Cape Town courts the German market at ITB Berlin

Cape Town courts the German market at ITB Berlin

ITB Berlin, one of the largest travel trade and consumer shows in Europe, kicked off on March 10, 2010 with Turkey as official partner country. It was a sunshine-inspired theme. ITB Berlin took place on the fairgrounds of Messe Berlin with March 10-12, 2010 being reserved for trade visitors and March 13-14, 2010 being open to both trade and the general public. South Africa is one of the countries that boasted a brand new stand, alongside Italy, England, and Malaysia; all of which sported a new overcoat in 2010.

This is the 44th annual ITB Berlin, but resisting the temptation to rest on their laurels and become stale over the years, this consumer show boasted a fresh, new approach:

New additions to the program at ITB Berlin were a mobile travel services area and a Social Media Lounge in response to an increased emphasis internationally on using social media as marketing platforms. A special section has been dedicated to gay and lesbian travel in one of the halls, while the ITB Marketing and Distribution Day on March 12, 2010 was dedicated to the needs of this target group – focusing on best practice examples from market leaders.

Adventure travel has proven its longevity by remaining a popular display theme with more than 30 countries showcasing their adventure and natural travel attractions. In line with the consumer, who is growing more conscious of their role as a responsible traveler, there was a strong demand for experiences with a sustainable focus.

Lianne Burton, Cape Town head of marketing said: “Golf, food, and wine remain strong travel motivators for German visitors to Cape Town. There is also a healthy interest in township tours and the cultural offering of Cape Town.” According to Burton, Cape Town Tourism, in partnership with our German representative KpRN (also the appointed PR representative for South African Tourism in Germany), are addressing issues of safety and security, which remain the biggest concern for this market.

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Said Burton: “European travel is expected to remain fairly flat throughout 2010 due to the global economic recession, but this provides Cape Town with the ideal opportunity to hone our products and skills to appeal to a lucrative market in Germany, which is still one of our destination’s four biggest international source markets. A mood of cautious optimism still reigns in the business travel sector with key players indicating their belief that an upturn in the business travel market will take place towards the end of the year.”

“Theme Days” at this year’s event allowed the organizers to profile certain themes in line with international travel trends. Gay and lesbian travel aside, there is an increased emphasis on corporate social responsibility looking at climate change and sustainable tourism, examining the impact of major industries like cruise ship travel on the environment – bound to lead to hot debate.

Putting their money where their mouth is on the topic of social media, ITB Berlin is now active on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube and will also publish the ITB World Travel Trends Report online.

Said David Ruetz, senior manager, ITB Berlin, “We have taken on this growing market with online communities at just the right time and regard the social web as an appropriate way to actively observe the travel market and openly discuss business trends.”

Cape Town Tourism has had a strong presence on Flickr, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook for some time now with its most recent Facebook statistics attesting to the fact that the online audience is a dynamic one. Cape Town Tourism takes great pride in its healthy record of 2,000 interactions per week with the 52,000 fans of the “I love Cape Town” fan page. These numbers grow daily.