Luxury Bloc 2022

The figures speak for themselves: while the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the European Union is growing by an average of four percent, the GDPs of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region are increasing by 5.4 percent. Ten out of 14 countries in this market have significant above-average growth. The analysis of the 2022 BCG Wealth Report is also exciting; it concludes that the growth of financial assets in the CEE region will overtake that of North America, Western Europe, and the Middle East by 2026. Reason enough to take a closer look at this exciting market during the third luxury travel trade fair Luxury Bloc in Prague!

1. Welcome!

To kick things off, Gabriela Marková, Managing Director of the agency GM Selection and founder of Luxury Bloc, welcomes her guests in the Grand Ball Room of the Mandarin Oriental Prague. A total of 134 buyers and suppliers have come to the former monastery in the Czech capital to exchange ideas about the best industry in the world. At the start of the trade fair, trend expert Daniel Levine from the Avant-Guide Institute in New York offered an outlook on the future of travel.

2. Cheers!

Prague surprises its guests with the finest late summer weather. It's no wonder that the cocktail reception takes place in the beautiful courtyard of the Mandarin Oriental Prague. In small, circulating groups, the joyous reunion is celebrated with champagne.

3. Appointments, Appointments...

...appointments! There's plenty to talk about since more than 50 exhibitors are telling travel advisors their news in one-to-one meetings. So much to say in such little time! The volume is high and the conversations lively. While the pre-determined 20 minutes of discussion time per appointment are generously measured, some defy the buzzer and remain engaged, excited to learn more about the exhibitors' high-class products.

4. Supplier: Atlantis, The Royal

Sascha Vaupel of Atlantis, The Palm is well-known among German travel professionals, but he should now be the talk of the CEE region with his latest project, the soon-to-open Atlantis, The Royal, which promises to be spectacular. "There is a lot of interest among the buyers at our new ultra-luxury hotel," he says. "I've met a lot of new agents who say they have the right clients for Atlantis, The Royal. We're getting a lot of attention here, and I've been able to make some new contacts. And there is also a lot of interest about news from Atlantis, The Palm."

5. Luxury Power from Germany

Susanne Küst (City Reisen) traveled to Prague this year as the only German travel professional on the buyer side. Her conclusion is consistently positive: "As always, the Luxury Bloc feels like a mini-ILTM to me, because both buyers and suppliers are of very high quality. Of the products, Miavana and the two Como resorts in the Maldives were the best for me. Apart from that, I'm always happy about the great contacts I can make here. This gives me VIP status, and that makes it much easier for me to book for my clients. Especially this summer I felt it again: it's all about having the right network!"

6. Supplier: Luxe Voyages

First-class service is promised by Elena Kovalchuck from DMC Luxe Voyage in Mauritius – and it comes with plenty of expertise to boot. Even off the cuff, she effortlessly answers questions about specific hotels, and her explanations of why a house might not suit a customer are sound. So great that travel advisors can find helpful partners here!

7. Ahoy, Luxury Bloc!

On the second evening, everyone's cruising on the Vltava River on a chartered boat. The Luxury Bloc participants are in a great mood as they chat and banter over champagne and beer. Luckily the weather cooperates again, as the forecasted thunderstorm decided to be a no-show. So much the better for these jovial participants!

8. Buyer: Exclusive Tours

As a Prague resident, Michaela Pipek from Exclusive Tours knows the Vltava River up and down, but is still enthusiastic about the boat trip with industry friends. "This is my second time at Luxury Bloc and I think it's great. The event is growing, Gabriela organizes everything perfectly, and the meetings I've had so far have been 100 percent helpful to me. I can use a lot of it for sales. What I find great is that the appointments are 20 minutes, which is a good length. Also, the selection of exhibitors is even broader this time, I really appreciate that."

9. Cabaret meets Prague

For the gala dinner, all participants went to the Municipal House, a real feast for the eyes with its old murals and impressive chandeliers. It's ideally suited as a stage, and the restaurant suddenly transformed into the world-famous "Cabaret" to the delight of the travel professionals, who erupted with thunderous applause after a phenomenal performance. Shortly thereafter, the applause resumed: Gabriela Marková announced the winners of the awards, the voting for which took place in advance. Elite Voyage from the Czech Republic won the prize for Best Travel Agency, while Joali Being in the Maldives was named Best Experience. The Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah was named Best City Hotel. Joali Maldives received the award for Best Resort. Congratulations!

10. Dancing to the Moon

High-class trade show, high-class party venue: the Closing Party for Luxury Bloc is at none other than the Moon Club, a very hip location in Prague. Chic design, lots of laughter and energetic music create the best mood, which soon drove the travel professionals to the dance floor. Extra praise goes to the DJ and the kitchen team!

11. A Satisfied Hostess

After two and a half days of trade show, it is time for organizer Gabriela Marková to give her closing remarks, which are extremely positive and upbeat: "We were already fully booked back in May and would have liked to make the event a little bigger, but we are limited in terms of space by our host hotel. This year was the first in the three-year history of Luxury Bloc where everything around it went smoothly. No flight cancellations, no closed borders, no Covid requirements. The majority of our agents are from Poland and Romania, but we also have countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and of course the Czech Republic. We also have one travel consultant each from Spain and Germany. I have received a lot of positive feedback from the participants. Especially the length of the meetings, the quality of the participants, and the exclusive and intimate setting of the event were well received."