Stands and events at this year’s fair reveal some key travel trends.
This year’s edition of ITB Berlin, taking place from March 7-11, is almost fully booked, according to Messe Berlin, expected to welcome around 10,000 exhibitors – organisations from more than 180 countries – and some 110,000 trade visitors.
This year, the spotlight will be on the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the partner region of the show, which is coordinating a ‘zero carbon footprint’ opening event, shedding light on an important trend for the travel industry.
Demand for ITB is particularly high this year among Arab countries, Asia and South America. Abu Dhabi has almost doubled the size of its stand, while the Ras al Khaimah and Fujairah displays are also much larger than last year.
Egypt will be making a return with a larger stand and Turkey, the biggest exhibitor at ITB Berlin, will “again be demonstrating that this unique and vibrant destination has lost none of its sparkle,” the trade fair says.
After long absences, Belize, Guayana, French Guiana and the Turks and Caicos Islands will be making a return to the event this year.
The 2018 edition will focus on adventure tourism and sustainable travel, a trend reflected by the fact that Hall 4.1 is now fully booked.
In the Luxury Travel segment, the Loop Lounge will be celebrating its debut, while on the Thursday the first ITB Luxury Late Night will provide an opportunity to develop relations with previously made contacts.
Held at Orania.Berlin, a new boutique hotel, exhibitors will be able to meet leading buyers from the global luxury travel market. Participation is by invitation only.
Also at this year’s event, medical tourism will be highlighted. Due to what ITB says is high demand, this segment is moving to a larger hall. An ever-growing number of international exhibitors will be represented, including delegates from Poland, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, two Turkish hospitals and Visit Jordan. Newcomers from Germany include VisitBerlin, Berlin Health Excellence and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
On the Friday, ITB Medical Night, sponsored by Tuscany, will provide an exclusive networking opportunity (again, participation is invitation only).
Another special focus will be the travel technology segment. Exhibitors including eNett, Traso, Triptease and Paymentwall have increased their display areas, while Travelport and newcomer the Hospitality Industry Club will shed light on this growing segment’s prospects.
Chinese exhibitor numbers are growing fast, ITB says, and the online portal Ctrip will be exhibiting its products for the first time. Other newcomers from China include Flightroutes, Ucloudlink, Letsfly, Qyer and Qup.
For the third consecutive year, ITB Berlin will be organising an ITB Chinese Night, allowing visitors to find out more about the Chinese travel market, exchange views and establish new contacts.
At the ITB China 2018 Preview at the CityCube Berlin on the Thursday, visitors can find out about the fast-growing travel market and major attractions at ITB China, which will be taking place on May 16-18 for the second time.