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ITB Berlin 2004

ITB 2004 reaches another milestone – 10,023 exhibitors from 178 countries and territories

The International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin 2004, takes place from 12 to 16 March on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and in the …

The International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin 2004, takes place from 12 to 16 March on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds and in the International Congress Center ICC Berlin, represents the entire value-added chain in the international tourism industry. It is the leading meeting place for the international tourism industry and, as the industry’s market place, it is of unrivalled importance for stimulating its continued development. The ITB Berlin has been among the most important instruments for communication within the international tourism industry for many years.

At the ITB 2004 the 10,023 exhibitors from 178 countries and territories are displaying the entire product spectrum of the international tourism industry, thereby creating the basis for the development of ideas for new products, for purposeful action and a global approach. For the first time the ITB Berlin has passed the significant milestone of 10,000 exhibitors. Despite the difficult economic situation exhibitors and trade visitors have shown renewed confidence in the ITB Berlin as a marketing forum.

The ITB Berlin: a stabilising factor on the world market

This leading trade fair for the international tourism industry enables its exhibitors to enhance their own companies’ profiles, establish contacts with new customers and to prepare to sell new products and services as well as analysing the competitive situation around the world.

As an international market leader among tourism exhibitions the ITB Berlin provides a forum for direct discussions between experts, for cultivating contacts and pursuing PR objectives, and also for signing contracts. It provides travel trade professionals from all over the world with interesting opportunities for making comparisons between various destinations and market sectors.

Exhibitors utilise the ITB Berlin and the direct discussion opportunities with experts that it provides in order to assess how well their offers and services are being received. This is also an opportunity to meet with international business associates to discuss co-operation, prices and terms. The international tourism industry continues to value the high volume of business conducted at this event and the intensity of the contacts that are available here.

The ITB accurately reflects a business sector that operates on a truly worldwide scale and its value as the world’s leading market place for tourism is as high as ever.

ITB Berlin represents stability

10,023 exhibitors (2003: 9,971) from 178 countries and territories have announced that they will be taking part in the ITB 2004, a further 0.5 per cent increase since last year.

Attendance by foreign exhibitors has increased as well, to 7,700 (2003: 7,600), a 2.2 per cent growth rate. As a destination, Germany is well represented by an impressive total of 2,323 exhibitors.

These figures confirms the reputation of the ITB Berlin for continuing stability. Three quarters of all its exhibitors are from abroad, comprising representatives of all sectors of tourism, national and regional tourism organisations and associations, tourism offices, tourism marketing companies, administrators of spas and health resorts, tour operators and travel agencies, carriers, hotel companies, publishers, insurance companies, firms supplying travel agency fittings and providers of travel technology.

Commercial interest focuses on holiday travel, educational and cultural travel, adventure travel, health and wellness travel, youth travel, services and travel for senior citizens, city trips, international congress business, incentive travel, cruises and business travel.

Messe Berlin is expecting more than 65,000 trade visitors

Messe Berlin is expecting well over 50,000 trade visitors from more than 190 countries and territories to attend the ITB 2004. Their primary reason for attending is to establish new business contacts. Trade visitors also make use of the world’s leading market place for tourism to obtain information about the market, to increase their professional knowledge, cultivate existing business results, study competitors and obtain a new perspective on the profession. All these factors confirm the important commercial role of the ITB Berlin and its reputation as a meeting place for decision-makers.

Market segments at the ITB 2004

Once again the International Tourism Exchange ITB Berlin 2004 provides its trade visitors with a forum, meeting the needs of specific target groups, for the ongoing development of the market. The main focus is on the various segments of the international tourism market.

A new platform has been created at this year’s ITB Berlin in the form of “Market Trends & Innovations”. This congress takes place parallel with the fair and offers exhibitors and international trade visitors an attractive forum for information and contacts on the main topics of interest in the tourism field. The highlight is the “ITB Tourism Barometer”, which will reflect the mood in the tourism industry, by questioning 50 companies from 20 countries about their commercial prospects. One of its new features is the “ITB Berlin Message”, providing a preview of travel in 2004. The China Conference will deal with a completely different aspect, bringing together travel trade professionals and politicians from the source market in China with the representatives of European destinations.

In Hall 5.1 a total of 60 exhibitors from seven European countries (Germany, Finland, Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Poland and Switzerland) are using the slogan “Training and Education in Tourism” to present a wide range of training and advanced training opportunities at both a national and an international level which are unrivalled in their scope and depth. This new and more central location ensures that the universities, technical colleges, vocational schools, academic institutions and other service providers represented here will be able to attract even more interest among visitors.

In previous years the ITB Travel Technology section of the market has proved to be an indispensable source of information for trade visitors who want to be able to assess future developments. Market leaders in the IT sector such as SIEMENS, SABRE, WORLDSPAN, PARTNERS SOFTWARE and BEWOTEC will be staging their own displays here. In all there will be 65 exhibitors from nine countries in this section. At the ITB 2004 the ITB Travel Technology Congress, from 14 to 16 March, will take as its theme “Low Cost und Dynamic Packaging versus the Package Tour”.

Under the supervision of the world association FIYTO (Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations), RUF Jugendreisen, Bielefeld, the market leader in Germany for accompanied travel by young people, and Messe Berlin, the section of the tourism industry that is devoted to youth travel will be exhibiting for the sixth time since 1999 at the “ITB Young Travel Centre”. Attractive offers for young travellers will be submitted by over 100 exhibitors. For the first time, in addition to the various activities for trade visitors, the ITB 2004 will also include an “Event Day for Young Counter Staff”.

The Young Travel Centre is already well established as the tourism industry’s leading platform for products and services. With the increasing demand for youth tourism products the number of participants in this niche market at the fair has also grown. Language courses abroad, youth hostels, adventure and sporting trips, club holidays, accompanied travel by children and young people, class excursions and opportunities to work and study in other countries are among the main topics covered by the Young Travel Centre.

A new and exciting topic will be that of adventure trips for children, young people and adults. A varied and interesting programme of workshops, papers and panel discussions on current issues concerning travel by young people has been prepared. With its “Y.I.G. – Youth Incoming Germany” workshop the Young Travel Centre is introducing a new B2B podium for young people travelling to Germany. This communication platform uses a specially designed “Online Appointment System” to enable participants in the workshop to make an accurate advance selection of those contacts of most interest to them.

Although 2002/2003 was a difficult period for tourism, Cruises was one market that continued to expand, and this is reflected in the level of involvement from the market segment devoted to this topic. At the ITB 2004 a total of 17 companies engaged in ocean-going and inland cruising from Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Russia have announced that they will be exhibiting in Hall 14.1. Arcona (Germany), Costa (Italy), M.S.C. Kreuzfahrten (Germany and Italy) and Seetours (Germany) are the companies exhibiting a wide range of products in Hall 25.

With 55 main exhibitors and over 300 cultural organisations from cities, regions and countries, as well as service providers, the number of exhibitors in the Cultural Tourism section has increased since last year. In Hall 10.2 international specialists and media have an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the stage, orchestras, festivals, musicals, variety theatres, museums, exhibitions theme years, special events, cities of culture, cultural departments and specialist providers. A series of specialist conferences is being introduced for the first time, which looks at the importance and the necessity of cultural tourism from the viewpoints of the world of culture, cities and tour operators.

The first “Forum Wellness” at the ITB 2004 is intended to cast some light on the “wellness jungle”. On Sunday, 14 March 2004, speakers from a number of countries will be discussing topics of interest to travellers and trade visitors alike. “How do I find my wellness hotel?” is one of the most frequently asked questions. A panel discussion will attempt to find some answers. “Will there soon be wellness for rich and poor?” This topic promises to provide the material for a fascinating panel discussion between the researcher into social and leisure affairs, Professor Dr. Felizitas Romeiss-Stracke, and representatives of luxury hotels and the camping sector. The lectures by the two American “Spa Ladies”, Judy Singer and Patty Monteson, promise to be among the highlights of this event. They have been providing consultancy services on the subject of wellness for more than 20 years.

Following its successful introduction last year the Nature Experience Hall, with 40 exhibitors from 15 countries, looks well set to become a regular feature of the ITB Berlin. In contrast to the general trend in tourism, the providers of such environmentally-based travel itineraries are meeting with an increasing demand. Here the focus is on the enjoyment of nature and culture, in association with environmental protection and a concern for social issues. The initiatives set up by German tour operators, “forum anders reisen e.V.” (representing more sustainable and gentle forms of travel) and “Vertraglich Reisen” (Compatible Travel) will feature among the presentations by international exhibitors, along with displays by the tourism agencies of Guyana, Syria and Tanzania. A broadly based, specialist supporting programme will accompany the presentation of various regions, attractions and initiatives.

At the ITB Book World, which can be found this year in Hall 25, 15 publishers from Germany and Austria, and a further ten publishing companies appearing under the aegis of the organisation representing the German book trade, Borsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, will be presenting the latest publications that travellers can consult before or during their journeys.

The supporting programme of the ITB Berlin will continue to feature an impressive range of activities. The presentation of the ITB Travel Guide Awards for the best guide to a particular destination (2004: “Australia” in the categories of Compact, Traditional, Individual and City Guide) will be augmented by the ITB Travel Guide Award for the best series of guides.

The many attractive prizes on offer at the “ITB Quiz” will again attract thousands of visitors to the ITB to the ITB Book World. Each day BZ.COMM! will be holding its “Couch Conversations“ at the ITB Book World, involving the media and leading representatives of the tourism industry.

Data, facts, analyses

The ITB 2004 will feature an extensive programme of conferences and seminars, which have already earned it a reputation as a major international congress. In addition to data and facts about the international tourism industry, trade visitors, exhibitors and the media can learn about new developments and current trends in the tourism industry. Each year it offers a whole range of specialist conferences, workshops, press conferences and seminars. Many of the well-attended meetings and seminars also provide forums for analyses and discussions about specialised topics. This year’s fair will feature 138 press conferences, 92 Tourism Experts’ Forums, 93 receptions and 94 presentations. The ITB Travel Technology congress will address 18 different themes, as well as 66 statements and a further 21 contributions to the new information and discussion event “Market Trends & Innovations”.