As the world's marketplace and the trendsetter of the global travel industry ITB Berlin once again impressively underlined its standing as the World's Leading Travel Trade Show. The conclusion one can draw from the five-day exhibition is this: face-to-face meetings between business partners from around the world have become increasingly important, especially at a time of uncertainty and geopolitical challenges.
One of the trends which have taken hold everywhere in the travel industry was evident in each of the 26 display halls: the digital transition has taken over the business of selling tourism at breathtaking speed.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand's stand at ITB Berlin 2017
All international organisations dealing with tourism - UNWTO, WTTC or PATA - agree on one fact when looking at Asia. The continent definitely drove internatinal tourism growth across the globe in 2016 and it should still be the driving force for the tourism indusrty in 2017. According to PATA forecasts released in early March, Asia recorder 433.3 million international arrivals last year, a growth of 3.2%.
Botswana was under spotlight this year at ITB Berlin as the official Partner Country, and the tourism professionals claim that this event has further highlighted the dedication Botswana has to ensuring that tourism and conservation are on the world stage. Botswana, the partner country of ITB, is considered a world leader in nature conservation. Three factors have contributed to its success: zero tolerance regarding corruption, the involvement of local communities and increased support for them in nature reserves, and a committed fight against illegal trade in wildlife and mismanagement of natural resources.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) presented at ITB Berlin for the first time the 'LINK' project, a unique marketing concept designed to link 10 TAT offices abroad with 10 provinces and local communities, deemed to be ready to host visitors. TAT, in general is developing a wide range of taior-made quality products emphasising "unique thai local experiences".
With a wide pool of source markets and infrastructure upgrades, Sri Lanka welcomes more an more visitors, and according to Sri Lanka;s Minister of Tourism Development,Lands and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga, today's Sri Lanka is a safe heaven for tourists.
Malaysia is seeing a rebound in tourism after some rocky times in 2015, and appears to be back on track for the nation's announced goals for the year 2020. YB Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia, said that this year's target is to reach 31.8 million tourist arrivals and RM 118 billion in tourist receipts.
Pictured is Mr Richard Singer, President Travelzoo EuropeClose. At the event "Travel Safety: Fears and Counter-Reactions of Global Tourists", of the more than 6,000 people from nine countries who were questioned, 97 per cent stated that safety was a consideration when making a travel decision. This also applies when they have already booked a journey and have been disconcerted by the latest news. For the study into Safety & Security that was commissioned jointly with ITB Berlin, the world market leader Travelzoo collaborated with a leading British tourism university to evaluate the findings by Norstat Research.
The Chinese tourism market has been growing reapidly in recent years. The growing middle class in China is increasingly seeking travel experience and leisure activites both within China and abroad. Therefore, Chinese travel companies, tour operators, hotel groups and theme parks have recorded impressive financial gains in the last years.
The Maldives archipelago enjoyed an excellent year in 2016 - with total foreign arrivals progressing by 4.2% to reach a total of 1.29 million. Asia-Pacific and Europe are standing side by side in terms of total arrivals for Maldives.
ITB World Legacy Awards 2017: Together with Dr. Taleb Rifai, Sectretary General of the UNWTO, Costas Christ, Editor in Chief of the National Geographic Traveler, called for travel to be recognized as a human right. In his welcoming address Rifai made a passionate appeal to use tourism in order to build bridges and bring people closer together. Building walls and refusing entry are the wrong approach, said Taleb Rifai. "Walls create tension, and tension leads to more insecurity, not greater security", Rifai stated.
The South Korean medical tourism market is likely to reach nearly $2 billion by the end of 2022 growing at an annual rate of around 15% from 2017. Market growth can be attributed tyo factors such as technologically advanced treatures and medical procedures, pioneering work in cosmetic surgery and dentistry, excellent medical practitioners, medical facilities, affordable medical costs and strong goverment support and initiatives.
In order to fully grasp the global opportunity, Jin Jiang International, as a sponsor, fully supported the ITB "China Night" theme activities, inviting industry partners, suppliers, experts representatives to jointly discuss about the international tourism cooperation. "Jin Jiang has an old business model, but at the same time it is also a young company. In terms of the number of hotels, Jin Jiang has been ranking the first in China and Asia and the fifth in the world." Chen Liming, Vice President of Jin Jiang International said in ITB Berlin, "Jin Jiang will continue to invest our resources to encourage Chinese travelers to travel overseas, especially to Europe." This compelling commitment made foreign tourism companies really excited.
IIPT India successfully concluded the 2nd Celebrating Her awards on 8th March, International Women's Day, conferring awards on five exceptional women from across the world. Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General UNWTO, delivered the keynote address and gave away the awards to five outstanding tourism professionals from across the world. Organized in association with UNWTO and ITB Berlin, IIPT India's Celebrating Her awards have now become an important calendar event at ITB Berlin.