A global exchange
The International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin 2002 will this month bring together 9,000 exhibitors from 180 countries helping to revitalise the summer season for the industry which is still suffering from the effects of September 11 events last year.The world travel fair, which takes place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and ICC Berlin from March 16 to 20, continues to fulfil a vital role in stimulating the international tourism industry, say organisers Messe-Berlin. "The fair will provide a clear indication of the future direction to be taken by the travel trade worldwide. Experts predict that the ITB 2002 will help to revitalise the summer season and assist with plans for successful business in 2003," say organisers. Messe-Berlin says it expects this year's event to attract over 50,000 trade visitors. There is a strong Middle East presence with the exhibitors list including participation from all GCC countries besides Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iran and Palestinian territories. "Exhibitors at the ITB Berlin use this fair as an opportunity to conduct face-to-face discussions with experts, and as a means of establishing whether their offers and services are commercially acceptable," said Messe-Berlin. "This is also an opportunity to talk with international partners about collaboration, prices, terms and planning. More than ever the international tourism industry values the high volume of business and the many contacts that take place at the ITB Berlin." ITB offers trade visitors a target-oriented forum where the latest market developments can be debated. It also focuses on various market segments within the international tourism industry. Almost all of Germany's airports are represented in the segment devoted to "Airlines/Airports". Many of the airlines that had their own stands at the ITB 2001 have returned to the ITB 2002, but as contributors to their countries' national stands. Cruise organisers which saw a decline in bookings following September 11 will be represented in force with participants from Germany, Greece, Italy, Austria and Russia. With more than 300 cultural facilities and institutions, cities, regions, states and service providers, the number of exhibitors in the "Cultural Tourism" segment has more than doubled since last year. A regular feature of the range of information and services available at the travel and tourism world's fair, the ITB Tourism Studies Centre will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at the ITB 2002. A total of 48 universities, vocational schools, technical colleges and private institutions from nine countries will provide a representative cross-section of training and advanced training opportunities on a national and an international scale of unrivalled depth and scope. It includes the specialist congress "Progress in Tourism Research", which has met with such a good response in the past that it is being held for the third time in 2002. Distinguished tourism researchers and practitioners will be discussing current issues of interest to the tourism industry. In recent years, the ITB Travel Technology segment has proved indispensable as a source of information for trade visitors with an eye on the future. In the business-to-consumer sector, exhibitors will include the representatives of commercial television for the first time, whose activities include "Travel Sales Programmes". The Deutsche Telekom travel portal will also be introduced for the first time. The various aspects of tourism involving travel for young people will be dealt with in the segment "ITB Young Travel 2002", which will be led by an international association, the FIYTO (Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations) and by RUF Jugendreisen, Bielefeld, the market leader for accompanied youth travel in Germany. A new section devoted to "Sustainable Travel" is being set up this year, occupying some 400 sq m. The "Sustainable Travel Exchange - Travel with sense" is being promoted by Messe Berlin and is organised by the ecological business consultants AeraNova Consult. This combined presentation will contribute significantly to a greater awareness of environmentally and socially compatible tourism attractions among those in the tourism industry itself, among the travelling public, and in the public at large. The ITB Book World will contain displays by 16 publishers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland with the latest travel guides and other publications which travellers can use to plan their trips or to assist them during the journey. The ITB will again be laid out on a geographical basis. The Arab nations will be in Halls 22a (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and UAE), 22b (Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories) and 23b (Bahrain, Iran, Yemen and Syria).