The annual ITB travel trade show in Berlin brings more than 10,000 exhibitors together to showcase the latest tourism trends and the very best the travel industry has to offer. In this special edition of Spotlight, we look at how countries are seeking to attract travellers with holidays that offer a more unique and authentic experience.
The global tourism industry is constantly innovating, to create new and exciting travel experiences for us all to enjoy and the ITB travel trade show is the place to be when it comes to discovering what those trends are. More than 180 countries are represented at the show with some of the best holiday destinations, business travel and technology all on display.
"this is the only museum that has the pyramids as its backdrop"
Egypt was among those turning heads, encouraging travellers to come and visit its attractions, but also to meet the Egyptian people, so that they can get a real feel for the country's diversity. It is also spreading the word about the soon to open $1 billion Grand Egyptian Museum. Due to open next year, the museum will house Egypt's most priceless treasures, including the entire Tutankhamun collection.
"It is on the plateau of Giza, so even though you can see Egyptian artefacts in different museums around the world, this is the only museum that has the pyramids as its backdrop," explains Egypt's Minister of Tourism, Rania A. Al-Mashat, adding: "It's a fantastic attraction for those who want to come and get a glimpse of Egypt's history. Something else that is quite significant about the museum is that there's so much history Inside and the facade is very contemporary.”
Celebrating Italian genius
Italy also has much to offer when it comes to history and culture. It is marking the centenaries of three geniuses. Leonardo da Vinci, this year, and Raffaello Sanzio and Dante Alighieri over the following years.
Maria Elena Rossi, from the Italian tourist board says: "Leonardo da Vinci is the best ambassador, he's the strongest innovator and the strongest genius that we can imagine to represent Italy. So all the main cities, where he was born - Vinci - but also the places where he worked and travelled, are now organising events for the whole year and these events are all on an app, which a visitor can use to see where things happen.”
Off the beaten track
“The kind of holiday that people want is changing.Many are craving far more than the classic city destinations and attractions, wanting to go off the beaten track to have a unique and authentic experience,” explains Euronews correspondent Damon Embling from Berlin.
Ireland is one country that is encouraging visitors to do just that, as it attempts to build sustainable growth in its tourism sector.
Brendan Griffin is Ireland's Minister of Tourism and Sport. He told Euronews: "What I think we have in Ireland on offer are huge areas that have traditionally been undiscovered, the hidden gems in communities that hadn't been the traditional tourism hotspots and that's where we see the real growth potential. And also as well in terms of the parts of the year that traditionally don't attract large numbers of tourists, we see potential in extending the tourism season throughout the year because we have a very mild climate in Ireland. So, you're not going to get sunburnt most of the time, but you're also not going to get frost bite.”
China's also had a big showing at ITB Berlin. The country is promoting destinations like Dalian in the northeast. Nicknamed the "Hong Kong of the North", it will host this year's Summer Davos.
“Different cultures converge in Dalian. Here, you can see different cultural influences from places such as Japan, Korea and Russia. The traditional culture of China is also found throughout the city. At the same time, Dalian has a very comfortable climate, a three to four month holiday season in the summer alone. Dalian also brings together different cuisines from China and the surrounding area,” explains Zhang Feng, Deputy Director-General, Dalian Culture and Tourism Bureau.
Challenges and opportunities
ITB is also a place to debate and discuss challenges and opportunities in the travel industry, including the future of digital technology.
"We see digitalisation everywhere in the future. I'm quite sure we will not type in information in our smartphone, but we will talk with it. The offers that we receive from suppliers, they will use artificial intelligence to offer us more individualised packages and offers according to our needs," says Professor Roland Conrady, ITB's Scientific Director.