ITB to spotlight football, shopping and space


DESTINATIONS will dominate four events at the ITB Convention Market Trends & Innovations.

From the all-important FIFA World Cup 2006 and shopping tourism to travelling into space, all subjects of particular interest in the Middle East, ITB Berlin will be addressing the most important issues and trends. The initial findings of a study carried out by Tourist Impulse Monitor (TIM) Europe 2006 provide a general overview of these subjects.
The introductory event on March 9, ‘Tourism Destinations from the Customer’s Viewpoint’, questions whether tourists are really aware of the uniqueness of a destination, a matter of concern for many of those in positions of responsibility in tourism, who often have no idea what German tourists think of their country. The event will examine the brand images of various European destinations and investigate changing market structures within the tourism sector, together with the ensuing pressures on destinations and hoteliers to adapt: customers’ preferences and marketing structures alter, destinations suffer from over-capacity, and traditional destinations lose their appeal. Meanwhile new destinations such as Dubai and new types of holidays such as cruises, with massive advertising budgets, are making their presence felt.
The initial findings of the Tourist Impulse Monitor (TIM) Europe 2006 will also be presented, illustrating the image, appeal and commercial opportunities of European destinations in the eyes of German tourists. Also being discussed are the implications changing customers and sales channels have for destinations and hoteliers.
Discussions between leading experts on March 11 will be dominated by the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2006. Such events are frequently accompanied by extensive infrastructural investments, and it is often claimed that such investments have lasting benefits for the tourism of the region concerned. The long-term effects of major sporting events for tourism will be examined and new ideas thrown up. Speakers include Prof Dr Holger Preuss of the University of Mainz, general manager of Bayern Tourismus Marketing, Livio Cordero, director, Turin Tourism, Joan Gaspart, president, Barcelona Tourism and Petra Hedorfer, chief executive of the German National Tourist Board (DZT).
Shopping tourism offers great scope for expansion but remains relatively unexplored. A panel on March 11 will present the findings of a study comparing international destinations for shopping tourism, conducted by ISG Institut für Sozialforschung und Gesellschaftspolitik. Developing the market and best-practice examples will be looked at followed by discussions between Andrea Talevski, director marketing Berlin Tourismus Marketing and Constanze Hilgers, tourism manager with Value Retail.
Destination Space, on March 12, will look into the future. Since Dennis Tito became the first space tourist, commercial companies have been taking an interest in the space tourism market. Prospects for developing this new sector will be examined by Dr Robert Goehlich, visiting professor for Space Tourism at Keio University in Yokohama, Japan, will provide the introductory paper, and this will be following by a discussion between Dieter Isakeit, European Space Agency ESA and Thomas Kraus, proprietor and general manager of the German-Space-Shop.