Shortly before Christmas the prospects for the coming ITB Berlin, which takes place from 7 to 11 March 2007, are looking good. “Compared with last year the number of applications received for the ITB Berlin 2007 remains at a high level. In its 41st year the leading trade show for the international travel industry continues to provide a concentrated display of the current trends in this sector from all over the world, and is still attracting new exhibitors”, according to the director of the ITB, David Ruetz.
This year’s partner country, India, will be filling an entire hall as well as presenting an attractive supporting programme. A total of just under 11,000 exhibiting companies from some 180 countries and territories are expected at the ITB Berlin 2007. They will be using the 26 halls on the Exhibition Grounds at the Berlin Funkturm (Radio Tower) to present their tourism products and services on an area measuring approximately 160,000 square metres.
Expansion in new and innovative sectors
The growth of the ITB Berlin is most apparent in new and innovative sectors such as ITB Supply, ITB Holiday Real Estate and the Culture Palace, the section devoted to the Book World and cultural tourism. As preparations intensify these areas are reporting a very encouraging level of bookings.
ITB Supply, a new section for suppliers to the tourism industry, met with a very good response when it was introduced this year, and demand is even higher for 2007. Companies from the supply sector that have already registered to attend include Aliseo, Kaldewei, NewspaperDirect, Checkomat, Mühldorfer and Unisto.
With the new ITB Holiday Real Estate section holiday and second homes have already become an established feature of the ITB Berlin 2007. The developers and operators of holiday properties, consultants, investors, specialist media and real estate agencies can be found in Hall 2.1, immediately next to the Main South Entrance and in the vicinity of exhibitors from Europe, South America and the USA. The convention “Specialist Dialogue on Holiday Real Estate” in collaboration with Heuer Dialog will take place on 9 March 2007.
Cultural tourism is becoming a major trend and this is again being reflected at the ITB Berlin 2007. The number of exhibitors who have registered already exceeds the previous year’s total. As a result the section combining cultural tourism and the Book World has been installed at the Palais am Funkturm, where a fascinating display is promised. Using the slogan “It«s Showtime for Culture” an even wider range of providers of cultural institutions from all over the world, and book publishers too, will be presenting numerous attractions for the public, as well as events on the main stage, courtesy of Studiosus.
After an absence of several years Colombia (Hall 3.1) returns to the ITB Berlin 2007, as do a number of African countries, namely Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Niger and Benin (all in Hall 20). Lebanon has a much stronger presence at the fair with a two-storey stand that is twice the size of last year’s display, as part of a campaign to revitalise its tourism industry (Hall 22). All available space in Hall 25, traditionally occupied by tour operators, travel insurers and online suppliers, has already been taken, and they include several newcomers such as the Swiss tour operator Kuoni, and Destinations of the World, an online reservation system from the United Arab Emirates. The online portal Expedia has reserved a substantially increased stand area. The entire Cruise sector is represented here in one hall for the first time, and a steady stream of visitors is expected because the entrance in Hall 25, opposite Halls 1 and 3, will again be open at the ITB Berlin 2007. This provides direct access to the neighbouring rail track where the railway companies Rennsteigbahn, Deutsche Bahn and Orient Express will be on display.
Making it easier to get around the Exhibition Grounds
Finding one’s way around the Exhibition Grounds will be easier than ever in 2007 with hall allocations being made by continents at the South Entrance. In accordance with this new hall structure the Mediterranean countries, including Italy and Spain, the leading Mediterranean destinations, are grouped together on the second level in Halls 1 to 4. For the first time the USA and Canada are on the same floor as Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America (Hall 3.1). Exhibitors from the USA and Canada are located in Hall 2.1, with the largest display by North America at the ITB Berlin since 2001.
Spotlight on the partner country, India
This year’s partner country, India, has a particularly strong presence, with its own Hall (5.2b), and as the country responsible for staging the opening ceremonies on Tuesday, 6 March. With motifs from the promotional campaign !ncredible India and typical Indian cuisine at the various snack bars and in the Restaurant Brandenburg in Hall 24 the Exhibition Grounds will be dominated by the many aspects of the partner country. Examples of its culture will include dance performances at the Indian pavilion, as well as yoga and ayurveda in the Wellness hall. Each day during the fair India will be staging some sensational presentations on the stage as part of the cultural tourism section in the Palais am Funkturm.
New features at the ITB Convention Market Trends & Innovations
The ITB Convention Market Trends & Innovations, the largest of its kind for the travel industry anywhere in the world, will be analysing the future of travel for the fourth time from 7 to 11 March 2007. This will also be the venue for the international conference for travel technology experts, [email protected], on 8 and 9 March. The display in Hall 7.1b will be augmented by a compact exhibition of travel technology. Among the new features this year will be a Pre-Convention on 7 March and a revised programme structure which, by repeating the events, offers participants greater flexibility during their time at this trade show. In 2006 the ITB Business Travel Days attracted a quarter of all the convention attendees. In addition to seminars for travel and office managers from 7 to 10 March 2007, for the first time a day will be set aside for the suppliers of services in the business travel sector. Another new development in 2007 is the wide range of travel arrangements intended strictly for office and travel managers. A special package has been prepared for them for just 199 euros, comprising a first class return ticket with Deutsche Bahn, an overnight stay at the 3 star Mercure Hotel Potsdam, an ITB trade visitor’s ticket, participation in all the seminars, a guided tour of Messe Berlin and an exclusive evening event. This offer is available until 18 December 2006 and bookings can be made at www.business-travel.itb-berlin.com.