Comeback for ITB Berlin: International travel industry focuses on strong participation and personal dialogue

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With the exhibition grounds almost fully booked and high demand from the Middle East, the cruise industry and travel technology sector, following the break due to the pandemic and taking as its slogan ’Open for Change’, the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show ITB Berlin is back from 7 to 9 March 2023 with international exhibitors in high numbers as a hybrid in-person event in the display halls in Berlin. In total, around 5,500 exhibiting companies from 161 countries are taking part in this year’s ITB Berlin. Additionally represented companies are no longer being counted as of this year.

The high number of registrations for the Buyers Circle also reflects the desire for face-to-face talks. This year, ITB Berlin was for the first time able to approve 1,300 handpicked buyers – nearly a third more than before the pandemic. “Particularly in times of war, geopolitical crises and climate change, the focus of the international travel industry is on strong participation and personal dialogue at the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show, which will cater exclusively for trade visitors and run for three days as a B2B event. Prior to the pandemic our customers and partners had already requested this move – accordingly there was a positive industry response to this decision. From 1 to 3 December Messe Berlin will welcome the general public to the Berlin Travel Festival at the leisure exhibition BOAT & FUN BERLIN“, said Dirk Hoffmann, managing director of Messe Berlin.

* Additionally represented companies are no longer being counted as exhibitors as of 2023. They include companies represented only with products on an exhibitor’s stand, but without staff.

Taking as its slogan ’Infinite Hospitality’, Georgia is the Official Host Country of ITB Berlin 2023 and is presenting its wide-ranging tourism attractions with comprehensive displays in the large multi-purpose hall hub27, in Hall 4.1, at the south entrance and with many activities and events throughout the exhibition grounds. Georgia is also organising the festive opening gala on 6 March in the CityCube Berlin and will be taking invited guests on an impressive tour of the cultural and ethnic diversity of this country in the Caucasus. On the eve of the trade show, high-profile figures from politics and the industry set the stage for the guests at the opening event of this year’s ITB Berlin. They include Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Dr. Robert Habeck, Governing Mayor of Berlin Franziska Giffey, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Julia Simpson, and Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili.

The industry’s leading thinktank is also making a live comeback
This year at the ITB Berlin Convention, the leading thinktank for the industry, events will take place under the heading ’Mastering Transformation’. At 200 sessions, 400 leading speakers will respond to the issues that concern the tourism industry both now and going forward, and on how to shape the transition to a sustainable and successful future. Taking part in 18 theme tracks on a total of four convention stages in Halls 7.1a, 7.1b, 6.1 and 3.1, experts will be sharing their knowledge on the latest tasks and challenges facing the tourism industry. They include TUI CEO Sebastian Ebel, Caroline Bremner, Senior Industry Manager at Euromonitor International, CEO Keith Tan of the Singapore Tourism Board, UNWTO Director Dr. Dirk Glaeßer, Charuta Fadnis, SVP, Research & Product Strategy at Phocuswright, Fernverkehr Marketing CMO, Deutsche Bahn, Stefanie Berk, President of the ifo Institute Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Clemens Fuest, and General Manager Airbnb DACH Kathrin Anselm. Selected sessions will be streamed on the supporting event platform ITBxplore and via the ITB app.

ITB Berlin 2023 features numerous innovations
In January of this year, Deborah Rothe (31) became Exhibition Director and took over the project management of ITB Berlin, replacing David Ruetz (54) who as Head of ITB Berlin had been in charge of the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show since 2002. In future, as Senior Vice President, he will be Head of Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin. This year, ITB Media Monday is making its debut on 6 March and will kick off with the opening press conference. This will be followed by press conferences and presentations by selected exhibitors, including the European Travel Commission (ETC), the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Saudi Tourism Authority.

Networking, making appointments, searching for exhibitors and products and livestreamed events: that is what the new online platform at ITBxplore and the ITB app are about. They will be supporting the live event in a virtual space. Covering a total display area of 10,000 square metres, the new multi-purpose hall hub27 is the new “destination hotspot’ at ITB Berlin, where exhibitors have been relocated due to restoration work on the halls around the Radio Tower. They include the host country Georgia as well as Austria, Switzerland and the German National Tourism Board (DZT).

This is the first time during the event that customers at ITB Berlin will be able to make use of the new state-of-the-art hybrid studio in Hall 5.3 to hold their own press conferences and product presentations, among them Georgia, Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the Maldives. The new Business+ Lounge in Hall 7.2a and the Business Satellites in Hall 20, hub27 and 6.2b are for the first time available to all participants, who can book hourly table slots in advance or directly via itb.com. Travelport is the official sponsor of the ITB Business Satellite in Hall 6.2.b. Rounding off networking events will be the ITB Speed Networking Event on Wednesday, 8 March, the ITB Convention Café in Hall 7.1b and events on the networking area in Hall 3.1. This year, ticket sales are taking place online only. Those wishing to attend ITB Berlin digitally can purchase a “fully digital ticket“.

The new ITB Lighthouse Stage in Hall 4.1 will feature informative keynote speeches and presentations on adventure travel, careers and responsible tourism topics. This year, together with the CBS International Business School and co:compass, the trade show is celebrating the return of the Best Exhibitor Award. Trained CBS students will assess all the trade show stands at ITB Berlin. Judging will take place in 11 categories according to a scientifically developed criteria list, and the winners will be honoured at an awards ceremony on the evening of 9 March, the last day of the event. A new feature this year is the Street Food Market in Hall 7.2c, where visitors can take a culinary tour and fully enjoy international cuisine.

New: The ITB Innovation Radar gives industry pioneers a platform
In 2023, the new ITB Innovation Radar will for the first time present a selection of exhibitors’ new products. In the run-up to the event, ITB Berlin invited exhibitors to submit innovations that will have a long-term effect on tomorrow’s travel industry. The results are 11 selected innovations that place the spotlight on software solutions, innovative products and groundbreaking concepts. For travel specialists for example, Lato is the ideal tool for creating and swapping travel products and services. TRZMO gives travellers a sense of freedom by providing uninterrupted international roaming. RightFlight Robotics developed by RightRez is a flight booking engine that makes it easier to sell flights and at the same time offers lower fares and costs.

Mobility Budget by FREE NOW for Business is a service for companies who want to offer their workers flexibility outside the workplace. VR Payment Experience developed by Worldline has created a simultaneous multi-factor authentification method for payments in the virtual world. better.energy is an existing energy management solution by Betterspace. GreenSquareConcept is the name of an ambitious sustainability concept by the Dorint Hotel Group. Holipay is a payment method for booking holidays. GauVendi is an AI-driven hotel marketing system that separates the actual rooms from the products offered to customers. GPM by Tamara Leisure Experiences is a comprehensive project management tool for the hotel industry. TripOptimizer by Nezasa makes it possible to optimise complex multiple flight and return fare bookings

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