Increased international buyers boost ITB

Putting on a show at the Madagascar stand

WITH close to 170,000 visitors, the 45th edition of ITB Berlin came to a close. Touted as the world’s leading trade show for the international travel industry, this year’s edition witnessed orders with a volume in excess of €6 billion ($8.4 billion).

With more than 40 per cent of buyers from international markets, it was a record year for ITB 2011, despite a rail strike, and trade visitor numbers too remained stable at last year’s level.

Dr Christian Göke, chief operating officer of Messe Berlin said: “Each year ITB Berlin attracts growing numbers of international decision-makers. With over 40 per cent of buyers from abroad and an international range of exhibitors, the show has the ideal prerequisites for business success.”

The two high-level meetings of ministers ensured that international politics and diplomacy were strongly represented at this year’s ITB Berlin. The UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) Silk Road Ministers’ Summit played a decisive part in efforts to promote the long-term tourism development of the Silk Road region.

The show also hosted the first Ministers’ Summit on Climate Change in Asia-Pacific.

For exhibitors from North Africa, the show acted as a vital meeting place to re-stimulate their markets. Egypt launched a new advertising campaign which focuses on peaceful democratisation.

However, post the Japanese earthquake and tsunami reports, the Japan stand remained closed on the last two days.

This year, 11,163 exhibiting companies and organisations from 188 countries covered the entire spectrum of the international travel industry.

The ITB Berlin Convention saw a 15 per cent increase in participants. The presentations and seminars at eTravel World, a new addition this year, were also a great success, attracting several thousand participants.

Speaking on the success of the show, Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the UNWTO said: “ITB Berlin had a special relevance this year, coming on the tail of the recent developments in Egypt and Tunisia, two important tourism destinations.

“As we welcomed the new Egypt and Tunisia at ITB 2011, I was struck by the remarkable demonstrations of solidarity shown by the international tourism community to these two destinations.

“ITB Berlin has also confirmed the rising confidence among the tourism sector, with 2011 set to consolidate the impressive tourism growth of 2010. Against this background ITB has again proven the ideal stage for UNWTO to launch new initiatives, including the first ever Silk Road Ministers’ Summit.”

Jürgen Büchy, president of the German Travel Association added: “ITB Berlin 2011 provides a positive signal for the travel year 2011. Everything indicates growth, especially since Germans are displaying an even greater willingness to travel. The travel industry is gearing up for action. Germans have packed their bags and are keen to travel, as was clearly demonstrated by the reaction of the public at ITB Berlin.”

The next ITB Berlin will take place from March 7 to 11, 2012 with Egypt on board as the partner country.