BERLIN – One of the largest international travel trade fairs in the world opened on Wednesday in Germany, putting the spotlight on sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism.
With more than 180 contributing countries and around 110,000 professionals in attendance from the sector, the ITB Berlin opened its doors with a clear agenda: to address the effects of mass tourism on climate change, the ethical redistribution of wealth the industry generates and how to deal with so-called tourism-phobia.
ITB Berlin showcases once again that the analogical format of a trade fair can be more successful than ever in a digital world, the director of the event, Christian Göke said.
The event aimed to perceive and anticipate trends within the sector and inform changes in the format of the services and products that are offered, Göke continued.
Malaysia is the tourism partner for this year’s edition.
The fair, which organizers said generates around 7 billion euros ($7.9 billion), represents a sector that for many countries is a key industry.
The World Tourism Organization, a United Nations agency, last year registered 1.4 billion international travelers.
The travel industry generated $1.6 billion of global export revenues, the UN agency reported, a figure that is comparable to the revenues generated by the oil and automotive sectors.
Sustainability has become a key topic at the world renown trade fair, with a steady rise in products that focus on environmental tourism and the opportunity to join round-table discussions on the impact of mass tourism on the planet and, in particular, the effects of cruises, a booming sector, on the seas.
Another area that has grown significantly within the trade fair is technology.
This year the technology, tours and activities branch had grown by 20 percent, with an incubator for presenting digital applications that could enhance travel products and experiences.
Germany, one of the country’s with the largest output of travelers, had a significant presence which has been backed by the government.
The trade fair, which runs from March 6-10, has sparked a lot of media interest with around 5,000 journalists and 450 bloggers attending from 80 countries.