Opening Report - ITB Berlin 2010

Opening Report - ITB Berlin 2010

ITB Berlin is fully booked again. From 10 to 14 March 2010 more exhibitors than ever before will be presenting their products and services, which cover the entire added value chain of the international travel industry.

The 11,127 exhibiting companies (2009:11,098) from 187 countries occupy the whole of the Exhibition Grounds, comprising 26 halls and covering 160,000 square metres. “At a time of reduced marketing budgets the worldwide market leader ITB Berlin enjoys a clear competitive edge”, states Dr. Christian Göke, Chief Operating Officer of Messe Berlin. “We are proud to announce that the number of exhibitors has increased again. Moreover, with new sections and new exhibitors, ITB Berlin confirms its role as a trendsetter and opinion leader.”

A fresh impetus for the travel industry

At the start of the 44th ITB Berlin there are encouraging signs for the travel industry. As revealed by the figures supplied by the latest GfK Tourism Sales Panel, demand across Europe is recovering. Exhibitors are looking to the future and investing to make their presentations at the fair a success. South Africa, Egypt, Malaysia, England, Italy, the Balearics, Hamburg, Bremen and Singapore Airlines all have new stands this year in Berlin. Emirates has given its rotating sphere a completely new external facade, a new stand design that is making its world debut at ITB Berlin. Two storey stands are becoming more popular too: Malaysia has added another storey, the Dominican Republic is exhibiting on two floors, and Turkish Airlines, Rixos Hotels and the new exhibitor Harlequin Hotels, a luxury hotel group from the Caribbean, have also expanded upwards.

ITB Berlin as a pioneer: Mobile Travel Services

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The market for providers of mobile internet services is growing at a breath-taking pace and ITB Berlin is the first trade fair for the travel industry that is providing it with a separate platform. The “Mobile Travel Services” section in the exhibition area in Hall 7.1.c provides a compact overview, supplemented by information in the form of papers and presentations on a stage from, among others, Air Berlin, Avis Autovermietung, Deutsche Bahn, HRS, Microsoft Deutschland, Netbiscuits, TOURIAS Mobile and Sabre Holdings. Mobile services were in a very early stage of development only a few months ago but are now being presented as surprisingly tangible, clearly defined and user-ready products.

There is plenty to discover at ITB Berlin 2010, including advice about suitable strategies for creating one’s own mobile page and the technical details needed to adapt it for use with various terminals, as well as an integrated smartphone marketing campaign. Anyone who is interested in mobile internet applications should not confine themselves to Hall 7.1c. Travel Technology has traditionally been strongly represented at ITB Berlin, and this year major players such as Sabre are back again, this time joined by new exhibitors that include XClirion, Lute Tec, Hotel Net Solutions, Vertical Booking and Hotelreservierung.de.

Many of the suppliers at Travel Technology, including Sabre, Siemens and Anite, as well as travel IT and travel companies, are featuring B2B and B2C services. A compact overview is being presented for the first time this year by the new Travel Technology Guide 2010 by ITB Berlin. This can also be accessed on the internet at www.itb-berlin.com/library.

Added value for exhibitors and visitors: ITB Social Media Lounge

Tourism in Web 2.0 will without doubt be the subject of some of the most controversial trends to be discussed at this year’s fair. Initiated by FAKTOR 3, the ITB Berlin Social Media Lounge provides the impetus for the right online communication strategy in tourism. It has been created in collaboration with the Hamburg advertising agency FAKTOR 3 as a source of practical knowledge. Each day during the trade visitors’ days the programme will include some ten papers and discussions about various aspects of social media. Participation is free of charge. On the weekend, when the fair is also open to the public, ITB Berlin extends an invitation to find out more about its own social media programme.

Focus on the partner country Turkey

As one of the largest exhibitors, Turkey’s display in Hall 3.2 ranges from the traditional to the modern. Occupying some 3,000 square metres, it presents the cultural wealth, the wide range of tourism attractions, the diversity of the vacation regions and the culinary delights of this popular holiday destination. One of this year’s highlights is provided by Istanbul, and visitors to the Exhibition Grounds can experience something of the diversity and dynamism of the current European capital of culture. They will be able to see how the culture and art of Istanbul provide a spiritual and artistic bridge between the Orient and the Occident. Another fascinating aspect is a reproduction of the highly ornate gateway of the Divri?i Ulucami mosque. The oldest Islamic building in Anatolia, it was constructed in 1229 in the province of Sivas and has been declared part of the world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Visitors can admire another world cultural heritage site in Hall 10.2, with the traditional architecture of the Safranbolu houses.

See, smell, taste is the slogan in the world’s oldest shopping centre, “Kapalicarsi”. In the six typical shops visitors can experience, with all their senses, all the vitality of a bazaar.  And there is even more to experience, with the culinary specialities from all the regions of Turkey, which are being offered by the partner country in the SAHAN Restaurant adjoining Hall 3.2 and in two Turkish snack bars located between Halls 3.2 and 4.2.

On the days when the public are admitted audiences can thrill to the shows on the Turkey stand and on the large stage in Hall 4.1, where live Turkish music and the rhythms of the country’s folk traditions will be helping to create an authentic atmosphere.

Other new additions on the Exhibition Grounds

A second new section can be found in Hall 2.1 at ITB Berlin, featuring Gay and Lesbian Travel. The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association IGLTA from the USA, along with its members and independent exhibitors in this sector from Thailand and Argentina, will be exhibiting at the Gay & Lesbian Pavilion. A networking area featuring a photo display devoted to the city of Vienna will provide an ideal meeting place and discussion venue. The importance of this new section is underlined by an accompanying congress. On Friday, 12 March, the ITB Marketing and Distribution Day will be devoted to the requirements of this target group with a workshop entitled “Strategies for the expanding market of gay & lesbian tourism: lessons learned from the first movers”. The findings of an exclusive study of gay & lesbian tourism will also be presented.

In the new hall for “Central and Inner Asian Countries” (CIA) destinations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will be promoting their fascinating landscapes and cultural attractions.

For the first time ITB Berlin will also feature a closing show, in cooperation with the International Delphic Council. “The Festival of the Delphic Games – at the grand Closing Show of ITB Berlin 2010” on 14 March 2010, starting at 3 p.m. at the Palais am Funkturm, will present contemporary and traditional artists from Turkey, South Korea, Greece, Madagascar, then USA and Germany, with pulsating rhythms, fascinating sounds, exciting dancing and comedy too.

Expansion and new exhibitors

The airline industry is well represented this year at ITB Berlin. Garuda Indonesia is making its first appearance and has its own stand in Hall 26. Singapore Airlines has relocated and its stand can now be found in Hall 5.2. United Airlines is back, in the USA hall, 2.1. Fraport is again represented in the Hesse hall. Exhibiting for the first time here, in Hall 25, are the airlines Al Masira, German Sky Airlines (on the GTI stand) and Germania.

The boom in Asia shows no sign of letting up. A new region on show at ITB Berlin for the first time is Wuxi in China. There has been a considerable expansion by Indonesia and Thailand in Hall 26. Phuket has doubled its stand area and Koh Samui is also occupying a much larger display space. There are some new private sector exhibitors from Vietnam, including Ami Tourist, Footprint Vietnam Travel (also appearing at ITB Asia this year) and Fusion Management.

Many people are keen to visit the Indian display in Hall 5.2b. Once again Kerala has increased its display area, while the Rajasthan Tourism Board has a combined stand for the region for the first time, and the Indian adventure park “Kingdom of dreams” is making its world debut.

This year the African countries exhibiting in Hall 20/21 are also occupying the lobby area and the foyer. Among the newcomers are the African Travel Agencies’ Association Retosa (DRV Africa) and some new tour operators.

Adventure travel, in Hall 4.1, remains a very popular display at ITB Berlin. With exhibitors from more than 30 countries, including Australia, Canada, USA, and South Africa, as well as countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, North Africa and other parts of Africa, this section is more international than ever before. Trade visitors and the general public can gain insights into the various attractions offered by the providers of adventure and nature travel, with the emphasis on “Sustainable Travel”.

For the first time the Discover America Pavilion in Hall 2.1 will also include the Apache Spirit Ranch, the EOV Group, Myrtle Beach SC and Vantage Hospitality.

New exhibitors among the hotels include Langham Hotels in Hall 9 and Harlequin Hotels and Resorts in Hall 3.1.

Training and employment at ITB Berlin

The leading trade fair for the worldwide travel industry offers numerous job prospects for students and first-time employees with a tourism back-ground. “Training and Employment in Tourism” in Hall 5.1 presents offers from 73 exhibiting companies from 17 countries.

Well known tourism companies and institutes are providing details about study courses and advanced training opportunities. At the ITB Employment Exchange, powered by YOURCAREERGROUP, job-seekers can find out about positions on offer by consulting the vacancies board throughout the five days of the fair. For those in search of a job there is a unique opportunity to let the professionals from personnel departments in the tourism sector study their application folders. Following last year’s success the employment agency Agentur für Arbeit Suhl is attending once again with its ”MeerArbeit” (maritime job vacancies) project. Specialising in finding qualified personnel for cruise ships and shipping lines, this agency enables those seeking employment at sea to make contact with the main cruise providers during ITB Berlin.

Main themes of the ITB Berlin Convention

The ITB Berlin Convention is regarded as the leading think tank for the global travel industry. Attendance at the world’s largest tourism convention, which presents invaluable, up-to-date information in a concentrated form over a three-day period, is free of charge. In some 100 events it provides people in the industry with details about the inner workings of the financial crisis and of social changes. Over 200 outstanding speakers will be discussing trends, innovative strategies and vital issues. This year sees the launch of a new event, the ITB Global Future Summit. The speakers and panel guests will be Paul Flatters, Partner, trajectory – the futures partnership, Prof. Dr. Claudia Kemfert, Departmental Director for Energy, Transport, Environment, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), Hertie School of Governance, Dr. Reiner Klingholz, Director, Berlin Institute for Population and Development, Patrick Schönemann, Geo Sales Manager DACH & Nordics, Google Enterprise.

The leading trade fair for the worldwide travel industry is introducing an ITB Marketing und Distribution Day for the first time as an opportunity to host in-depth discussions about the far-reaching changes taking place in the way that people make reservations, and their changing information requirements. In the series of discussions about “Individualised Package Tours” experts will reveal that the much quoted paradigm shift to “longtail offers” is already taking place. The internet as a medium will also be scrutinised in order to find attractive niche markets and to tailor discussions with customers in order to meet individual requirements.

The future of customer acquisition and securing customer loyalty will be dealt with under the heading of “Web 2.0 und Social Media” and in the section on mobile travel solutions for business and leisure travellers. The final item on the agenda, “ITB Tourism and Climate Panel”, will investigate the subjects of climate protection and ecology as the main challenges of this century.

On the Thursday the ITB Hospitality Day will address a number of issues including the question of how hotels should revise their offers in view of climate change. Among the speakers on the panel of CEOs will be top executives from leading hotel chains, who will be talking about the market and their own strategies for survival.

In the context of CSR the subjects being covered at ITB Berlin are extremely topical. This is evident from the range of fascinating papers dealing with “CSR in Tourism” in Halls 4.1 and 5.1 and at the ICC Berlin, and from the involvement of the world’s leading travel trade fair in the ITB Berlin Convention, with the CRS Day on the Thursday. Various aspects of climate change and sustainable tourism will be dealt with in more than twenty separate events. All the events are listed in a printed programme which is available at all the information counters on the Exhibition Grounds.

The first Media Summit at ITB Berlin on 12 March will be attended by prominent representatives of the media, politics and the travel industry, who will be discussing many questions surrounding the future of tourism media: How will the travellers of the future obtain their information? Are the traditional media losing their importance as news providers? What will the future bring for travel journalists? Wolfgang Clement, former Federal Minister of Economics and Labour and, as a trained journalist, for many years the editor in chief of various daily newspapers, will provide the keynote address. The discussions will be chaired by the Berlin media correspondent Hajo Schumacher and those taking part are: Romanus Otte, General Manager Welt Online, Michael Ramstetter, Editor in Chief of ADAC Motorwelt and of the ADAC Travel Magazine as well as Head of Public Relations for ADAC e.V. , Tobias Jüngert, Director of Corporate Communications for REWE Touristik GmbH, and Benjamin Jost, General Manager of TrustYou.