New Exhibitors, New Ideas, New Business

David Ruetz – Head of ITB Berlin – outlines changes to the world’s #1 travel & tourism event

What’s new and different at this year’s ITB Berlin in terms of exhibitors? We put the question to Head of ITB Berlin David Ruetz.

We have registered a very strong growth from Arab countries, such as Abu Dhabi, Etihad, Ras Al Khaimah and Qatar Airways. For the very first time Saudi Arabia exhibits as a country on a 300 square meter stand in hall 4.2. So we decided to reorganise the hall sections and to reallocate hall space for ITB Berlin 2017 last year, because there has been an increase in demand for more floor space for certain markets in the past. This year Air Berlin, Emirates and Lufthansa are again exhibiting on three-tier stands. The new hall concept makes it also easier for trade visitors to plan their visit and allows the growing markets to receive more space.

I am thrilled to announce a new segment for ITB Berlin this year: For the first time, we will be fully devoting a platform to medical tourism, which has become an important fast-growing market. Medical service providers, hotels and destinations will be able to exhibit their products and services In the Medical Tourism Pavilion in Hall 3.2. Presentations and workshops will be held so that visitors can find out more about the latest trends and developments in this growth market.

For the very first time Airbus as an airplane manufacturer is exhibiting in hall 25. Togo, Senegal (Hall 21) and Andorra (Hall 2.1) are returning as exhibitors this year.

This is a special year as it’s the UN’s year of sustainable tourism… and at ITB Berlin, there seems to be a lot of “buzz” about this. Different national administrations seem to consider sustainability in very different ways.

Why is this so important, and why should it be taken more seriously?

The future success of any company today depends, amongst other things, on long-term sustainability work and responsible processes. Campaigning for sustainable tourism should become an indispensable part of their work. It is no secret that a sustainable lifestyle can reduce the effects of climate change, pollution and other environmental factors that can harm people’s health and lives.

awareness for sustainable tourism, as sustainable economic growth also results in more jobs and stronger economies. By presenting the World Legacy Awards, together with National Geographic, ITB Berlin underlines how important social responsibility and protecting nature and wildlife are in today’s tourism industry. I am proud that ITB Berlin has been a generator of inspiration for sustainability and CSR for so long, because ecological and social responsibility is an essential task for the future and a requirement for long-term success- not only commercially.

We should help raise awareness for sustainable tourism, as sustainable economic growth also results in more jobs and stronger economies. By presenting the World Legacy Awards, together with National Geographic, ITB Berlin underlines how important social responsibility and protecting nature and wildlife are in today’s tourism industry. I am proud that ITB Berlin has been a generator of inspiration for sustainability and CSR for so long, because ecological and social responsibility is an essential task for the future and a requirement for long-term success- not only commercially.

This year sees an expanded eTravel World. Please tell us more…

The booming eTravel World is booked up again and for the first time will occupy two halls, with more than 70 exhibitors displaying their innovative products and services. Due to the high level of demand, we had to allocate more space for exhibitors in this growth segment. In Halls 6.1 and 7.1c visitors can find established companies as well as newcomers, which include Aldebaran, Betterspace, Conichi , Dayuse, eNett, Igola, Paymentwall, Traveltripper and Wanup. We look forward to welcoming even more national and international exhibitors with a focus on digital marketing, social media and mobile travel services. Also for the first time young start-ups will be able to take part in an international pitching event powered by Phocuswright. Startups from Europe, Asia and the US will present their ideas to a panel of leading experts and can also introduce themselves to an audience of international professionals. The winners will have the opportunity to take part in Phocuswright Europe, a leading conference event in Amsterdam.

Furthermore, for the first time the hall features the eTravel Showroom, where new products will be presented. On the Wednesday and Thursday of ITB trade visitors can find out about exhibitors’ latest products at some 20 sessions. At various lectures, workshops and discussions they can also find out about the latest trends in chatbots, virtual reality and millennials, who are an important target audience