The opening ceremony of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show, will see celebrity guests from politics and tourism, a film featuring highlights from the exhibition’s 50 years and a colourful show hosted by this year’s partner country, the Maldives. The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, 8 March at 6 pm in the CityCube Berlin.
The Maldives’ sunshine, beaches and sea will be experienced by guests at the opening ceremony. The elaborate stage performances will provide an insight into the history, culture and way of life in the Maldives.
Around 4,000 guests can follow 50 years of ITB Berlin in a film that tells the story of the tourism trade show along with landmark events in the history of the international travel industry.
Among the well-wishers will be political figures such as Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller and Iris Gleicke, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, and Government Commissioner for the new Federal States, SMEs and Tourism. Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin, will greet the guests. ITB will also welcome members of the tourism industry, including Dr. Michael Frenzel, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW), and Taleb Rifai, General Secretary of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
ITB Berlin 2016 will take place from Wednesday to Sunday, 9 to 13 March. From Wednesday to Friday ITB Berlin is open to trade visitors only. Parallel with the show the ITB Berlin Convention, the largest event of its kind, will be held from Wednesday, 9 to Saturday, 12 March 2016.
Big names will be attending the world’s largest tourism convention. From 9 to 11 March 2016 around 400 leading experts and international entrepreneurs will be gathering at the ITB Berlin Convention to examine new trends and highlight best practices. For trade visitors at ITB Berlin admission to the international travel industry’s leading think tank is free.
During the convention, the ITB World Travel Monitor final results for the year, including the latest outlook for 2016, will be presented at the ITB Convention by Rolf Freitag, President of IPK International. Based on around 500,000 interviews, the ITB World Travel Monitor is considered the world’s largest travel survey. The convention presents the latest forecast data about worldwide and European travel — an essential basis for decision-making for the entire tourism industry.
Meanwhile, at ITB Berlin 2016 — and for the first time in Europe — a humanoid robot made by Toshiba will show a wider audience what the future of service in tourism could be like.
Following is a selection of what is on ITB’s agenda this year:
Travel industry focuses on refugee debate
For many months the refugee situation has been the focus of debate not only in politics, but in the travel industry as well. This year, a number of discussion rounds and lectures at the ITB Berlin Convention will examine the various aspects of this topic. Scientists and experts will provide in-depth accounts and tourism professionals will relate their practical experiences, for example of integrating refugees at the workplace. In Hall 4.1, where the focus is on responsible tourism, flight and migration will also be among the topics discussed.
ITB Berlin Convention: Travel 4.0 – the digital revolution
The digital transition has taken giant strides forward in the travel industry. Nowadays, a robot welcoming guests to a hotel with glasses of champagne is no longer pure fantasy. From 9 to 12 March, under the heading of “Travel 4.0 – the digitalization of the travel industry”, the convention will examine a number of topics, including virtual reality, the digital transition and the use of humanoid robots in the tourism industry. For trade visitors at the world’s largest travel trade show admission to the international travel industry’s leading think tank is free. Anyone unable to attend can follow the sessions of the ITB Future Day, ITB Hospitality Day and the ITB Marketing and Distribution Day via a live stream.
eTravel World: knowledge for tomorrow’s world
At ITB Berlin numerous topical themes and informative examples of best practices await visitors to this year’s eTravel World. From 9 to 12 March startups and established companies will be gathering in Hall 6.1 to present and debate innovations and new trends in digital marketing, social media and mobile travel services.
ITB Hospitality Day: Robots and innovations are changing the hotel industry
On Thursday, 10 March 2016 the special guest at the ITB Hospitality Day will be Mario, a robot who works in a hotel. Visitors to the ITB’s 11th hotel conference can witness him at the start of the event and briefly at every discussion round. On the subject of digitalization, the key topic at the ITB Berlin Convention, leading hotel experts will be discussing robots, hi-tech innovations and innovation labs. This is the first time a Chinese hotel group will be taking part. At Plateno Hotels, China’s largest hotel chain, “totally digital” has become part of everyday life. There will also be a meeting of two senior executives from Google and Booking.com. A futurist will be describing digital natives and three other experts will be discussing investment in hotel guests.
Ecological and social responsibility
Socially responsible tourism is a major topic at ITB Berlin. In addition to the ITB CSR Day at the ITB Berlin Convention and the National Geographic World Legacy Awards, numerous events on sustainable tourism will be taking place in Hall 4.1. From 9 to 11 March experts and exhibitors will be meeting in the Responsible Tourism and Adventure Hall for a unique symposium. Under the heading of a “Pow-Wow for Tourism Professionals”, topics dealing with responsible tourism, climate protection and sustainability will be examined. The slogan of the eleventh edition of this event is “Cherishing Earth’s water resources – The blue planet amidst water abundance and scarcity”.
Gay & Lesbian Travel: World’s biggest display at ITB Berlin
Large LGBT Pavilion features newcomers, the popular LGBT Media Networking Brunch, lectures and discussion rounds at ITB Berlin Convention on trips to established and emerging destinations in the Gay & Lesbian travel market. Also, TomOnTour’s Gay ITB Party will be held on March 9 and other local events. The LGBT Pavilion is in Hall 3.1b.
On Friday, 11 March, at the ITB Berlin Convention, day three of the ITB Destination Days will be addressing the topic of gay and lesbian travel. Taking as its heading “New challenges for established and emerging destinations in the Gay & Lesbian travel segment”, the focus will be on LGBT destinations which have already attained the limits of possible growth and are now embracing niche market products such as transgender marketing or trips rainbow families. On the other hand, there are many regions in the world where LGBT travellers are not yet welcome.
ITB MICE Day: Face-to-face vs. digital
Man versus machine: nowadays, virtual conferences and social media are increasingly replacing face-to-face meetings at events. On Wednesday, March 9, in Hall 7.1c at the ITB Berlin Convention the ITB MICE Day will be taking a close look at this development. Experts will be examining the forces driving innovation in the event industry and asking whether their arrival is causing a decline in face-to-face encounters. Admission is free for trade visitors at ITB Berlin and for members of VERANSTALTUNGSPLANER.DE.
Speed networking at ITB Berlin
ITB Berlin 2016 is organising two Speed Dating events that will give participants an opportunity to efficiently exchange information and quickly establish numerous new leads. Whereas the ITB Speed Networking event gathers buyers and exhibitors from around the world, the ITB Blogger Speed Dating is the place where bloggers from Germany and abroad can meet representatives of the global travel industry. Both events are free of charge. In order to take part prior registration is required.
YIG at ITB Berlin: the classic event for school trips and youth travel
At the German youth travel pavilion of Youth Incoming Germany (YIG) teachers can find out more about holiday camps, school trips and project excursions, and over the weekend parents and pupils can get first-hand information about school trips and holiday travel in Hall 4.1.
ITB Career Center
The world’s leading travel trade show is where to kickstart your career and the ITB Career Center in Hall 11.1 is the place to head for those in search of a job or starting a career in tourism or the hotel industry. Visitors can make direct contact with qualified personnel managers of leading tourism companies, look for jobs and find out more about professional training and advanced training opportunities in tourism. Big industry players such as the Emirates airline and Sixt car rentals will be represented with their own stand. Other exhibitors will be advertising themselves as prospective employers at the AHGZ & fvw Karrierewelt. This is where young professionals can make direct contact with Adina Hotel Operations GmbH, IST, Azure Hotels, Booking.com, Enterprise Rent Car, Expedia, DER Touristik and Accor Hospitality Germany GmbH.
ITB Grand Finale 2016
Together, visitors, exhibitors and guests will soon be celebrating the impressive grand finale of the 50th ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show, where musicians, singers and dancers from around the world will be performing modern and traditional works. This spectacular show is being organised by ITB Berlin in cooperation with the International Delphic Council, a global cultural organisation. Monika Eckert, the award-winning event and television presenter, will moderate the event. The grand finale of ITB Berlin will be taking place on 13 March in the Palais am Funkturm from 3.30 to 5 p.m. Admission is included in a ticket to ITB.