Closing report: ITB Berlin sets new record

Closing report: ITB Berlin sets new record

ITB Berlin, which came to an end on Sunday, was able to cement its position as the world’s largest travel trade show. From 4 to 8 March 2015 10,096 exhibitors from 186 countries, more than two-thirds of whom were from abroad, were represented in 26 display halls which were fully booked. Overall, some 115,000 trade visitors (2014: 114,000) travelled to Berlin.

The share of trade visitors from abroad increased to 43 per cent (2014: 40 per cent). These visitors also remained longer at ITB Berlin because they did good business, with the average duration of a stay rising to 2.4 days (2014: 2.1 days). According to estimates by Messe Berlin the volume of sales at the world’s leading travel trade show increased from around 6.5 billion euros in 2014 to 6.7 billion euros.

Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin: “More than ever ITB Berlin fulfils the function of the world’s leading think tank and a shop window for the travel industry. This is where the opportunities and risks are debated and the potential impact of the sharing economy on the international travel industry is analysed. Over the past few days ITB Berlin has provided further evidence of how important personal exchanges and meetings between people are for an industry that is increasingly dominated by the digital transition.“

Trends at ITB Berlin 2015 included the massive rise in the use of mobile devices to book trips, a phenomenon that has now become the norm. Improved software means that travel websites are becoming more attractive and easier to use. Hotels are also witnessing the impact of digital trends. Smartphone functions are increasingly taking over from room keys. Travel apps are developing rapidly and becoming evermore widespread with the use of latest-generation smartphones. At the eTravel World numerous experts debated the latest developments in digital marketing, social media and mobile travel services. The 40 per cent increase in papers and discussions held on the eTravel Stage and at the eTravel Lab showed how important these topics have become for the travel industry.

Despite the internet having brought about lasting change to the travel world with new travel apps and meta search engines, tourists continue to entrust the task of booking the time of the year they enjoy most with their local travel agency. With their ability to offer personal assistance travel agencies are quite capable of positioning themselves as important sales channels in the face of online travel portals and social media and their relentless rise.

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According to Messe Berlin all the main travel destinations will benefit from the prevailing positive mood: big European cities, Mediterranean countries and faraway destinations. A fact particularly worth noting is that Germany as a travel destination continues to break all records. The tourism market in Germany has grown for the fifth year in succession in every single federal State, and this positive trend is set to continue in 2015. For North Americans the cost of travelling to Germany has fallen to unprecedented low levels due to the strength of the dollar. Other popular destinations include Egypt and Greece. Whereas Egypt’s economic revival has been slow, Greece reported double-digit growth for the third year running and despite the controversy surrounding its national debt continues on the path to recovery.