It's business as usual

The International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin is the leading trade fair for the global tourism industry. This year the fair will attract a record 10,000 participants
The Colombian stall at ITB 2002.

The International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin 2003, taking place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and in the ICC Berlin from March 7 to 11, fulfils an important role by providing a fresh impetus for the international tourism industry. Each year this trade fair confirms its outstanding role, acting as a stabilising factor on the international tourism industry.

Despite the threat of war hanging over the industry, Peter Koppen, chief of the Press Information Bureau said that the fair would go on unaffected.

"Instead of cancellations, we have over 10,000 participants, a record number so far. So you see it is business as usual."

Experts predict that demand for travel will remain at a high level and expect numerous destinations that are considered "safe" will continue to enjoy vigorous growth.

In both a demographic and an economic sense the Asia-Pacific area is currently the region experiencing the fastest expansion, which is why this region is regarded as one of the factors driving the worldwide tourism industry.

Applications for the event which is regarded as an accurate reflection of a globally active branch of industry, have remained steady.

"At the present time no countries have withdrawn and consequently the fair expects to attract a record 10,000 exhibitors from 180 countries and territories. There has been a slight increase in the numbers of exhibitors from Arab and Asian countries, as well as from Turkey, Russia and the Ukraine. Representation from the hotel sector remains constant at the ITB 2003", said Koppen.

After withdrawing from the fair last year, companies such as Thomas Cook, Club Med, Deutsche Lufthansa, Start Amadeus, Sabre and Europische Reiseversicherung will again be taking part in the ITB 2003.

The timing of the International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin has been altered.

Starting in 2003 it will now begin on Friday (March 7) and end on Tuesday (March 11).

During the first three days (Friday to Sunday) travel and tourism's world trade fair will be open to the travelling public and trade visitors. On Monday and Tuesday, however, admission to the ITB Berlin will be restricted to trade visitors.

A particularly important part will be played by the specialist congress "Progress in Tourism Research", featuring research and findings of outstanding quality.

This congress is organised by Messe Berlin and Alpenforschungsinstitut (AFI) in collaboration with AIEST - Association Internationale d'Experts Scientifiques du Tourisme.

The ITB Book World (Hall 7.2 b) has been providing the setting for the past seven years for an inter-disciplinary dialogue between the publishers of travel books and the representatives of the international tourism industry.