An innovative format for challenging times: a total of 3,513 exhibitors from 120 countries have decided to take part in the digital edition of ITB Berlin NOW from 9 to 12 March 2021. Tourism organisations and associations, travel technology providers, tour operators, the hotel industry and destination management companies (DMCs) are strongly represented this year. Taking as its slogan ’The digital Meet-up of the Travel Industry. Anytime. Anywhere.’, the trade show provides ideal conditions for trade visitors to network, exchange ideas, stay well-informed and negotiate business with market players and tourism service providers from all over the world, even in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic and current travel restrictions. The new platform at itb-now.com concentrates business, networking, content and news in one place, and with its Show Floor, videostreaming, virtual cafés and intelligent matchmaking tools offers the best opportunities for successful trade show results. At the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, more than 280 leading international speakers, including more than 80 CEOs, will hold lectures and interviews at 180 virtual discussion rounds, offering their assessments and opinions on how the industry can overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and shape a successful recovery. Two parallel videostreams featuring a live, all-day programme of events will be broadcast from two studios on the exhibition grounds. Some speakers will attend the studio in person, in compliance with hygiene rules, while others will join the livestreams remotely. After the trade show, content will remain online until 31 May 2021, so that participants can still find important information and contacts, evaluate their attendance and access programme items.
“Undoubtedly, the travel industry has been badly hit by the pandemic. However, as the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show it is our responsibility to offer the industry orientation and new hope, particularly in these difficult times. With ITB Berlin NOW and our virtual platform, we are giving players around the world in a very difficult situation the opportunity to communicate with each other, find out about new developments and do business. I am very confident that after many months of stagnation our virtual marketplace will produce tangible results for the future and remain relevant as part of a hybrid event in the years to come“, said Martin Ecknig, CEO of Messe Berlin.
An exclusive,global survey by ITB Berlin and Travelzoo examined shifting levels of trust in the various markets and the factors that help build it. The findings show that among Europeans in particular trust in travel brands has suffered during the pandemic. In the US and China, 47 and 49 per cent of respondents respectively said their trust in travel brands had increased during the pandemic, whereas in Germany, the UK and France only 17, 18 and 16 per cent agreed. Opinions on whether trust in brands matters also varied markedly. Among 55 to 64 year-olds, 55 per cent said trust played a big role, whereas among the under-24s only 37 per cent said the same. 50 per cent of those polled thought a money-back guarantee or rebooking options were a good idea. 46 per cent of respondents agreed that protective measures should be taken when travelling, while 44 per cent supported them in accommodation. Christian Smart, General Manager at Travelzoo Germany, will present these and other results of the exclusive study at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention on Wednesday, 10 March from 10:40 – 10:55 a.m.
Targeted searches ensure success
On the Show Floor at www.itb-now.com exhibitors from around the world are presenting their latest products and information on Brand Cards, their digital company profiles. State-of-the-art technology makes networking easy, with users receiving contact suggestions based on their profile and interests. The new Lead Finder creates better business opportunities for all participants and lets them target providers and buyers by category and destination. Searches can be further enhanced by entering text with company and contact names.
Using audio and video functions, a few clicks is all it takes to make appointments and easily manage them on one’s calendar. Users can bookmark lectures in the overview of sessions at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention. ITB Berlin NOW has set up numerous virtual cafés for exhibitors and a total of 13 ITB-themed cafés, lively meeting places for debating all kinds of subjects including Adventure Travel, Hospitality, LGBT+ and Travel Tech. Visitors can meet and talk in open and closed groups.
Think tank for restarting tourism
At the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, under the heading ’Rethink, Regenerate, Restart – Tourism for a Better Normal’, leading industry figures, scientists and visionary minds will examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global travel industry and offer qualified and practical advice for a recovery. In addition, over the four days of events at the global travel industry’s leading think tank, the programme will include topics such as sustainable travel, destination marketing and the changing MICE and business travel market. More than 280 top-class speakers representing airlines, the hotel, cruise and package tour industries will share their views on future developments and trends in their respective sectors. Euromonitor International will present its Sustainable Travel Index of 99 countries, a world debut and an indispensable guide for destinations and tourism companies.
Focus on partners Saxony and Georgia
This year, the trade show is presenting the entire range of tourism providers again. At 88 exhibitor presentations, companies and organisations will focus on key topics, provide information and introduce their latest products. At some 27 virtual press conferences, national and international exhibitors will have information on innovations and trends for accredited members of the media.
Last year, many Germans rediscovered holidaying at home. As the first Official Cultural Destination at ITB Berlin NOW 2021, the federal state of Saxony is promoting itself as an outstanding destination for cultural and city tourism as well as offering a unique nature experience. Next year it will be the host country of the World’s Largest Travel Trade Show. This year, at the start of a multi-year partnership, the spotlight is on Georgia, the first Digital Adventure and Sustainability Partner. In 2022 it will be the trade show’s official cultural destination, before becoming the official host country in 2023.
A virtual tour of the whole world
This year, visitors are invited to take a virtual tour of the world again. Every German federal state is represented at ITB Berlin NOW. Numerous European countries are strongly represented, including Italy with the Italian National Tourist Board (ENIT) and hundreds of co-exhibitors. Other European countries including Austria, Croatia, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK will present important new products.
Exhibitors from Asia have also shown keen interest in ITB Berlin NOW. Armenia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are taking part in the virtual edition as well as other countries. Trade visitors can get news from down under on the Brand Cards of Australia and New Zealand.
The trade show also welcomes many exhibitors from Latin and South America. In addition to the sponsors Peru and Panama, Caribbean countries including the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cuba are also taking part. Africa is strongly represented with exhibitors from Botswana, Namibia, the Seychelles and South Africa. Countries from northern Africa, the Arab countries and the Middle East including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Morocco and Oman are also at the show.
Promoting social equality and environmental protection
In the LGBT+ Tourism segment the presentation of the ITB Pioneer Award 2021 will recognise outstanding achievements. The LGBT+ Leadership Summit will examine how society, companies and policymakers can help improve living and working conditions. Social responsibility, sustainable travel and environmental protection are the focus of the ITB Responsible Tourism Brand Card. In addition to NGOs, exhibitors from around the world will present innovative solutions and ideas in order to promote sustainable travel. The ITB IIPT Celebrating Her Award will honour outstanding achievements of women in tourism. Visitors can also find out about trends, tours and attractions from the Brand Cards of exhibitors in the Technology, Tours & Activities (TTA) segment.
At ITB Berlin NOW, international Travel Technology providers will present innovations and product developments and show how AI, smart interfaces and dynamic pricing can help boost the economic recovery. Visitors can find out more about startups and their path to a successful business model at START UP NOW, a new format where entrepreneurs can share experiences and have their say.
Shifts in the luxury and medical tourism markets
The Medical Tourism segment is devoted to a fast-growing industry and brings representatives of hospitals, clinics, hotels and tour operators together. Taking place for the first time, the presentation of the ITB Medical Tourism Award, powered by HTI will recognise a provider or destination that has made a special commitment to promoting medical tourism. The ITB Experts Forum Wellness event will discuss trends and developments in the wellness market.
At the debut event of HOME OF LUXURY by ITB, visitors can find out how the luxury market has had to adjust because of the coronavirus pandemic and about its future prospects. Luxury travel providers from around the world can exchange views on new customer demands and successful market strategies.
An industry appeal to policymakers
This year, as a recognised voice of the global travel industry, the trade show will collect statements by leading industry figures and speakers with appeals and demands on policymakers as part of the ITB Berlin Travel & Tourism Declaration. After the show they will all be publicised as an urgent message reflecting the international tourism industry’s situation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Musical happy after-hours entertainment with DJ and music producer Paul van Dyk
Turn up the speakers and dance – that is the message on Thursday, 11 March, when the internationally celebrated DJ and music producer Paul van Dyk will be entertaining live with his biggest hits. From 7.15 to 8.15 p.m. his music will be videostreamed to visitors around the world from Stage 2 at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention. The German musician has been playing to an audience of millions for almost 30 years now, with electronic music that tops the charts worldwide.
Berlin Travel Festival// DIGITAL features a wide-ranging evening programme
The Berlin Travel Festival//DIGITAL, our B2C partner event, is also taking place in an entirely virtual format this year, and parallel with ITB Berlin NOW is offering all consumers a wide-ranging evening programme. Every evening on the festival’s website from 7 to 10 p.m., consumers can get fresh inspiration for their upcoming vacations from reports, lectures and fascinating discussion rounds, without registering and free of charge. The broadcasts will take place on four evenings, with each featuring one travel topic.