ITB Berlin, billed as a reliable indicator of global travel industry sentiment, registered 5% year-on-year increase in business volume, reflecting that the international travel industry is in good health and upbeat, and may see a record year this year.
The buoyant mood in the industry was said to be a result of having the most positive economic climate in the Eurozone since the turn of the millennium. “The consistent forecasts of sustained global economic growth for the next two years contributed to the positive mood among exhibitors and visitors these past few days,” said Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH. “Against the backdrop of a booming economy, record low employment and good wage settlements, more and more consumers are willing to spend money,” he said, adding that the strong euro will make holidaying outside the eurozone noticeably cheaper.
He cautioned there would still be challenges ahead. “The digital transformation of the entire industry continues to affect every company and provider. Other issues such as the need for greater security on travel, the increasingly controversial phenomenon of overtourism, and the globally changing face of travel brought about by companies such as Airbnb are decisively influencing the social discourse on the future of tourism.” The issues were explored in the concurrent ITB Berlin Convention this year.
The five-day exhibition from March 7-11, 2018 on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds was attended by around 110,000 trade visitors from Germany and abroad. More than 10,000 companies and organisations from 186 countries and regions exhibited their products to visitors in 26 halls in the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.
The contingent of Chinese exhibitors had expanded noticeably. Ctrip, Asia’s largest OTA with the second biggest global market value, displayed its products at ITB Berlin for the first time. Among traditional DMOs, hotels, airlines and destinations and attractions, emerging travel technology companies like Ctrip, iGola, Mioji, PKFARE, HaoQiao, Dida Travel, Shiji Information, DerbySoft, Flightroutes24 and Qyer also participated in the exhibition, indicating the innovative capabilities of Chinese enterprises.
Two new formats celebrated their debut in Berlin, reflecting strong growth in the Luxury Travel segment. With the new Loop Lounge @ ITB, organised in collaboration with Loop, the trade show for luxury products, ITB Berlin had created a new platform for networking in an exclusive atmosphere with a select group of exhibitors. The first ITB Luxury Late Night show provided an opportunity for visitors to network.
Currently, luxury travel accounts for 7% of the market and annual growth is in double-digit figures. David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin, said: “Luxury travel is booming. With our innovative formats, we are responding to this welcome development. With this initiative, we are also establishing ourselves in a role that devotes even more attention to this growth market and are showcasing this trend on the exhibition grounds.”
For the third year running, ITB Berlin organised the ITB Chinese Night, where visitors were able to find out more about the Chinese travel market, exchange views and establish new contacts. The event was held in collaboration with Jin Jiang International and Ctrip, and was attended by around 300 representatives of the travel industry.
Potential exhibitors also received information about ITB CHINA 2018 through the Chinese-focused trade show’s preview event at ITB Berlin. ITB CHINA is scheduled to take place on May 16-18 for the second time in Shanghai.
For the ITB Berlin Convention, the global travel industry’s leading think tank which hosted around 150 sessions featuring over 300 outstanding speakers, the event was also a success. Messe Berlin had been able to secure Zambia as the Convention & Culture Partner. Other partners of the ITB Berlin Convention included the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) in the role of co-host, Ctrip.com International, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Ministry for Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey.
Ctrip CEO Jane Sun delivered a keynote speech at ITB Berlin titled “Travel: A Gateway to Global Peace and Prosperity”. She talked about the social responsibilities of tourism companies in promoting economic development, environmental protection and cultural exchange, and had an interview with Philip Wolf, founder of Phocuswright.
As a joint-venture partner of ITB CHINA, TravelDaily China was invited to host two conference sessions at ITB Berlin. Senior executives from Ctrip, Louvre Hotels, Maritim Hotels Group, iGola, Mioji, Shiji Information, Tujia.com, Klook and Ocean Link shared their insights on topics such as China's tourism marketing, tourism investment and entrepreneurship with ITB visitors. The two sessions had attracted about 500 participants in the industry.
Meet us at ITB CHINA on May 16 -18 in Shanghai!
For more information, please visit www.itb-china.com.