If you have yet to make arrangements to attend the International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin, which runs from 11 to 15 March on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and in the ICC Berlin, the chances are you’ll be staying home.
Airline seats and hotel rooms have been fully booked for weeks. Visitors are anxious to see if the fair will fit the role as the stimulus for the international tourism industry.
Slated as travel and tourism’s world fair, again this year the fair is expected to provide clear indicators about the future of the industry. Experts are forecasting that the ITB Berlin 2005 will give an added impetus to summer business and encourage planning for a successful year’s trading in 2005.
“Once again it will be demonstrating the effectiveness of the formula that has made the ITB Berlin so successful, and which consists of bringing together worldwide supply and demand,” says the fair’s project manager, David Ruetz.
The ITB Berlin 2005 is expected to attract some 10,000 exhibitors from around 180 countries and territories, who will be displaying their tourism attractions on an area of 150,000 square meters (overall).
Mr Ruetz says that “ITB Berlin provides an accurate reflection of a business that operates on a worldwide scale. Its value as the world’s leading market place for tourism is as high as ever.” Besides business opportunities, ITB boasts the following special events.
ITB Berlin 2005 will provide its trade visitors with a Forum that meets the needs of specific target groups, for discussions about the ongoing development of the market. The emphasis is on leading sectors of the international tourism industry: this year the ITB Berlin is taking a closer look at a particularly important area with an event entitled Business Travel@ITB Berlin. The Business Travel Days will take place from Sunday, 13 March, to Tuesday, 15 March.
Cultural Tourism was identified as the most popular section among trade visitors at last year’s ITB. And this is not surprising in view of the growing numbers of people for whom culture is the focal point of their holidays and short trips, and whose holiday decisions are based on the availability of cultural attractions.
The Forum Wellness is a response to the global trend for a greater awareness of well-being and health. When this section of the ITB made its debut last year its aim was to cast some light on the increasingly complex field of wellness.
The ITB Book World is now established as the leading forum for (online) travel guides, travel books and maps. This section provides visitors with a concentrated range of travel literature in an ideal tourism setting.
Cruises continue to make a significant contribution to the commercial success of the tourism sector. The section of the ITB devoted to Cruises is a compact business platform that presents the increasingly varied range offered by this expanding market.
ITB Travel Technology has become a popular meeting place for the experts in areas such as global distribution systems, tour operators’ databases, reservation systems, technological solutions, travel agency software, ticket consolidators and calculation programs.
Trends & Events in Hall 1.1 is a new addition. The ITB Berlin’s communication platform for young people brings some of the latest trends together under one roof for the first time: the Youth Travel Centre, Experience Adventure and ECOtourism. Also being featured for the first time are sections on “Travel for All” with the providers of travel for the disabled, and “Gay Travel”.
In addition to its various specialist sections the layout of the halls on a geographical basis also provides greater clarity at the ITB Berlin and assists visitors on their “world tour” around the halls. As the organizer of the ITB, this is the response by Messe Berlin to the requirements of exhibitors and the needs of the market.