ITB Berlin Convention 2014: focus on diversity

ITB Berlin Convention 2014: focus on diversity

Breaking Travel News reporting live from ITB Berlin 2014

The ITB Berlin Convention will be underlining its role as the leading think tank of the international travel industry with a wide and fascinating range of topics. From 5 to 8 March 2014 leading international experts and tourism professionals will be gathering to discuss the future of the travel industry. This year Malaysia, the Convention & Culture Partner, will be making a special contribution. The Hon. Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri bin Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, the Malaysian Minister of Tourism and Culture, will be opening the ITB Berlin Convention. For trade visitors and exhibitors admission to the ITB Berlin Convention is free of charge.

On 7 March the ITB CSR Day will again be addressing the key topics of sustainable tourism and social responsibility. The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is sponsoring the event, which is organised by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). The world’s leading travel trade show will also be setting the tone with a focus on human rights in tourism. Furthermore, at the ITB CSR Day ITB Berlin will sign an agreement committing to support human rights in tourism and will also hold a round table on the subject. A discussion round including Dr. Christian Baumgartner, general secretary of Naturfreunde Internationale, Hiran Cooray, managing director of Jetwing Hotels, and Tom Koenigs, a member of the German Bundestag and chairman of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, will be examining problems, causes and practical recommendations. Afterwards, Matthias Leisinger, head of Corporate Responsibility at Kuoni Travel Holding and Antje Monshausen of the German offices of the Round table on Human Rights in Tourism will be discussing the observation of human rights and the opportunities and challenges facing companies. For the first time a management concept has been laid out that advises tour operators on how to address the issue of human rights. A new guide will provide companies with practical tips to assist its implementation.

At this year’s Studiosus discussion the topic will be ’Supporting tourism projects – is it all just greenwashing?’ Taking this statement as its premise the discussion will outline the various approaches to supporting tourism projects. Dr. Ines Carstensen, managing director of Futouris e.V., Barbara Glanz, general manager of Central Europe Intrepid Group, Dr. Nicole Maldonado Pyschny, deputy head of Economic Policies and Finances at the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and Dr. Christine Plüss, managing director of the working group tourismus & entwicklung Basel will be debating how effective supporting projects is in realising human rights in tourism both now and in the future.

Jenny Rushmore, director of Responsible Travel Tripadvisor, and Deirdre Shurland, senior consultant, UNEP Tourism & Environment Programme will be discussing how marketing heads can successfully communicate the idea of sustainable tourism in exciting ways. Tripadvisor’s Green Leaders Programme will be evaluating the comments on sustainable practices found on customer review platforms and presenting its findings at the ITB Berlin Convention. Glamping represents a niche market with promising growth prospects. Marco Walter, managing director of Ecocamping e.V. will be discussing whether luxurious rental accommodation at camping sites poses a threat to the hotel industry and how glamping and sustainable tourism can go together. Cruise tour operators have come under fire as regards their approach to sustainable tourism. In an interview Thomas P. Illes, a cruise market analyst, university lecturer and journalist, and Dr. Henning Brauer, principal consultant, DNV GL, and former head of Neubau Europa 2, Hapag Lloyd Kreuzfahrten, will be talking about new technologies and how effective they are.

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The ITB Destination Day will also be addressing the topic of human rights. As part of the discussion round on ’Illegal trafficking and tourism – the anti-trafficking campaign of UNWTO, UNODC and UNESCO“ experts will be talking about efforts to urge responsible behaviour among tourists. The members of a panel taking place on day two of the ITB Destination Days will be discussing the prospects for sustainable tourism in the Arab countries. H.E. Sheikha Mai Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Michael Frese, managing director of DER Touristik GmbH and Samih Sawiris, chairman of Orascom HD, will be discussing future developments at tourism destinations in the Arab countries and whether the results will meet the needs of European source markets. Furthermore, Loveleen Tandan, the award-winning director (8 Oscars, 4 Golden Globes) of Slumdog Millionaire, will be holding a keynote speech on ’dark tourism’ in slum areas, war zones and extreme regions.

On 5 March in Hall 7.1c, taking as its slogan ’Cult of Context’, [email protected] will be discussing the possibilities for targeting today’s customers on an individual basis. Nowadays, holidaymakers expect tailored products rather than standard solutions. At a discussion on holiday tours and activities Johannes Reck, CEO of GetYourGuide, and Brad Weber, CEO & president of Gray Line Worldwide, will be talking about how to make the relevant choices and about innovative online marketing. Nicolas Brusson, co-founder & COO of BlaBlaCar, promises to shake up the market for car sharing agencies. As a pioneer in the European market she will be talking about the future of mobility in the economy of the future. At a discussion round on the market’s up-and-coming startups and innovative technologies Kevin May, co-founder and editor of Tnnoz, and Roman Roulleau, senior vice president of E-Commerce Accor, will be among those taking a look at the future. Rod Cuthbert, CEO of Rome2rio, will be examining the European trend towards multimodal travel. His search method looks for services offering a range of transport products. At the panel debate on ’Big Data, Big Dreams – a very personal offer’ tourism managers from various parts of the industry will be discussing the use of technology and business intelligence to target relevant services. Douglas Quinby, vice president of Research at PhoCusWright will be offering an insight into the desires and needs of Chinese travellers and thus providing valuable tips on how to better understand this increasingly important and lucrative tourism market. Concluding [email protected] will be Malte Siewert, managing director of Trivago, with a discussion on the topic of ’Hotel Meta in Europe and the world: what does the future hold?’.