The outlook is exceptionally good for ITB Berlin as final preparations are under way for an event which between 5 and 9 March will be taking place for the forty-eighth time. Overall, Messe Berlin expects around 10,000 exhibiting companies and organisations from more than 180 countries to be present in the 26 halls on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.
The focus is on Mexico, the partner country of ITB Berlin, which is organising the opening ceremony of the show. Furthermore, all of this country’s regions will be presenting their wide range of products and services to trade visitors and the general public in Hall 1.1. The partner country of ITB will also be represented in the Gay & Lesbian Travel section in Hall 3.1. “Compared with last year the number of bookings at ITB Berlin 2014 has remained consistently high.
The majority of the halls are already booked up and there are now waiting lists. One noticeable trend is that exhibitors are booking larger stands. This demonstrates that the world’s largest travel trade show is a reliable economic indicator which accurately mirrors the industry’s developments. This year it will once again unite supply and demand from around the world and send out an important message for the future. The ITB Berlin Convention’s agenda features up-to-the-minute and forward-looking themes and leading experts will be taking part in the debate”, said Dr. Martin Buck, vice-president of Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin.
There has been particularly high demand for places at the world’s leading travel show from countries in Asia and the Arab world. As in previous years Germany’s federal States are all represented at the show. Travel Technology has expanded significantly. Due to the high number of bookings (about 30 new exhibitors will be represented at ITB Berlin 2014) this fast-growing segment with its focus on up-to-the-minute topics will now also occupy Hall 5.1.
Growth in floor space and exhibitors returning to the show reflect the tourism industry’s dynamic developments
India, Asia and the Arab countries, whose tourism industries are all booming, will be represented in large numbers at ITB Berlin. Occupying Hall 22, the Arab countries will be just as strongly represented as last year. Muriya Tourism Development from Oman is a newcomer to the event and the stand of Dubai has increased by 56 square metres. A waiting list exists for Hall 5.2a, where countries from Southeast Asia and the Pacific are represented. Nepal and Bhutan will require larger display areas. Hall 5.2b, occupied by India, is also booked up. For the first time the three Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal will be represented with their own stand. The exhibitors in the Asia Hall will be more diverse than in previous years, as many hotels and holiday resorts are no longer in the sections of their relevant regions and instead will be hosting their own displays.
In Hall 26 (Far East and Southeast Asia) more than a dozen exhibitors new to ITB will be presenting their products. They include G Charlton Hotels and Resorts from Vietnam as well as numerous other tour operators, among them Asia Aventura, Luxury Travel, Travel Indochina, Trails of Indochina, Wide Eyed Tours and Terraverde. Thailand’s region Prachuap Khiri Khan will be represented for the first time, as will YTL Hotels from Malaysia, one of Asia’s largest hotel chains. Meritus Hotels and Resorts from Singapore and Best Western from Thailand are also newcomers to ITB. Waiting lists have been drawn up for Halls 26a and 26b and Hall 26c is almost booked up. Hong Kong and Macao have moved to Hall 26a. Exhibitors from Vietnam hosting individual displays have all moved to Hall 26c. The stands have grown by 100 square metres, an increase of 50 per cent, as has the stand of the Philippines in Hall 26a. In Hall 26c the Business Point, a lounge with free wi-fi access, represents a new service by ITB. From Wednesday to Friday buyers, trade visitors and exhibitors can meet here, away from the bustle of the show.
Bookings remain high for Halls 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.2 and 4.2, where exhibitors from Europe can be found. Newcomers include the city of Bilbao, on a display covering 248 square metres, as well as Alltours. Returning to the show is Spain’s railway network operator RENFE, as is Gibraltar, after an absence of 22 years. Hall 7.2b is a completely new, smaller venue for European exhibitors, where the Slovak Republic, Czech-Tourism and Romania can be found. Hall 3.1, which hosts the Americas and the Caribbean, welcomes first-time exhibitors such as Latin America Travel, as well as countries returning to ITB Berlin, such as Haiti. This hall is where Gay & Lesbian Travel can be found, which has moved from Hall 2.1.
Segments and events – a barometer for new trends
Training & Employment in Tourism, which following a reorganisation has moved to Hall 11.1, is fully booked up. First-time exhibitors as well as several who are back at ITB Berlin can also be found here. They include F+U Unternehmensgruppe, University of Bologna - Rimini Campus, ÖHV-Trainee Tourismuskolleg Semmering and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Tourismuswissenschaft (DGT).
In Hall 4.1 the focus is on Youth Travel, Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism. 25 nations are represented in this hall, some are newcomers as the Agency of Protected Areas from Georgia, the Ministry of Nature Protection from the Republic of Armenia, ExploRussia and Xtremedesert.com from Dubai. Once again, socially responsible tourism is a key topic at ITB Berlin 2014, and not only at the ITB Convention.
On Saturday, 8 March the new Adventure Day for campers, hikers and globetrotters promises a programme of exciting events. Visitors can take to lofty heights on a high ropes course, explore caves, see an exhibition featuring artefacts from the past and try their hand at crafts in an experimental workshop.
2014 marks the third year that [email protected] is taking place. Events include the Danube Forum on Friday, 7 March, which will be taking place at the ITB Berlin Convention, as well as guided tours on the days for trade visitors, and a quiz about the Danube on the Open Days for the Public.
In collaboration with UNWTO the focus is once again on the countries on the Silk Road, with the Silk Road Ministers‘ Meeting taking place on Wednesday, 5 March 2014.