Tuesday, May 26, 2020

ITB Berlin Review

ITB Berlin: right at the heart of the industry
April 2019 2289

HIGH demand by exhibitors and a convention featuring high-ranking international speakers set the tone at ITB Berlin, when it returned for its 53rd year in March.

At the ITB Berlin Convention, close to 400 leading speakers discussed how the international tourism industry should respond to over tourism crises, the shift in customer demands, the threat of climate change and new forms of transportation. This year’s official partner country was Malaysia.

"Once again ITB Berlin shows that traditional trade show formats can be more successful than ever in the digital age. We are quick to recognise industry trends while also developing existing formats further. The new Technology, Tours & Activities segment at ITB Berlin 2019 is perfect proof of that. At the same time our trade shows have evolved into global brands. ITB India will further strengthen ITB’s standing as the international marketplace for the travel industry,” said Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin.

For the first time the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show devoted an international platform to the fast-growing Technology, Tours & Activities (TTA) segment. Both major players and small start-ups were able to present their innovative products at the first event of its kind in the new exhibition and meeting area in the Adventure Travel Hall.

Some 10,000 exhibiting companies from 181 countries and regions presented the latest products and trends of the global tourism industry in Berlin. Over 80 per cent of exhibitors were from abroad. At last year’s ITB Berlin 83 per cent rated their business results as positive. Once again, the organisers were expecting more than 100,000 international trade visitors and public attendance to be in the tens of thousands on the weekend.

In Malaysia, ITB Berlin was able to secure a destination that boasts great diversity as the Official Partner Country in 2019. Over the five days of the show, Malaysia provided information on its wide range of products at various sessions, workshops and on a stand that grew by 100 square metres in size.

In addition to other Asian countries, India and the Arab countries were noticeably expanding their presence on the market.

In the latter case, that growth is reflected in the displays. The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority was represented at ITB for the first time. Dubai increased the size of its displays. Their main attraction were Expo 2020 Dubai, which was represented with its own stand. Oman, the partner country of ITB Berlin 2020, was occupying a larger display area, proof of the growing economic importance of tourism in the sultanate. The UAE emirate of Fujairah, an emerging tourism destination, was also represented on a larger stand.

Australia, Africa and South America are continuing to expand. Among African countries, Egypt and Namibia were attracting attention with larger stands. South American countries were picking up where they left off last year – all exhibitors confirmed that they will be back at the show. Many first-time exhibitors from the Caribbean, including from Curacao, Barbados, Belize and El Salvador, also took part.

Grenada celebrated its first appearance since 2015. Peru and Ecuador marginally increased their displays, and Venezuela even doubled the size of its stand. As far as the US is concerned, bookings were on a par with last year’s, cancelling out the so called ‘Trump effect’.

Turning towards Europe, newcomers in the halls include St. Helena, where Napoleon was exiled, the EU Initiative European Capitals of Smart Tourism, Turismo de Setúbal and Mystic Cruises from Portugal. Portugal's booming tourism industry hosted impressive displays.

Over 100 exhibitors presented their products on an almost 10 per cent larger display area. Luxembourg and the Balearics also occupied larger stands. On a stand measuring over 500 square metres, the Russian representation was larger than ever before. Norway, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Switzerland all had a reason to celebrate – all four destinations celebrated 50 years at ITB Berlin.

This year a remarkable number of leading tour operators and travel agencies were exhibiting for the first time. They included Alltours, the travel website Urlaubsguru, the Swiss luxury cruise operator Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, the Antarctic tour specialist Albatros Exhibition, the online portal Kurzurlaub.de, and the software developer Durak und Reinhardt GmbH. Now on two stands, Booking.com occupied a much larger area. As an exhibitor in the hotel segment, the leading Asian luxury hotel group Shangri-La announced its participation with three hotels after an absence of several years.

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