ITB Berlin 2019: Right at the heart of the industry with the latest key topics


High demand by exhibitors and a convention featuring high-ranking international speakers are setting the tone: from 6 to 10 March 2019 ITB Berlin will again be the industry’s meeting place and must-attend event, devoting itself to innovative and forward-looking trends in the travel industry, politics and business.

At the ITB Berlin Convention close to 400 leading speakers will discuss how the international tourism industry should respond to overtourism crises, the shift in customer demands, the threat of climate change, and new forms of transportation. This year’s Official Partner Country is Malaysia. Another international event will shortly join the global family brand of ITB: ITB India, which will be launching in 2020.

”Once again ITB Berlin shows that traditional trade show formats can be more successful than ever in the digital age. We are quick to recognise industry trends while also developing existing formats further. The new Technology, Tours & Activities segment at ITB Berlin 2019 is perfect proof of that. At the same time our trade shows have evolved into global brands. ITB India will further strengthen ITB’s standing as the international marketplace for the travel industry“, said Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin.

For the first time the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show is devoting an international platform to the fast-growing Technology, Tours & Activities (TTA) segment. Both major players and small start-ups will be able to present their innovative products at the first event of its kind in the new exhibition and meeting area in the Adventure Travel Hall (4.1). Workshops and convention sessions at the CityCube Berlin and the eTravel World in Halls 7.1b and 6.1 will provide first-hand knowledge over the three days reserved for trade visitors. The Virtual Reality Lab is also new in Hall 10.2. From Wednesday, 6 March to Friday, 8 March there will be exhibitions on VR and AR applications and projects as well as papers by speakers from major companies on the same subject. In 2019 the Travel Technology segment at ITB Berlin will be larger than ever before. In order to satisfy the space requirements of this fast-growing segment the eTravel World has grown by 20 per cent and for the first time will take place in three adjacent halls (6.1, 7.1b and 7.1c.).

Debut for ITB India 2020 in Mumbai

From 15 to 17 April 2020 ITB India will be celebrating its debut in Mumbai. The three-day trade show at the Bombay Exhibition Centre is to be held annually and aims to bring together leading representatives of the travel industry with buyers from cities throughout India and international exhibitors from the MICE, leisure and corporate markets. The show will also feature a Hosted Buyers’ programme which targets buyers from major cities of varying size. Additional information on ITB India 2020 can be found online at or by emailing
[email protected].

Some 10,000 exhibiting companies from 181 countries and regions are presenting the latest products and trends of the global tourism industry at the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show in Berlin. Over 80 per cent of exhibitors are from abroad. At last year’s ITB Berlin 83 per cent rated their business results as positive. Once again, the organisers are expecting more than 100,000 international trade visitors and public attendance to be in the tens of thousands on the weekend. Inside the 26 display halls, which are booked up, they can gain an overview of the wide range of products and services on offer from the tourism industry.

In Malaysia, ITB Berlin was able to secure a destination that boasts great diversity as the Official Partner Country in 2019. The southeast Asian country is organising the opening ceremony and Grand Finale of ITB Berlin with artistic performances typical for this region. Over the five days of the show Malaysia will provide information on its wide range of products at various sessions, workshops and on a stand in Hall 26 that has grown by 100 square metres in size. In addition to other Asian countries, India and the Arab countries are noticeably expanding their presence on the market. In the latter case that growth is reflected in the displays in Hall 2.2. The Saudi-Arabian General Investment Authority is represented at ITB for the first time. Dubai has increased the size of its displays. Their main attraction will be Expo 2020 Dubai, which is represented with its own stand. Oman, the partner country of ITB Berlin 2020, is occupying a larger display area, proof of the growing economic importance of tourism in the sultanate. Fujairah, the last country to join the Emirates and an emerging tourism destination, will also be represented on a larger stand. Hall 5.2b, which features India, was booked up at an early stage. A number of exhibitors have enlarged their stands, including the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Finally, a whole range of up-and-coming new companies have announced their participation in the show. At ITB Berlin 2019 the number of exhibitors from China is growing fast too. For the fourth year running ITB Berlin is organising the ITB Chinese Night, where visitors can find out more about the Chinese travel market, exchange views and establish new contacts. This year’s event on Wednesday, 6 March is being organised in partnership with Jin Jiang International, and will welcome some 300 representatives of the travel industry

Australia, Africa and South America are continuing to expand. Australia is highlighting its growth prospects in the tourism market with a larger display area in Hall 5.2a. Among African countries, Egypt and Namibia are attracting attention with larger stands. South American countries are picking up where they left off last year – all exhibitors have confirmed that they will be back at the show. Many first-time exhibitors from the Caribbeans, including from Curacao, Barbados, Belize and El Salvador, are also taking part. Grenada is celebrating its first appearance since 2015. Peru and Ecuador have marginally increased their displays, and Venezuela has even doubled the size of its stand. As far as the US is concerned, bookings are on a par with last year’s, cancelling out the so called ‘Trump effect’.

Turning towards Europe, ITB Berlin is looking forward to new arrivals, many regular exhibitors and a number of anniversaries. Newcomers in the halls featuring European exhibitors include St. Helena, where Napoleon was exiled, the EU Initiative European Capitals of Smart Tourism, Turismo de Setúbal and Mystic Cruises from Portugal. Portugal’s booming tourism industry is hosting impressive displays. Over 100 exhibitors are presenting their products on an almost 10 per cent larger display area. Luxembourg and the Balearics are also occupying larger stands. Now on a stand measuring over 500 square metres, the Russian representation is larger than ever before. Norway, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Switzerland all have a reason to celebrate – all four destinations are celebrating 50 years at ITB Berlin.

This year a remarkable number of leading tour operators and travel agencies are exhibiting for the first time. They include Alltours, the travel website Urlaubsguru, the Swiss luxury cruise operator Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, the Antarctic tour specialist Albatros Exhibition, the online portal, and the software developer Durak und Reinhardt GmbH. Now on two stands, is occupying a much larger area. As an exhibitor in the hotel segment, the leading Asian luxury hotel group Shangri-La has announced its participation with three hotels after an absence of several years. Loop@ITB, a hotspot for buyers and hoteliers in the luxury segment, has firmly established itself in Hall 9.

Travel Technology grows by 20 per cent

In order to satisfy the space requirements of this fast-growing segment the eTravel World has been enlarged by 20 per cent. This was made possible by the ITB Berlin Convention relocating to another venue. In addition to the Travel Technology halls (5.1, 8.1 and 10.1), the eTravel World can be found in three adjacent halls (6.1, 7.b and 7.1c). The increasing presence of payment system providers also underlines the growing importance of travel technology. In addition to the major players Wirecard and Concardis, big-name market leaders including Paypal, Six Payment Services and ECOMMPAY are also taking part. Thematically, the new Technology, Tours & Activities (TTA) segment spans a bridge between travel technology and adventure travel. A special 500 square-metre exhibition and meeting area is being set up in Hall 4.1b where major players and smaller startups can present their innovative products from the world of in-destination services, including Bookingkit, Klook, Regiondo, Fareharbor, ATTA, Evaneos and Giant Monkey.

ITB Berlin Convention 2019 – About the future of travel

The growing number of overtourism conflicts of recent years has given rise to various pilot projects. On Friday, 8 March, day two of the ITB Destination Days, at the City Cube in Room A4/A5, the keynote speaker and interview guest Adam Goldstein, vice chairman, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD and future chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in 2019 will answer questions about the challenges the global cruise industry is facing with regard to overtourism and environmental protection. Furthermore, the new Deep Dive session format of the ITB Berlin Convention will provide visitors with an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions on overtourism with experts.

The latest findings of the market survey conducted by ITB Berlin in collaboration with Travelzoo will be eagerly awaited. The international portal for exclusive travel deals was commissioned by ITB Berlin to examine European, North American and Asian travellers’ views on overtourism and environmental protection. Travelzoo discovered that 69 per cent of international tourists regard environmental protection as a very important topic. Germans (74 per cent), Spanish (73 per cent) and in particular Chinese (88 per cent) rate themselves very highly as regards environmental awareness. 54 per cent of those polled said that they had been irritated by or been unhappy about the large number of tourists at their destinations in the past, particularly Chinese (84 per cent), French (61 per cent) and Germans (60 per cent). More than half of the international interviewees (55 per cent) said they would choose a different holiday destination if there were less tourists. Among Chinese respondents the figure was as high as 72 per cent. A large proportion of tourists said they would be prepared to spend more in order to encounter fewer tourists. 76 per cent of German holidaymakers would be willing to spend an additional 100 to 300 euros, and 20 per cent would even pay 500 euros more for a one-week holiday trip. Sharry Sun, Global head of Brand, Travelzoo, will present the exclusive report on 6 March 2019 at 1 pm at the City Cube Club (Deep Dive Session1).

Transportation systems are an essential part of the tourism industry. But can today’s systems meet the challenges of the future? Together with the creators of innovative transportation systems and tourism ministers the ITB Berlin Convention will discuss the ‘Future of mobility’. On Wednesday, 6 March 2019, day one of the ITB Destination Days, at 4 pm at the CityCube in Room A1, Wolfram Auer, deputy director, International Business Development, Doppelmayr Seilbahnen GmbH, Stephan Pfeiffer, head of Strategic Partnerships & Public Affairs, ioki (Deutsche Bahn), and Christoph Weigler, director general, Uber Germany, will discuss the major changes taking place in transportation with a view to concepts such as driverless vehicles, ride-sharing business models, mobility platforms, electric powertrains, minibuses, bikes for hire, cablecars and other modes of transport.

On Friday, 8 March the focus of the ITB CSR Day events will be on climate change. In his keynote speech at 11 am at the CityCube in Room A3, the leading international climate change scientist Prof. Dr. Schellnhuber, formerly director of the PIK (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research), will outline the current situation and what action must be taken to tackle this subject. On 7 March, at 5 pm at the City Cube Club, participants attending the Deep Dive session can find out from Caroline Bremner, head of Travel Research, Euromonitor, what to expect in a future relationship with the UK if, as is expected, a no-deal Brexit takes place. Euromonitor surveys have revealed that UK spending on tourism will stagnate and that leading tourism destinations will be hard-hit.

A paradigm shift is taking place in the tourism industry. Customers in the luxury market are now less interested in material wealth and more in non-material values. On 7 March 2019, at the ITB New Luxury Panel on Marketing & Distribution Day, at 4 pm at the City Cube in Room A4/A5, together with Prof. Dr. Monika Imschloß, an expert on sensory marketing, Universität zu Köln, and the starred chef David Kikillus, Marc Aeberhard, the proprietor of Luxury Hotel & Spa Management Ltd., will discuss how changing customer demands are influencing hotel and tourism services and the shape that luxury products will take in the future. On 7 March 2019 at the ITB Hospitality Tech Forum at the eTravel World, the focus will also be on the shift in customer demands. In his lecture entitled ’Beyond Unconventional: Keeping up with the Tent Next Door’ at 5.30 pm at the eTravel Lab in Hall 7.1b, Adam Harris, CEO of Cloudbeds, will talk about how the market is changing.

Relocating the ITB Berlin Convention to the multi-purpose congress and trade fair venue CityCube has created more space for the events taking place at ITB Berlin. Convention sessions and international award presentations will continue to take place in Hall 7 and at the Palais am Funkturm.

Medical Tourism is booming worldwide

The high demand by international exhibitors at ITB Berlin reflects the global trend of medical tourism. The World’s Leading Travel Trade Show provides this mega market (of the future) its own platform for the third time at the Medical Tourism Pavilion in Hall 21b. In addition to a wide-ranging programme of presentations and lectures, the Medical Media Lunch will take place for the second time at the Medical Tourism Pavilion on Wednesday, 6 March from 12.30 to 2 pm. Afterwards the Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA) will present the world’s ten best clinics catering for medical tourists. On the weekend for the general public, European Medical Spas (ESPA), also a regular exhibitor will be holding a number of lectures on natural remedies from Lower Saxony and thermal medical treatment methods from France and Bulgaria. For the first time, the European Medical Buyer’s Initiative (EBI)will be represented at ITB Berlin. The event exclusively targets buyers and agencies who find clinics around the world for their patients.

MICE and Business Travel expand

This year, MICE and Business Travel are moving closer together. On Wednesday, 6 and Thursday, 7 March 2019, both segments will be sharing the same space for half a day respectively in Hall 7.1a. The main topic at the ITB MICE Forum is the ‘Human factor’. The focus of the ITB Business Travel Forum is on smart mobility concepts of the future. Visitors to the ITB MICE Hub in Hall 7.1a can also take a seat in a flight simulator.

Launch of the Travel Hero Podcast by ITB

ITB is launching an English-language podcast: The Travel Hero podcast with the first episode due on Friday, 8 March 2019. Each episode will focus on outstanding entrepreneurs and thinking minds of the tourism industry. With this podcast ITB is targeting everyone working in the travel business and those who love and live for travelling, the proverbial ‘travelholics’.  The protagonists of these 10 to 45-minute podcasts include big names and female leaders from the tourism industry, smart founders of travel technology startups, young entrepreneurs, charity experts and leading speakers on ITB Berlin Convention topics. The podcast studio where the guests will take their seats is quite unusual and a curiosity in itself: a Tesla X, located at the ITB Berlin Convention area. Episodes will available for free download on the usual platforms: Apple iMusic, Spotify and on

ITB Berlin app lets visitors navigate their way around the fairgrounds

Exhibitors, hall plans and events, including those at the ITB Berlin Convention, are all stored in the ITB Berlin app. With the help of beacons the new navigation tool makes it easier for visitors to find their way around the halls of the fairgrounds. MyITB with its user profile provides an excellent overview of favourite exhibitors and events. Regular updates will ensure that visitors are updated with the latest information at the show. The ITB app for iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets can be downloaded and updated free of charge and is available in German and English.

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