The 50th edition of Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB Berlin) 2016, set to be held from March 9 to 13, will witness around 10,000 exhibitors and organisations from more than 186 countries to be in the 26 halls on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.
“Bookings are stable compared to 2015, underlining ITB Berlin’s role as the world’s leading travel trade show – despite the difficult economic situation on the world market, the refugee crisis and terror attacks,” said David Ruetz, Head, ITB Berlin.
In 2015, 10,096 companies and organisations from 186 countries exhibited their products and services to 175,000 visitors, who included 115,000 trade visitors. The 2016 edition is expected to bring together 850 qualified top buyers, 10,000 exhibitors, spread over 160,000 sq m.
He further said, “This year’s ITB Berlin will unite supply and demand from around the world again and send out an important message for the future. The high level of demand from emerging destinations such as Asia and the Arab countries and the growth of popular markets such as Travel Technology are proof of how dynamic the global travel industry is. At the same time, up-to-the-minute and forward-looking themes at the ITB Berlin Convention, where leading experts will be taking part in the debate, emphasise ITB Berlin’s reputation as the travel industry’s driving force.”
This year’s partner country, Maldives, is organising the opening event on the eve of ITB Berlin. The island nation in the Indian Ocean - which first exhibited at ITB Berlin in 1984 - will occupy a larger display area of 200 sq m.Growth and returning exhibitors reflect developments in the travel industry
Demand from Asia and the Arab countries remains particularly high at this year’s ITB Berlin. China Southern Airlines, as well as tour operators and destination management companies (DMCs), including Beijing Charmission Travel, Europe Champion Travel, Ideaindochina & HGH Traveland Trails of Indochina will be represented for the first time. Indonesia and Taiwan occupy larger stands.
In the hall displaying India, the state of Rajasthan which recently launched a new global marketing campaign, is returning in this edition. Following the disastrous earthquake in April 2015, Nepal will be back with its campaign ’Nepal Now’, promoting the country as an attractive and safe tourism destination.
Central America and the Carribbean have also expressed keen demand for places at the world’s leading travel trade show.
Following an absence, St. Lucia and the Turks and Caicos Islands are exhibiting again. Now with larger stands, Cuba and El Salvador are even more strongly represented at the show.
There is also high growth in numbers from Canada, the USA and Central Asia. In particular, there are many exhibitors from Russia. Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates have already secured their places.
With displays covering two halls, the African countries at ITB Berlin underline how important tourism is for this continent. Numerous countries are back at the show following an absence. They include Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Burundi and Sierra Leone, whose appearance at the show after the ravaging Ebola epidemic marks the return of this country to the tourism market.
The arrival of several newcomers from Europe emphasises the increasing importance of ITB Berlin. For the first time the Vatican Museums and the papal art collection from Vatican City are represented with their own stand. Turkey is represented in its own hall with 15 new exhibitors, a record figure. Among the exhibitors in the Hall displaying Spain are Ferri Land - PortAventuraWorld, Marbella and MTS Globe Spain, all newcomers to the show. The section where tourism companies are exhibiting has also experienced high growth. This year the online portal Urlaubspiraten, the Mouzenidis Travel Group, one of Greece’s biggest tour operators, and the low-cost carrier Germania are all making their first appearance at the show.
For the fourth year in succession the Home of Business Travel by ITB & VDR will offer a relaxed lounge atmosphere where one can network and exchange knowledge. Acquiring new knowledge is key in this field. Accordingly, this specialist display area offers direct access to the lectures and discussion rounds of the ITB Business Travel Days.Travel Technology to provide impetus
Travel Technology is booming. ITB Travel Technology, Mobile Travel Services, eTravel World sections have been booked up since December and there are already long waiting lists. The high level of demand expressed by first-time exhibitors reflects the dynamic nature of the market. Around 30% of exhibitors in this section are newcomers to the show, including major international companies such as Tuniu (China), Bynder ‘getbynder’ (Netherlands) and Clicktripz (USA), as well as Beachinspector, the winners of the Sprungbrett Innovators’ Competition. Roompad, Citos Systems and Freshcells occupy larger display areas. Following a long absence, Traffics is exhibiting at the show again. This travel tech company is also a sponsor of the eTravel Lounge, which has established itself as an important platform for startups. On March 9, the final round of Start Tourism Up will be held on the company’s stage. For the first time the etravel Lab is being sponsored, namely by Pisano Holding. Ruetz shared, “Due to high demand, in 2017 ITB Berlin is planning to expand this highly topical segment, which continues to grow.”Pink Pavilion: world’s largest display of gay and lesbian travel products
Since 2010 Gay & Lesbian Travel has been highly successful at ITB Berlin. In the meantime it represents the world’s largest specialist display of travel products in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) tourism. Companies from around the world are represented in the Pink Pavilion, including the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and many co-exhibitors. Newcomers include India and Nepal as well as Moments, an operator from Mauritius, Quiiky Travel from Italy, and Illinois Tourism, the partner of the Media Breakfast.Culture Lounge: increase in international exhibitors
This year the Culture Lounge has experienced a considerable rise in international exhibitors, making it one of the highest growth segments at ITB Berlin. Apart from regular exhibitors in Hall 16 over a dozen European cities, destinations and institutions are appearing for the first time, showcasing their cultural highlights. They include Aarhus 2017 – the European City of Culture, Belgientourismus Wallonie-Brüssel, Fédération Européenne des Cités Napoléoniennes, Fondation Beyeler, Innovation Norway, Ireland Tourism and the Liszt Academy of Music from Budapest.
Parallel with the show, the ITB Berlin Convention will be held from March 9-12, 2016. It is expected to attract 23,000 visitors.