Developing global tourism industry’s think tank


The International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin continues to develop its role as a think tank for the global tourism industry.

Following a successful launch at the ITB Berlin 2004, when it attracted an attendance in excess of 3,500, this year the ITB Congress Market Trends & Innovations will comprise more than 30 events spread over five days between 11 and 15 March. According to Professor Roland Conrady, the academic director, who has prepared and organised the programme in collaboration with the higher education institute Fachhochschule Worms: “The ITB is the ideal forum in Europe for providing a platform for a dialogue between the representatives of a global industry.”
As well as following on from the success of last year’s events many new topics and forward-looking topics dealing with issues of practical relevance will be discussed at this congress. Trend guru Matthias Horx from the Zukunftsinstitut (Future Institute) will introduce the one-day ‘Future & Innovation Forum’ on March 14. The Zukunftsinstitut is regarded as one of the most influential think tanks engaged in research into the future and coming trends in Europe. The contributions by other participants in this forum, which will present and reveal tomorrow’s travel trends, are also being eagerly awaited.
Technology is another of the congress themes which is being explored in greater detail. The event entitled ‘Technology Trends in the Future’ will examine the mega-trends in the IT sector and their impact on tourism. The forum will seek answers to the following questions: which developments in IT are being currently under-estimated, and which ones are being over-estimated? What significance will the internet have in the future? What will be the next stages in the development of the internet?
With the introduction of a new feature, the ‘Innovation Lounge’, Messe Berlin is following on from the first ITB New Businesses Forum, which made such a successful debut in December 2004 in Berlin. The Innovation Lounge has been planned as a professional platform for participants in the New Businesses Forum and for other interested persons, and is ideal for networking and informal discussions.
The Experts’ Forum will be continued and this year will focus on the subject of ‘India’. Experts will present the current situation of the Indian tourism industry and will highlight trends and developments on this important and expanding market.
The subject of the Wellness Forum is likely to shake up the industry: the background to ‘The economic efficiency and profitability of wellness areas in hotels’ is provided by an empirical investigation by Kai Illing of the Austrian technical college Fachhochschule Joanneum in Bad Gleichenberg, and ghk consult GmbH, into the “mega-trend” of wellness.
A practical workshop on ‘Incoming Chinese Tourists’ is being introduced for the first time at the ITB Congress. This is also the only event for which a charge will be made. The participation fee is 98 euros. Under the title ‘China: a major economic power goes travelling’, concrete answers will be provided about ways in which European travel trade professionals can and should prepare for the arrival of Chinese tourists. An intercultural communication trainer points out classic faux pas that can occur when dealing with Chinese vacationers, and how to avoid them.
The ‘Aviation Day’ is another new feature, with information about the future of civil aviation. But that’s not all.Tourism students will be presenting award-winning work at the ‘Universities’ Forum’ . These have been selected beforehand, applying the criteria of topicality, innovativeness and creativity. The floods in Southern Asia and their implications for tourism will be dealt with at a forum which is being organised and held by the ITB Berlin in collaboration with PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association). The title of this event will be: ‘The PATA Forum: Indian Ocean destinations are back!’