ITB Berlin starts on note of recovery

Industry leaders look forward to the coming “decade of travel and tourism”

As reported, around 11,160 exhibiting companies and organisations from 188 countries are gathering at Messe Berlin for ITB Berlin. At the opening ceremony speakers concentrated on the positive. The next 10 years look set to be “the decade of travel and tourism,” said UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai.
“The first decade of the 21st century was a decade of extraordinary tourism growth, but also of severe shocks, a decade that began with September 11 and ended with global economic crisis,” he continued. “Now, with recovery underway and international tourist arrivals up by 7% in 2010, is the time to look forward and ask what the next 10 years hold for our sector.”
Klaus Laepple, president of Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry, said he looked forward to 2011 as a top year for travel and tourism. “2010 was a very good year in many areas of the tourism industry in spite of the problems and the uncertainty, but we’re definitely going to beat 2008, which was our best year so far.” Volker Böttcher, TUI’s CEO in Germany, said that the biggest jump in incoming tourism in 2011 came from Spain, but added that there was a 24% increase in package sales to Turkey.
When asked whether Turkey was looking forward to more arrivals as tourists decide against strife-torn Tunisia and Egypt, Turkish Culture & Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay argued that Turkey competes with countries such as Spain, Italy and France, not with “African countries”, adding: “We don’t need 100,000 additional reservations coming from Tunisia or Egypt”.
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[pictured: ITB Berlin opening ceremony]