Berlin’s Governing Mayor, Michael Müller, welcomes ITB Berlin guests in a year when the city celebrates 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall — among numerous special anniversaries. We asked him what makes Berlin a special travel destination in 2019.
Berlin is a destination for cultural discoverers and connoisseurs. Life here is colourful, diverse and fascinating. No wonder we are in the top ve of European destinations. Highlights this year are certainly the big anniversary celebrations. We will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift in June, during which West Berlin was blockaded by the Soviet Union; and in November, the “Peaceful Revolution” marking the fall of the Wall 30 years ago. In addition, 2019 will be “Humboldt Year,” especially in Berlin where the 250th birthday of scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt will be celebrated on September 14 — parallel to the opening of the new Humboldt Forum, a new exhibition and experience space in the heart of Berlin.
How has Berlin changed since the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, and how exactly will the city celebrate the milestone?
Berlin has undergone tremendous change, yet will not cease to change. That alone is a reason to visit year after year. From the 4th to the 10th of November we will celebrate the Peaceful Revolution and the fall of the Wall with a big festival. Important events in the history of 1989/90 are told and experienced in the places where they happened on the «Berlin Route of the Revolution.» In addition, countless events, exhibitions — and many surprises — await guests. Just one more reason to visit the German capital this fall.
ITB Berlin 2019 will be partly focused on sustainable tourism. How does Berlin try to promote sustainability?
We want a sustainable metropolis for all, for the guests of our city and of course for all Berliners. Sustainable tourism means that the authenticity of Berlin, which attracts millions of visitors every year, is preserved — and that tourism is co-designed with Berliners. There are always new ideas in Berlin, projects that are developing in new places in the city and that are becoming highlights and attracting many people. But it can lead to an overload on certain hot spots. The new tourism concept therefore seeks to relieve the burden on such places so that more of Berlin on the whole comes alive. We are therefore improving the tourism infrastructure in all twelve districts so that Berlin’s high quality of life and experience is maintained.
What is your main tip for ITB visitors who might be exploring Berlin for the first time?
Look less at your travel guide or on your smartphone and instead experience Berlin, the neighbourhoods, the life in the streets and its unique history.
Photo: Michael Müller, Mayor of Berlin