Berlin’s Governing Mayor, Michael Müller, welcomes ITB Berlin guests and gives insight into the German capital’s growing renown as a major tourism hub
ITB Berlin 2018 marks the start of another big year for one of Europe’s premier’s tourist destinations. Berlin’s tourism authority has unveiled a “2018+” concept that aims at attracting higher-end travellers to the German capital. There’s a view that visitors who come to enjoy the cultural attractions stay longer in the city – and spend more money. The idea is to attract “quality tourism” via a new marketing strategy in addition to a new city navigation system and new tourist routes.
In recent years, Berlin has become one of the top travel destinations in terms of international city tourism. The number of overnight stays in the German capital has almost doubled in the last ten years. Meanwhile, more than 30 million guests spend the night in Berlin annually. Thus, tourism is one of the most important economic drivers for the German capital.
Why is Berlin the perfect location for ITB, and indeed a host of trade fairs throughout the year?
Because the city is cosmopolitan and international, and because Berlin, as a trade fair city, has the experience and the skills that contribute to the success of such events.
What are some of the special events planned for 2018 in Berlin that will attract visitors to the city?
This year the festivities for the German National Day, the day of German unity [celebrating the day the country was reuni ed in 1990] on October 3rd, take place in Berlin. For three days, millions of people can get to know the capital from its most joyous side. We look forward to millions of visitors from all over the world.
Why does Berlin remain one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe?
I think because of the diversity. Berlin really has something for everyone. The German capital lures with its cultural wealth, its museums, theatres, the historical memorials and memorial sites. But it is also the free and cosmopolitan atmosphere in our city that makes our guests feel so comfortable. Tourists often say: “We feel at home in Berlin.”
That is a nice compliment because it says that you do not feel strange as a guest, but feel a strong sense of belonging.
What are your travel tips for visitors attending ITB, and Berlin for the first time?
Take the time to get to know the many sides of Berlin. Mitte with its magni cent buildings; Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg as creative neighbourhoods; Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf with their bourgeois air; or the citadel in Spandau – to name just a few examples of the diversity of our city.
Photo: Berlin’s Governing Mayor, Michael Müller