|Take the world on by foot.|
Wednesday, 6th March 2013
Source : Roland Wildberg ~ Exclusive from ITB Berlin 2013
German Chancellor Angela Merkel recommends: 80 minutes of ITB are much better than around the world in 80 days.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had even a cool spell in stock at the end: "Around the world in 80 days is passé. In 80 minutes at the ITB you can manage it also."
In fact, the politician has judged the thing correctly: a pedestrian may cross 26 huge fair halls in that short period of time – if you take a rush.
But that would be a shame, finally, for there is much to see around the world. And the latter is almost completely this year: 10,086 exhibitors from 188 countries are gathered to give anything in five days. 160,000 Square meters, converted more than 22 pitches, are covered with stands of hotel companies, airlines, railway lines, tour operators, tourism offices and many specialists of the IT developer up to the cruise line. The ITB is fully booked.
The Conference program, which has its 10th anniversary this year is not less extensive and varied. The latest trend and developments are illuminated and debated on many lectures, presentations, and panel discussions.
In focus are of course especially mobile booking, social media and Shareconomy, the Buzzword means the new willingness of people to share with each other: even the own housing which is then rented on new platforms to travellers.
A trend of the ITB faces East: Asia tourism is wildly growing. Countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and China have increased their booths this year.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel during ITB opening ceremony
The partner country of ITB 2013, Indonesia, has only 120 exhibitors. India has also booked more space and covers almost two complete halls. For Indonesia, Chancellor Merkel had another good news: She suggested to extend the economic relations between Europe and the ASEAN countries into a free trade agreement.
While the number of fair exhibitors compared to the previous year shrunk by almost 550, the fair company on the contrary speaks of a demand, "stronger than ever". "The booths are bigger than before," said fair Executive Director Christian Göke at the opening press conference. His company is anticipating about 160,000 visitors; this will be another little dump in numbers: 2012, it were 172,000.
Anyway: Worldwide, tourism is hip. According to World Tourism Organization (WTO) 2012 there were 1.035 billion guest arrivals, which is an increase of 3.8 percent compared to the year before. For 2013 will be again an increase of three to four percent expected. For Europe alone, at least by two to three percent.
This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
Roland Wildberg is Travel Writer and Correspondent based in Berlin, Germany. He started as an Editor for the National daily 'Die Welt' (tourism section), later on switched to a freelanced career and nowadays mainly publishes on the Web. Observing the hospitality industry always has fascinated him as it looks like the perfect combination of sleeping and writing – work-live-balance as its best.
Roland also heads the annual 4Hoteliers ITB Berlin news micro-site journalist and video/photo teams for the 5th consecutive year.