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ITB Berlin 2012: Driving force for new trends and established industry meeting place

The countdown to the 46th ITB Berlin, which takes place from 7 to 11 March 2012, has begun. Many of the halls at the world’s leading travel trade show are already booked up. Overall, Messe Berlin expects around 11,000 exhibiting companies and organisations from more than 180 countries to be present in the 26 halls on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds…

The countdown to the 46th ITB Berlin, which takes place from 7 to 11 March 2012, has begun. Many of the halls at the world’s leading travel trade show are already booked up. Overall, Messe Berlin expects around 11,000 exhibiting companies and organisations from more than 180 countries to be present in the 26 halls on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.

David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin: “Bookings are level with last year’s figures, once again confirming ITB Berlin’s role as the travel industry’s leading international platform. Furthermore, ITB Berlin 2012 is living up to its reputation as the travel industry’s driving force. The ITB Berlin Convention’s agenda features up-to-the-minute and forward-looking themes and leading experts will be taking part in the debate. Among the topics will be cruises and tourism market developments in the Arab states.”

The focus is on the partner country Egypt which will be organising the opening ceremony on the eve of ITB Berlin. During the fair all of Egypt’s local regions will be presenting their wide range of products and services to trade visitors and the general public in Hall 23a.

Newcomers and returning exhibitors mirror the changing travel market
More exhibitors from the Far East and Southeast Asia will be at ITB Berlin than ever before. Indonesia, a booming tourism region, is making its way onto the market and Vietnam will also be strongly represented. Exhibitor numbers from China and Mongolia have grown significantly too, with nearly two dozen newcomers taking part. This trend is reflected by the fact that Hall 26 is now completely booked up, as is Hall 5.2a, which will mainly feature exhibitors from Southeast Asia and Australia. India (Hall 5.2b) will be occupying additional display areas in Hall 5.2a. New hotels from Rajasthan and Kerala will be exhibiting their products and services. The number of individual exhibitors from Bhutan has risen considerably too. Exhibitor numbers from Central Asia (Hall 7.2b) are also very high, due to the return of Bangladesh, absent from ITB Berlin since 2007, and to a rise in individual exhibitors from Uzbekistan.

Halls 20 and 21, where Africa is exhibiting, will also witness newcomers and the return of several countries. For example, the Republic of Cote d/Ivoire is back at ITB Berlin, as is Chad, which will be exhibiting in Hall 21, the first time since 1999. The Democratic Republic of Congo is also back at ITB Berlin. Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya will all be occupying larger stands. Reunion’s is expanding by 50 per cent.

Hall 25 will see numerous new arrivals. After several years’ absence Deutsche Lufthansa will be back at the show. Among those exhibiting for first time will be cruise tour operators such as Passat Kreuzfahrten, TUI-Flussgenuss, Hapag-Loyd and Plantours. Software providers will be debuting in this section, including Tripadvisor, Unister, Mystifly, Air Fast Tickets, Expedia, Travel Guru (India), Booking Markets and z-direct.

The USA will be occupying a larger stand in Hall 2.1, as will several countries from Central America: Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras (Hall 3.1). Short-haul destinations are becoming more popular, with growth in the European halls reflecting a significant tourism trend. Among other newcomers are exhibitors representing Portugal, Greece, Italy, Spain and the Turkish Riviera.

The wellness boom continues. Hall 16 is fully booked up and on the open days for the general public a big programme of stage events hosted by Beauty 24 will be taking place here. Tour operators More Travel from Latvia and Chic Outlet Shopping, who are also newcomers to the show, will be displaying their products in Hall 18. Under the Holland Classics brand name, Keukenhof, Floriade World Expo Holland 2012 and numerous other partners will be exhibiting Dutch specialities on its stand.

The Gay & Lesbian Travel section no longer represents a niche market, a trend mirrored by the growth in products on display in Hall 2.1. For the first time Brazil will be hosting its own stand and exhibitors from Greece, Mexico and Portugal will also be debuting at the show. Inside the trade visitor area the Pink Pavilion boasts its own genuine Viennese coffee house. For the first time in its history Dertour has released a gay and lesbian travel catalogue, a reflection of the expanding market. Adventure travel and socially responsible tourism are also growth markets. Together with many newcomers from South America, as well as  Geoparcs and organisations such as the Rainforest Alliance, Atmosfair, Myclimate, Ecpat, Tourism Watch, TourCert and the International Eco Tourism Society, Greenland will be promoting itself as a new destination in Hall 4.1. One of the high points at ITB Berlin 2012 will be the celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of RUF Jugendreisen.

Travel technology plays an increasingly important role
The number of exhibitors back at the show representing mobile travel and social media mirrors the continuing success of the eTravel World platform in Hall 7.1c. This section has been booked up since December, an indication of the market’s growing significance and the dynamic developments taking place here. Companies representing social review management services such as Reevoo and Review Pro will be setting new trends. Thursday and Friday will mark the high points of the programme of stage events. On Thursday and Friday international panel discussions debating travel blogs will be taking place at ITB Berlin. This is the first time simultaneous interpreting into English and German will be available at these events. On the Saturday of the show in Hall 7.1c an app marathon will be taking place that offers the general public an overview of the world of travel apps. ITB Berlin supports the Travel App Guide (published by mvolution, Alabasta Verlag) which will be re-released to coincide with ITB Berlin 2012.

Trade visitors will be able to obtain in-depth knowledge about social media not only at the eTravel World but also at the PhoCusWright@ITB Travel Technology Convention on Wednesday, 7 March and at the Marketing and Distribution Day on Friday, 9 March at the ITB Berlin Convention.

The details, products and services of all the exhibitors at the ITB Berlin can be found at the Virtual Market Place at virtualmarket.itb-berlin.com. The Virtual Market Place also functions as an online catalogue. Information is updated on a regular basis.

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | + Articles

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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