Em­pha­sis on rev­o­lu­tion­ary ways of travel

This year, ITB Berlin will wit­ness Mid­dle East oc­cu­py­ing 3200 square me­ter in to­tal space, with Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah tourism au­thor­i­ties hav­ing ex­panded their booths. David Ruetz, Head of ITB Berlin, tells about the vast line-up at the five-day lo

TravTalk - Middle East - - INTERVIEW - SHE­HARA RI­ZLY

Q Can you us give a brief about what’s new at ITB Berlin 2018?

The Baltic Sea coast is the first fed­eral state to oc­cupy the role as part­ner re­gion of ITB Berlin. For the first time in the his­tory of ITB, the open­ing cer­e­mony on the eve of the show will leave a zero car­bon foot­print, thereby set­ting an im­por­tant ex­am­ple for the fu­ture. Lux­ury travel is an im­por­tant fo­cus area this year. The gen­eral at­ti­tude to­wards this mar­ket is chang­ing. These chal­lenges, as well as the op­por­tu­ni­ties, con­cern the in­dus­try and will be key top­ics at ITB Berlin. To­gether with a net­work of ex­clu­sive ex­hibitors, Loop, a unique trade show for lux­ury prod­ucts, will be the place for buy­ers of lux­ury prod­ucts. The first ITB Lux­ury Late Night will rep­re­sent an op­por­tu­nity for vis­i­tors to cul­ti­vate con­tacts in this in­dus­try seg­ment, thereby en­abling providers to dis­cuss top­ics at length with lead­ing buy­ers from the lux­ury travel mar­ket. The eTravel Startup Day will also be held for the first time, pro­vid­ing newly formed com­pa­nies with a plat­form, as well as the Spe­cial Hos­pi­tal­ity Tech Fo­rum as a new fea­ture at the eTravel Lab. Q How im­por­tant is the Mid­dle East for this year’s event? How many have con­firmed their par­tic­i­pa­tion from this re­gion?

The ME coun­tries play a very im­por­tant role as a fast-grow­ing tourism des­ti­na­tion. Ex­hibitors from UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Jor­dan and Le­banon will be show­cas­ing many prod­ucts and ser­vices on their stands which al­to­gether now oc­cupy 3,200 sqm in to­tal. We have reg­is­tered a very strong growth from Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah who have ex­panded their booth spa­ces this year and are cer­tain to de­light the vis­i­tors with their stands. Q Who are the new par­tic­i­pants this year?

Af­ter a pe­riod of ab­sence, Belize, Guayana, Turcs and Caicosin Is­lands as well French Guayana will be back this year. C-Trip, one of the big­gest on­line travel agen­cies in China, will also be ex­hibit­ing for the first time. Q What are the key ar­eas of fo­cus this year?

ITB Berlin 2018 will lay spe­cial em­pha­sis on rev­o­lu­tion­ary ways of trav­el­ling in the fu­ture such as driver­less cabs and hy­per­loops, set to com­pletely change the face of trans­port. In ad­di­tion, we will take a close look at dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence and their po­ten­tial im­pact on travel in the fu­ture. An­other topic which the con­ven­tion will fo­cus on is over­tourism. In re­cent times, rapid growth in tourism has be­gun to stretch ac­com­mo­da­tion and hos­pi­tal­ity lim­its, par­tic­u­larly in ma­jor cities. As a re­sult, the in­dus­try needs to find so­lu­tions for the fu­ture and min­imise the ef­fects on the en­vi­ron­ment. Q Do share the dates, venue and tim­ings for B2B for this year.

ITB Berlin, set to be held from March 7-11, should be marked in the cal­en­dar of ev­ery pro­fes­sional in the travel in­dus­try. More than 169,000 vis­i­tors are ex­pected to at­tend the event, in­clud­ing the best 1,000 buy­ers, some 109,000 trade vis­i­tors and 10,000 ex­hibitors from all over the world. The ex­hi­bi­tion is also open to the pub­lic from March 10-11. Don’t miss out ITB China in Shang­hai in May, if you want to reach hun­dreds of ITB-qual­i­fied Chi­nese buy­ers.

To­gether with a net­work of ex­clu­sive ex­hibitors, Loop, a unique trade show for lux­ury prod­ucts, will be the place for buy­ers of lux­ury prod­ucts. The first ITB Lux­ury Late Night will rep­re­sent an op­por­tu­nity for vis­i­tors to cul­ti­vate con­tacts in this in­dus­try seg­ment. David Ruetz Head of ITB Berlin

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