This year ITB had 15 percent more trade visitors with an increasingly international dimension. ITB Convention with 9,000 participants was up 25 percent.“In terms of quality and volume the ITB Berlin 2007 continues to strengthen its position as the world’s leading marketing platform for the travel industry. For example, over the past five days the industry has been able to form a picture of the changes that will take place in global demand as a result of climate change. At the same time the Berlin Exhibition Grounds were the background to an excellent level of business, providing the basis for commercial success in 2007.” These were the entirely positive conclusions drawn by Dr. Christian Göke, COO of Messe Berlin.
Each year the ITB Berlin becomes an even more international event. Whereas in 2003 approximately one third of all trade visitors came to Berlin from abroad, this year they accounted for 43 per cent of the total, a further two per cent rise over the previous year. However, the world’s largest travel trade show did not only set new records for the number of exhibitors: 10,923 companies from 184 countries presented the latest products and services from the travel industry (previous year: 10,856 companies from 183 countries). The number of trade visitors broke the 100,000 barrier for the first time. Between Wednesday and Friday 108,735 trade visitors were recorded, a 15 per cent rise. (2006: 94,553 trade visitors). The ITB Convention Market Trends & Innovations proved to be a major attraction, with participation up by a quarter and a total of more than 9,000 trade visitors. On Saturday 68,419 members of the general public came in search of ideas for their next vacation, compared with the 68,270 who attended on the Friday afternoon and the weekend at last year’s ITB Berlin. Over the five days of this trade show the halls on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds were visited by a total of 177,154 visitors.
BTW and DRV: Summit meeting for the trade sector
Klaus Laepple, President of the National Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) and President of the German Tour Operators’ and Travel Agents’ Association (DRV) summed up as follows: “As the world’s top event for the travel industry the ITB was a massive success. As the figures clearly reveal, there were substantially more trade visitors compared with last year. The ITB can justifiably carry the designation International, because the proportion of foreign visitors rose again this year. Exhibitors were positive in their assessments of this event too. They are thoroughly satisfied, reporting on many new customers and plenty of contracts. The ITB provides the general public with a unique opportunity to learn about the attractions and advantages of the most varied range of countries and regions in a concentrated form, all at one location, and to obtain suggestions about their next holidays. The partner country, India, made the best possible use of the ITB in order to gain the maximum publicity and to highlight its potential as a destination for vacationers and business travellers alike. Encouraged by such positive signs the travel industry is expecting a successful year for tourism. Tour operators and travel agencies are confident that last year’s positive trend will be continued and that the travel sector will finish the year with further increases.”
Positive response by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Francesco Frangialli, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) emphasised the particular importance of the ITB Berlin for the development of climate protection strategies:
“ITB 2007 was a landmark event at which the industry began to support our call for a proactive global strategy to respond constructively to the new demands of climate change without compromising on the basic challenge of using tourism as a tool to fight poverty. And we at UNWTO will respond in turn to the need and report back on progress at every ITB going forward. We are confident that by 2015 - the target date of the Millennium Development Goals - we will be able to show real progress on both fronts.”
Spotlight on the partner country, India
India already occupies a strong position within global tourism as a destination for business travellers and tourists. Due to its political stability, a strong economy and an increasingly favourable climate for business and investment there are excellent prospects for an increase in tourism. During the ITB Berlin the subcontinent highlighted a wide range of offers and numerous promotional campaigns. On the evening prior to the start of the trade show India organised a spectacular opening ceremony featuring the country’s many diverse aspects. Giriraj Singh Kushwaha, European Director, India Tourism: “We are very happy with everything. Our exhibitors are reporting very good business, better than at last year’s event. Tour operators are displaying an enormous amount of interest. Our appearance as partner country at the ITB Berlin was a thoroughgoing success. I can state this on behalf of my Minister of Tourism and Culture, Ambika Soni, too. We were also very satisfied with the organisational arrangements made by Messe Berlin. A great deal of media interest has been generated. In Germany too India is “in”. During the weekend the ITB is much busier and louder than during the trade visitors’ days. We want and need the general public, our tourists. We are now expecting a record number of visitors to India in 2007.”
Exhibitors very satisfied with volume of business concluded
The new arrangements, whereby the USA and the Mediterranean countries are at the southern end of the grounds and the section devoted to Cruises is in Hall 25, met with a very good response. Exhibitors at the ITB Berlin were positive about the commercial success of their involvement as well as being very satisfied with the progress of this event. 92 per cent are provisionally planning to attend again at the ITB Berlin 2008 (2006: 92 per cent). 97 per cent of exhibitors are satisfied with the commercial results of their participation, which is a five per cent improvement over the previous year (2006: 92 per cent).
Enthusiastic visitors 94 per cent would recommend the ITB Berlin
Visitors found the range on offer at the ITB Berlin even more attractive than at last year’s event. It was described as very good or good by 95 per cent of visitors, the same level as last year. 94 per cent of visitors (previous year: 88 per cent) would recommend the fair to acquaintances or colleagues and 89 per cent intend to return next year (2005: 88 per cent).
Trade visitors’ Friday and weekend for the public a major success
This year for the first time the Friday at the ITB Berlin was reserved exclusively for trade visitors. Exhibitors and visitors were conducting business until late in the afternoon and also on the Saturday. Exhibitors welcomed this new arrangement. Sieglinde Vogler-Schirmacher, Key Accountant Manager Touristic Varig Germany: “We are here at the ITB to show the flag and we have succeeded. We want to make it clear to tour operators and journalists that Varig continues to operate daily flights between Germany and Brazil on the Frankfurt-Sao Paulo-Rio de Janeiro route. The decision to divide the ITB into three trade visitors’ days and two for the general public was a good one and this arrangement should be retained.”
Many members of the public were waiting to be admitted well before the doors opened and interest in the world’s largest travel trade show remains as high as ever. With three stages, live acts from around the world, some wonderful travel prizes and many opportunities to get actively involved, the ITB Berlin also had a great appeal for the general public. Andreas Gross, Chairman of the Latin America Working Group: “Our stand attracted a great many people. We are hoping to have a larger stand area in 2008. This trade show is a good one. Our hall was packed and very lively at the weekend. People love to hear Latin American rhythms.”
A successful future for the ITB Convention Market Trends & Innovations
This year the ITB Conventions Market Trends & Innovations, Europe’s largest specialist convention for the travel industry, again effectively fulfilled its role as a think tank for the travel sector. Along with the discussions about climate change the ITB Hospitality Day and ITB Aviation Day have proved to be leading industry forums. In their third year the ITB Business Travel Days have become well established as a platform for business travel manager, offering workshops with a strong practical element, forums on specific countries and the new Suppliers’ Day. There was a positive reciprocity between the travel technology convention PhoCusWright@ITB and the neighbouring Travel Technology exhibition and, for two days, it highlighted the latest developments in this rapidly evolving sector. The ITB Convention attracted a total attendance of 9,000.
ITB Berlin as a meeting place for the media and politics
The ITB Berlin is an international media event. In addition to international news agencies it was also attended by some 8,000 journalists from 91 countries (previous year: 85 countries). Politics and the diplomatic service were also well represented at the ITB Berlin 2007: In addition to Princess Ubol of Thailand, four other members of royalty attended the ITB Berlin 2007, along with 137 representatives of politics and the diplomatic corps: 125 ambassadors and chargé d’affaires, two minister presidents, 65 ministers and deputy ministers, and 17 permanent secretaries. From Germany 23 ministers and permanent secretaries, two state minister presidents and a senator attended the ITB Berlin.
In accordance with the new arrangement the next ITB Berlin 2008 will take place from Wednesday to Sunday, 5 to 9 March 2008. From Wednesday until Friday admission will again be restricted to trade visitors only.