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Until now, for most people from outside of Germany, if one was to talk about the beauty of Mecklenburg-Verpommern, it would be met with a rather quizzical expression by the listener.
The fact that this region applied for, and was accepted as this year’s official “Destination Partner” status for ITB Berlin, underlines the power of this show in raising awareness among the world’s travel trade for a “rare pearl” such as this. Furthermore, the fact that it was chosen due primarily to its policies on sustainability is proof of the seriousness of Messe Berlin in working towards “greener” tourism. For example, those travelling to visit the federal state in Germany’s northeast can offset their carbon footprint. This can be done by purchasing so-called forest shares, 85,000 of which have already been sold. As a result, extensive reforesting is now taking place, and as part of the project five square metres of mixed woodland can be planted for ten euros.
Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice President, Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin, explained the logic of choosing this destination as key partner: “With its Baltic coastline and well-known Lake District, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is one of Germany’s most attractive federal states. Ever since 1991 the partner region of ITB has been an important exhibitor at the show. We are delighted that for the first time in the history of ITB, a federal state will be taking on such an important role, and that as the official partner region it will be the focus of the travel industry’s attention.”
The Chairman of the Tourism Association of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Wolfgang Waldmüller explains that for the region, participation at ITB Berlin is a big challenge, which they gladly accept, giving them opportunity to score points on the international market: “ITB Berlin should not only be the first milestone of the holiday season, it should also make it easier to attract more international attention and increase awareness for tourism in the state.”
One thing is sure; after this year’s ITB Berlin, there will be no more quizzical looks when people talk about Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – just smiles!
Richard Barnes Editor-in-Chief, ITB Berlin News