industry’s showcase, the absolute must-attend event for new product launches. If you have a new, innovative product, you simply have to be at The Show. More than a third of this year’s exhibiting companies were first-timers at The Show (of those 107 new exhibitors, 47 came to Las Vegas from foreign shores), and, in fact, all of this year’s Product Innovation Award winners were first-time exhibitors.
The Show is, hands down, the best place to debut new products and launch new travel goods companies, as it is the gateway to the industry’s retailers, all over the world. It also means that if you’re a retailer, this is the single best place to spot new trends, see the new items consumers will demand, and discover where we’re headed as an industry.
There is no substitute for being present at The Show. The opportunities to forge new industry connections, to network and make new friends, simply cannot be replicated at any other time, or any other place. In my opinion, it’s this type of relationship building that is the true value of The Show. The products themselves are materially vital to our industry – the industry wouldn’t exist without them – but it is the relationships that build all of our businesses.
That said, I hope you’ll enjoy this issue’s recap of the products, people and happenings that made up this year’s International Travel Goods Show. And I hope you’ll be inspired to experience it yourself next year, when we convene in Las Vegas February 27-March 1, 2018.