BERLIN – The ITB, the biggest tourism fair in the world, closed its doors in Berlin on Sunday with positive forecasts for 2019 despite a cooling of the global economy, thanks to extraordinarily stable demand in the sector.
“The desire to travel is still positive and the sector is well positioned, which allows us to hope that 2019, despite some negative economic forecasts, will be a good year for tourism,” said the president of the German Tourism Federation, Michael Frenzel, in a statement released by the fair.
According to Christian Göke, manager of the Berlin fair, the ITB, as a leading platform for the global tourism industry, “acquires special importance, especially in times of general uncertainty.”
“Personal contacts as a way to generate trust and direct exchange between business partners on issues of concern to the sector around the globe are not substitutable, even in a digitized world, by the most modern means of communication,” he said.
According to Frenzel, the fair once again offered its participants “ample inspiration, first-hand information on central issues of the future and a lot of space to get to know each other better.”
“In a world in which confrontation now too often occupies a central place, it is precisely this understanding between cultures, this cultural exchange, which is represented in tourism more than in any other sector,” he said.
Therefore, “yes to tolerance” and “no to xenophobia” are the clear messages that the tourism sector wants to continue spreading globally, he said.
The five-day-long ITB, which this year had Malaysia as a guest country, recorded an increase of more than 3 percent of specialized visitors compared to the previous ITB, or some 113,500.
International Women’s Day, for the first time a holiday in Berlin, had a slight influence on attendance by the general public, as many Berliners took advantage of the three days off to leave the capital, but even so, the fair registered a total influx of 160,000 specialized and non-specialized visitors.
Between Wednesday and Sunday, the fair had more than 10,000 exhibitors from 181 countries and regions in 26 pavilions.
The success of the international tourism fair in Berlin also extends internationally and after ITB Asia (in Singapore) and China (in Shanghai), Mumbai will host between April 15 and 17, 2020 the first ITB in India.
Meanwhile, the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, will host the Eurasian edition of the ITB in 2020, after signing this week in Berlin the corresponding memorandum, a representative of the Kazakh delegation told EFE.
The next ITB Berlin will take place between March 4-8, 2020.