ITB Berlin 2017: Positive economic forecasts give the global travel industry a boost
Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH wrapped up this year’s ITB Berlin with a highly positive statement: “Even in these uncertain times people refuse to be put off from travelling. They are prepared to adapt to the new situation and bring their personal holiday needs into line with the changes taking place in society. They now carefully think their holiday plans over and afford a great deal of consideration to their personal safety.”
According to Dr Göke, this year, both exhibitors and visitors at ITB Berlin returned home with a message that was just as strong as it was clear: “Racism, protectionism, populism and barriers between nations are not compatible with a prospering tourism industry. The travel industry is one of the biggest branches of the global economy and one of its most important employers. It promotes international understanding in many ways and contributes to long-term economic growth. In many countries, tourism is vital to people’s livelihoods and ultimately guarantees economic stability.”
Racism, protectionism, populism and barriers between nations are not compatible with a prospering tourism industry
From 8 to 12 March 2017, over the five days of the show, more than 10,000 exhibiting companies from 184 countries and regions displayed their products and services on 1,092 stands to visitors. The global tourism industry exhibited its latest products and trends on an area covering 160,000 square metres.
At the 51st edition of ITB Berlin the number of buyers in a decision- making capacity was impressive.
Two-thirds of trade visitors said they were directly authorised to buy travel products. 80% of the Buyers Circle members were able to make direct decisions and had more than half a million euros at their disposal. Over one-third of the buyers present were able to spend more than ten million euros.
The spotlight was on Botswana as the Official Partner Country of ITB Berlin. On the eve of ITB Berlin Botswana hosted a spectacular opening ceremony, whetting the appetites of the tourism industry for more.
With its sustainable tourism, safaris and wildlife conservation projects, its impressive flora and fauna and its rich cultural heritage, this fascinating landlocked country in the southwest of Africa has positioned itself on the market as one of the most attractive holiday destinations on the African continent.
As a green destination in the heart of Europe Slovenia, the Convention & Culture Partner of the show, presented sustainable tourism concepts and a wide range of cultural attractions at ITB Berlin.
EVEN IN THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES PEOPLE REFUSE TO BE PUT OFF FROM TRAVELLING
The digital transformation of the entire industry continues to move forward apace. Due to high demand the eTravel World featured an additional hall. In addition to Hall 6.1 visitors found many newcomers in Hall 7.1c.
The eTravel World attracted even more international exhibitors and in particular startups from around the world. The increasing presence of payment system providers also underlined the growing importance of travel technology. Representing a new fast- growing market, Medical Tourism celebrated its debut.
Among other exhibiting nations, Turkey, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Poland and Belarus provided a concentrated display of information and the latest medical tourism products at the Medical Pavilion.
Featuring 200 sessions and 400 speakers over a period of four days, the ITB Berlin Convention underlined its role as the world’s leading event of its kind.
The latest topics ranging from geopolitical crises and catastrophes to artificial intelligence proved to be a fascinating attraction for visitors.
28,000 visitors (2016: 26,000) attended the 14th edition of the ITB Berlin Convention which took place in eight auditoriums on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.
Even while ITB Berlin 2017 was under way preparations were gathering pace for the next networking event of the international travel industry: ITB China, which is due to be launched in Shanghai, will build on and strengthen ITB’s market position in Asia. From 10 to 12 May some of China’s leading travel companies will be represented at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Conference Center where the display area is already booked up.
ITB China, which is due to be launched in Shanghai, will build on and strengthen ITB’s market position in Asia
A new and successful chapter has already been written by Messe Berlin in another part of Asia. Launched ten years ago, ITB Asia, which takes place annually in Singapore, has established itself as the leading B2B event for the Asian travel market. With just under 800 exhibitors from over 70 countries and around 9,650 participants from 110 countries, this trade show and conference points the way forward for Asia’s tourism industry.
Dr. Michael Frenzel, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) said this year ITB Berlin was once again the tourism industry’s main platform for doing business, gaining inspiration and exchanging knowledge, as well as for close dialogue and getting to know each other even better: “The world came together in Berlin, and here at ITB Berlin there were no borders or walls. There was a natural mingling of different nations and cultures, and that is exactly the message we have to take home and pas on to the world. Walls must be torn down and not new ones built, both in people’s minds and on the ground.”
THE WORLD CAME TOGETHER IN BERLIN, AND HERE AT ITB BERLIN THERE WERE NO BORDERS OR WALLS
Travel and tourism promotes international understanding, and in order to do so our customers must continue to be able to travel freely. Naturally governments must protect their citizens. However, total security does not exist, which is why one must seek to create and maintain a balance between security and freedom.” Norbert Fiebig, President of the German Travel Association (DRV) says meanwhile that the prospects for 2017 are very good: “The lust for travel among Germans remains unbroken. Many people have already decided on a destination and booked their summer holiday. Others are busily planning their holidays for the best time of the year. ITB Berlin is not only a well-known marketplace for travel destinations. It is also an indicator of booking trends for the upcoming travel season. This year ITB Berlin reflected the German nation’s lust for travel and the generally positive mood among consumers. As the German Travel Association our attention at ITB Berlin was especially focused on digitalisation, a mega trend, for this is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We must find new ways to exert greater influence on the direction this trend is taking.”