Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj has opened the 49th edition of the ITB in Berlin, the world’s biggest and most influential travel fair.
Mongolia is this year’s partner nation and offers would-be tourists the slogan“Nomadic by Nature”.
Astrid Zand is an ITB organiser: “Last year, we had a turnover of over €6bn. This year newly-created speed dating between buyers and sellers will hopefully help us raise this number substantially. We hope that this can boost the business of our exhibitors.”
The event is well-attended with more than 10,000 exhibitors from 186 countries presenting the very latest trends in global tourism.
Make no mistake this is big business, especially for a country like Malaysia.
Dr. Ong Hong Peng, is from Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism: “Tourism is the second largest foreign exchange earner in Malaysia. Last year, we managed to attract 27.4 million tourists to Malaysia.”
Tourism junkies are always on the lookout for fresh and exotic locations and this gives opportunities to destinations that may not automatically spring to mind, such as Cape Verde off the coast of West Africa.
Nuno Martins is from Cape Verde Investiments: “We have been able to sign an important contract that’s going to bring Hilton to Cape Verde. So we can say one day we will have had a phase before and after the Hilton. brand. Names of that magnitude will always attract others.”
Our correspondent in Berlin is Sebastian Saam: “At ITB key players in the global tourism industry come together with many important decisions to be made. And while exhibitors try to convince top buyers in the business only first few days, the fair opens its doors to Berliners over the weekend, and offers them flavours from all over the world.”