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ITB Berlin 2019: Bigger, more digital and sustainable and even more international



The outlook is exceptionally good for ITB Berlin as final preparations are under way for the 53rd edition which will take place from 6 to 10 March 2019. Some 10,000 companies and organisations from over 180 countries will be represented in 26 halls in the biggest marketplace of the international travel industry. This year’s official partner country Malaysia, which is organising the opening event on the eve of ITB Berlin 2019, is putting on a spectacular display of performances typical for this region. During the show trade visitors and the public can find out about the many products and services of this southeast Asian country in Hall 26. Now occupying an enlarged stand covering 100 square metres, co-exhibitor numbers have more than doubled compared with last year.

 

“Once again, the outstanding number of bookings received by ITB Berlin shows that in these times especially, when talk is about geopolitical crises, climate change and overtourism, the international travel industry is focusing on strong participation and personal exchanges at the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show“, said David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin. “As well as regular exhibitors we have secured the participation of many new companies this year. We have created more floor space in order to satisfy demand. With the ITB Berlin Convention relocating to the multi-purpose congress and trade fair venue CityCube Berlin (CCB), we have been able to devote an exclusive area and 20 per cent more space to the rapidly expanding Travel Technology segment. All six Travel Technology halls were booked up back in December.“


Asia, India and Arab countries are expanding onto the market

 

India, Asia and Arab countries, whose tourism industries are all expanding, will again be represented in large numbers at ITB Berlin. The presence of many new exhibitors reflects the markets’ extremely dynamic growth. Among those exhibiting for the first time in Hall 26 are Karma Group, which markets exclusive 5-star hotels and retreats, and the international tour operator Global DMC Network by JTB Group from Japan. The displays of Arab countries in Hall 2.2 reflect their growth on the world’s tourism markets. This year is the first time that the Saudi General Investment Authority is taking part in ITB Berlin. Dubai is participating in larger numbers than last year. The country’s main attraction is Expo 2020 Dubai, which will be represented with its own stand. Oman, the  official partner country of ITB Berlin 2020, is occupying a larger display area, proof of the growing economic importance of tourism in the sultanate. Fujairah, the last country to join the Emirates and an emerging tourism destination, will also be represented on a larger stand.

 

Hall 5.2b, which features India, was booked up at an early stage. A number of exhibitors have enlarged their stands, including the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. A substantial number of up-and-coming enterprises have announced their attendance, including Kesari Tours, Trans Indus Destination Management, Visit Incredible India Tours, the luxury wellness resort Atmantan and the Uday Samuadra Ayurveda & Yoga Resort. TourEast, an initiative which promotes sustainable cultural tourism destinations in rural Bengal and Goa, is presenting its projects at the Sustainable Travel Pavilion in Hall 5.2b for the first time.


Australia, Africa and South America highlight their continuous growth

 

Australia is highlighting its growth prospects in the tourism market with a larger display area in Hall 5.2a. Among African countries, Egypt (Hall 4.2) with its focus on grand Egyptian museums and Namibia (Hall 20) will be attracting attention with larger stands. One important piece of information for visitors to the Africa Hall (20): Swaziland will be represented as the Kingdom of Eswatini. South American countries are picking up where they left off last year – all exhibitors have confirmed they will be back at the show. Many first-time exhibitors from the Caribbean, including from Curacao, Barbados, Belize and El Salvador, are also taking part. Grenada, the Caribbean island which was an exhibitor at ITB Berlin back in 2015, is celebrating its return. Peru and Ecuador have marginally increased their displays, and Venezuela has even doubled the size of its stand. As far as the US is concerned, bookings are on a par with last year’s, nullifying the ‘Trump effect’.


Europe: newcomers, many regular exhibitors and three anniversaries

 

A large number of new exhibitors as well as larger stands in the European halls mean that bookings there have remained stable. Newcomers include St. Helena, where Napoleon was exiled, the EU Initiative European Capitals of Smart Tourism, Turismo de Setúbal and Mystic Cruises from Portugal. Portugal’s booming tourism industry will be hosting impressive displays in Hall 1.1. Over 100 exhibitors, the majority of them under the umbrella of Turismo de Portugal, will be presenting their products on a 10 per cent larger display area. Luxembourg and the Balearics are also occupying larger stands. Majorca in particular is important for the German market. Now on a stand measuring over 500 square metres, the Russian representation in Hall 3.1 is larger than ever before. Norway (Hall 18), Bulgaria (Hall 15), Slovakia (7.2b) and Switzerland (Hall17) all have reasons to celebrate – all four destinations are celebrating 50 years at ITB Berlin.


New organisers and new hotels

 

An impressive number of tour operators are new to the show. They include Alltours, the travel website Urlaubsguru, the Swiss luxury cruise operator Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, the Antarctic tour specialist Albatros Exhibition, the online portal Kurzurlaub.de, and the software developer Durak und Reinhardt GmbH. Now on two stands, Booking.com is occupying a much larger area in Hall 9. As a main exhibitor, the Indian luxury hotel group Roseate Hotels & Resorts has moved from Hall 5.2 to Hall 9. As a newcomer in the hotel segment, the leading Asian luxury hotel group Shangri-La has announced its participation with three hotels. Loop@ITB, a hotspot for buyers and hoteliers in the luxury segment, has firmly established itself in Hall 9.


International demand in the LGBT, Medical Tourism and Cultural, Youth & Adventure Travel segments

 

Visitors can find the largest range of LGBT+ tourism products of any trade fair worldwide at the Gay/Lesbian Travel Pavilion at ITB Berlin. The segment continues to expand. New exhibitors include Friendly Piemonte from Italy, the Malta Tourism Authority, which hosted the first LGBT+ Tourism Summit in 2018, the Keihan Hotel from Japan, the Thrive Summit by Connect Travel, and New York City, the World Pride Destination 2019. The LGBT+ Media Lounge is new, hosted by ITB Berlin, TomOnTour and Pink Banana from the US. In addition to presentations on the pavilion’s own stage, a panel discussion will be taking place for the first time.

 

The Medical Tourism segment has reported an increase in international companies too. In Hall 21.b newcomers include Viaggiare Sorridere from Albania, A-A Stomatologica from Romania, Cluster Dalmatia-Health from Croatia, the Indian specialist in medical ayurveda applications CGH Earth, Dormio-Med Dorota Kowalczyk, and the online portal MKT Plus from Poland. Also taking part for the first time is the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA). The European Spas Association (ESPA) and the Health Tourism Industry Conference (HTI), the medical partners of ITB Berlin, are among the regular exhibitors at the show. Once again, the HTI will be hosting the ITB Medical Night.

 

Exhibitors from around the world are presenting their products and innovations for Youth & Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism in Hall 4.1. With almost 40 exhibitors the Youth Travel Center is almost booked up. Italy, represented by Tuscany, and the newly established Federal Association for School Trips are represented here for the first time. The Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism segment has reported an increase in exhibitor numbers too. Newcomers include a combined stand with nine Madagascan tourism organisations featuring the slogan ’Madagascar: Responsible Travel and Authentic Experiences’, the Croatian national parks Plitvice Lakes National Park and Park Krka, the publisher Delius Klasing Verlag, WWF Germany, WWF Borneo, and the relief organisation Brot für die Welt /Tourism Watch. For the past four years Cultural Tourism has occupied its own hall at ITB Berlin. Some 70 exhibitors from 12 countries, including museums from all over Europe, festivals, joint European large-scale projects and cultural attractions are presenting their cultural highlights and offerings in the Culture Lounge (Hall 16). Visit Flanders is the official culture partner of the show. Other cultural tourism exhibitors including museum.de and muesion can be found in Hall 10.2.


Big growth prospects: travel technology and the new TTA segment

 

The eTravel World is booked up. International participation is also on the increase. In order to satisfy the space requirements of this fast-growing segment the eTravel World was enlarged by 20 per cent. This was made possible by the ITB Berlin Convention relocating to another venue. In addition to the established Travel Technology halls (5.1, 8.1 and 10.1) the eTravel World can be found in three adjacent halls (6.1, 7.b and 7.1c). With more than a dozen first-time exhibitors, including BookingSuite, Travelor, Loopon, Ratehawk, Atomize and Gastromatic, the Hospitality Tech segment especially is reporting strong growth. The increasing presence of payment system providers also underlines the growing importance of travel technology. In addition to the major players Wirecard and Concardis, big-name market leaders including Paypal, Six Payment Services and ECOMMPAY are also taking part.

 

Thematically, the new Technology, Tours & Activities (TTA) segment spans a bridge between travel technology and adventure travel. A special 500 square-metre exhibition and meeting area is being set up in Hall 4.1b where major players and smaller startups can present their innovative products from the world of in-destination services, including Bookingkit, Klook,  Regiondo, Fareharbor, ATTA, Evaneos and Giant Monkey. TheVirtual Reality Lab is also new in Hall 10.2. From Wednesday to Friday there will be exhibitions on VR and AR applications and projects as well as papers by speakers from major companies on the same subject.


MICE and Business Travel expand – ITB Berlin Convention relocates to a new venue

 

MICE and Business Travel are moving closer together. On Wednesday, 6 and Thursday, 7 March 2019 the ITB MICE Forum and ITB Business Travel Forum will be sharing the same space for half a day respectively in Hall 7.1a. The topic at the ITB MICE Forum is the ’Human factor’. The focus of the ITB Business Travel Forum is on smart mobility concepts of the future. The CityCube Foyer East is offering a foretaste of things to come in the shape of a Tesla electric car, which will be on display there. This will then be repurposed as the studio for the brand new ITB Travel Hero Podcast which is due to be launched during ITB Berlin. Visitors to the ITB MICE Hub in Hall 7.1a can also take a seat in a flight simulator.

 

Relocating the ITB Berlin Convention to the multi-purpose congress and trade fair venue CityCube has not only created more space for events, it now means better access too. At the world’s largest tourism convention some 400 leading figures representing tourism, politics, industry will be discussing the latest topics at a total of 200 events. New among the events are Deep Dive sessions at which visitors can dwell on the convention’s key topics in depth in small groups. Convention sessions and international award presentations will also take place in Halls 7 and at the Palais am Funkturm.


ITB Berlin app lets visitors relax

 

The ITB Berlin app is a convenient and efficient tool for organising one’s visit on the move. Visitors can use it to easily find exhibitors, hall plans and events, including those at the ITB Berlin Convention, as well as to find their way around. The new beacon system means navigating around the halls is easy. What is more, MyITB with its user profile provides an excellent overview of favourite exhibitors and events. Regular updates will ensure that users always have the latest information during the show. The ITB app for iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets can be downloaded and updated free of charge and is available in German and English.


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