EVERY year, over a period of only five days, the International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin generates a turnover of approximately five billion euros.
The fair always attracts well over 100,000 visitors to the German capital and is considered an international meeting place, with three-quarters of over 10,000 exhibitors from foreign countries. Close to one-third of trade visitors come from abroad to do business and to check on the latest market developments at the ITB. Each March, representatives from over 180 countries and territories gather in the 26 halls on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.
This year’s event will have an increased focus on culture, with the Palais am Funkturm being turned into a cultural hotspot to host ITB Book World and Cultural Tourism. Visitors will be able to discover a world of cultural attractions, as well as visit a Culture Bar on the top floor. Exhibitors representing city and cultural tourism products from Europe, Asia and Africa as well as leading travel publishers will have their products and services on display here. Space tourism, fashion and the ITB Book Awards 2007 will all find space at the venue.
ITB Future Day, part of the ITB Convention Market Trends & Innovations programme for 2007, is scheduled for Wednesday March 7, and will be packed with sessions on subjects of topical interest. These include an update of world travel trends in co-operation with IPK International; discussions on the future of travel demand and how suppliers need to adapt to meet consumers’ changing needs, a panel debate about youth travel; and an early afternoon session on climate change and the fundamental challenges it poses for the industry, hosted by Prof Dr Roland Conrady, dean of the Travel and Transport Department at the University of Applied Sciences in Worms, and scientific director of the ITB Convention.
Not only has air transport remained resilient in the face of high fuel prices and taxes, terrorist threats and natural disasters, but the sector is booming again.
ITB Aviation Day, on March 9, will focus on all the changes taking place in the sector and their impact on the future. Emirates Airline president Tim Clark will join Singapore Airlines’ Tjhoen Onn Thoeng in a panel discussion, Airbus versus Boeing; while Joachim Hunold, CEO of Air Berlin, will share his views on whether the time is really ripe for consolidation between the low-cost and charter markets.
Other issues to be discussed include airport privatisation; how airlines will deal with new technology, including innovative mobility solutions; and the impact of stricter safety and immigration controls on business aviation.
While business travel in Germany is growing all the time, the event will host discussions on the subject of safety on business trips, the dynamics of business travel to and from Poland and India, as well as holding several hands-on workshops for normal office workers directly involved in handling business travel.
With India being spotlighted as this year’s partner country, it will be everywhere at the show and will have its own hall, (5.2b), with representatives from ten of the country’s states and 50 exhibitors from the private sector. Visitors will be able to experience India’s many cultural attractions, including dancing, yoga, and Ayurveda, as well as take part in prize draws to win a trip to India.