ITB Berlin News 2019 - Review Edition

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FRIDAY

15 TH MARCH 2019

REVIEW

EDITION

NEWS TRADE TALK EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

A TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

Dr Martin Buck

Senior Vice President Travel &

Logistics, Messe Berlin

“One of the highlights that

impressed me most was

the introduction of the

new segment, Technology,

Tours and Activities”

Read page 8

Stephan Reichelt

Product sourcing team lead,

mydays GmbH

“Individualisation is

increasingly coming to the

fore, mini-holidays are

experiencing an upswing and

the relevance of wellness is

increasing” Read page 21

YB Datuk Christina

Liew

Deputy Chief Minister,

Minister of Tourism, Culture

and Environment, Sabah

“To attract more tourists to

Sabah, we have to put new

products in place – not just the

same old thing” Read page 29

Derek Hanekom

Tourism Minister,

South Africa

“Growing numbers of

tourists must benefit

everyone involved,

especially the micro

and medium-sized

enterprises” Read page 45

Plotting the future course

Giving direction to momentum

ITB Berlin leads the way

The 2019 edition of ITB Berlin drew to a close

with all involved agreeing that, more than

ever before, the show has been a platform for

planning a true course for the years to come –

for the industry and indeed for the world. The

numerous conferences and roundtables at ITB

Berlin this year addressing the burning issues of

our time, such as sustainability, overtourism, the

move towards luxury tourism, future mobility,

and travel technologies in all their shapes and

forms. It is vitally important for all players in the

industry to “sing in harmony” when it comes to

the above topics, enabling the creation of a clear

roadmap. In the following pages, we bring you a

round-up of highlights from the show, as well as

one or two items you may have overlooked. We

also take you on a tour of some of the top stands

– either as a memento, or if you couldn’t make it

to Berlin, to give you an idea of what ITB Berlin

was like this year. A highlight is our exclusive

interview with Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al

Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism for the Sultanate of

Oman, ITB Berlin 2020 Official Partner Country

(read page 27).

Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi

Minister of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman

A TOUR

OF PLANET EARTH

© Messe Berlin GmbH

In this edition, rather

than concentrate on

one single region, we

take you on a global

tour to look at some of

the best that was on

offer at ITB Berlin 2019.

From Oceania, Asia,

Europe, the Americas,

the Middle East or Africa,

there is news from each

continent. Read from

page 34.


BROUGHT

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NEWS

5

EDITORIAL

Richard Barnes

Editor-in-Chief,

ITB Berlin News

Culture meets culture

REVIEW EDITION

Friday 15 th March 2019

CONTENTS

News....................................... page 7

Responsible tourism............ page 18

Trade Talk............................. page 19

ITB Berlin Convention.......... page 24

Exclusive interviews............ page 27

Stand out stands.................. page 30

A TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

Asia............................................ page 34

Oceania....................................... page 38

Europe........................................ page 40

Americas.................................... page 42

Middle East................................ page 44

Africa.......................................... page 45

Where to Go in Berlin................ page 46

The handover from Malaysia – Official ITB

Berlin Partner Country 2019 – to Oman –

Official ITB Berlin Partner Country 2020,

represents the heart of what ITB Berlin is

all about when it comes to discovering,

understanding and promoting diversity

in cultures.

The meeting of these two cultures in

this way is interesting, as while each

is extraordinary, their bases are very

different. On the other hand, each

nation leads the way in its region when

it comes to culture.

A good example is Malaysia’s Istana

Budaya national theatre, renowned as

being number one in Asia since 1999,

while in Oman, at the initiative of Sultan

Qaboos, an accomplished musician

himself, the Sultanate was the first in the

region to open a veritable opera house

– in 2011.

Of course, Malaysia as a nation is very

young, while the Sultanate of Oman

dates back thousands of years. Malaysia’s

catch-phrase “Truly Asia” is based

on the fact that the nation is a highly

diverse collection of different cultures,

tribes, and national origins. This was

indeed demonstrated in no uncertain

terms at the opening event of ITB Berlin

which also stood out through its colour,

liveliness and professionalism. The

baton has now been passed to Oman, a

tiny nation in terms of population – just

over four million, with Omani nationals

making up around 60% of that. While

being at the “heart” of the Middle East,

bordering the UAE, Yemen and Saudi

Arabia, Oman is also renowned as

having a highly diverse culture, with

one reason no doubt being its strategic

location on the “Silk Road”. According to

Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi,

the nation’s Minister of Tourism, “We

are open to all cultures and all religions.

Churches and even Buddhist temples

can be found in Oman and have been

there for a long time”.

So, from Malaysia to Oman… from the

Far East to the Middle East. We look

forward to seeing how the Sultanate will

present its cultural riches at ITB Berlin

2020.

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ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


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NEWS

7

Dr Christian Göke

CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH

Dr Michael Frenzel

President of the Federal Association

of the German Tourism Industry

ITB Berlin 2019:

3% rise in trade visitors

The global growth engine that is the travel industry continues at full pace

Uninterrupted growth at a high

level: despite a slowdown in the

world economy demand within

the world’s travel industry remains

extremely stable. As ITB Berlin came

to a close last Sunday the economic

outlook for the global industry in

2019 is positive once again. The

results of the five-day exhibition

on the Berlin fairgrounds: trade

visitor numbers rose to 113,500,

a 3% increase compared with last

year, underlining the fact that even

in times of widespread uncertainty

due to geopolitical and economic

events such as Brexit and trade

conflicts, ITB Berlin has retained

its position as the World’s Leading

Travel Trade Show.

Trade visitors and exhibitors

alike were highly satisfied with

ITB Berlin 2019. In a survey,

they gave ITB Berlin top marks

for innovation. The trade show

celebrated the successful launch of

the Technology, Tours & Activities

(TTA) segment, among others.

Internationally, the ITB success

story continues. Having already

established ITB Asia in Singapore

and ITB China in Shanghai, from

15 to 17 April 2020 Messe Berlin

will be holding the first ITB India in

Mumbai. Within the travel industry

India is regarded as one of the

most important source markets of

the future.

ITB Berlin, which was booked up

months beforehand, is seen as a

reliable economic indicator and

forward-looking trendsetter of

the global travel industry. As a

recognised think tank and driving

force for the industry, the ITB Berlin

Convention was the main attraction

again for many trade visitors. This

year there was a record number

of high-ranking international

speakers. The CityCube Berlin, its

new venue, was also very well

received. Topics focused on by the

convention included overtourism,

sustainability and climate change,

the shift in customer demands

particularly in the luxury travel

market, and the topic of Future

Mobility.

ITB Berlin is of great importance,

particularly in times of widespread

uncertainty. Even in a digitalised

world, it is not possible for hitech

communications to replace

the confidence-building measure

that face-to-face meetings and a

direct exchange between business

partners on issues concerning the

global industry represent. That is

why ITB Berlin functions”, said Dr

Christian Göke, CEO of Messe

Berlin.

In Dr Göke’s view, there is good

reason to believe that the global

travel industry will do satisfactory

business in 2019. On the one hand

the travel industry had learned to

deal with the consequences of a

poorly performing economy, and

on the other there was clearly no

evidence yet of German consumers

displaying the lack of optimism

that had now spread throughout

the global economy, he said.

Dr Michael Frenzel, president of the

Federal Association of the German

Tourism Industry (BTW) said once

again, the trade show was a place to

inspire visitors to find out first-hand

about important forward-looking

topics, offering many opportunities

to get to know each other better:

“In a world in which the focus is

far too often on confrontation, it is

this understanding among peoples,

this cultural exchange – which the

tourism industry stands for more

than any other, and which year after

year is why ITB Berlin functions

– that is the bottom line. ‘Yes to

openness, and no to racism’: that

is the clear message that we as the

tourism industry continue to carry

to the four corners of the world.”

Norbert Fiebig, president of the

German Travel Association (DRV),

stated, “The German travel industry

is optimistic about business in a

year that will present us with a

number of challenges. Despite

ITB BERLIN IS OF GREAT

IMPORTANCE, PARTICULARLY

IN TIMES OF WIDESPREAD

UNCERTAINTY

that, Germans are as keen to travel

as ever and the industry is wellequipped

to meet the demand.

At ITB we exchanged views on

digitalisation and sustainability, the

main trends, and made progress

with our joint development

projects. We established many

international contacts and met old

and new friends.”

ITB Berlin 2020 will be taking place

from Wednesday, 4 to Sunday, 8

March, and from Wednesday to

Friday will be open to trade visitors

only

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


8 NEWS

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Dr Martin Buck

Senior Vice President Travel & Logistics,

Messe Berlin

ITB Berlin 2019: a new dynamic

Exclusive Interview: Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice President Travel

& Logistics, Messe Berlin

We sat down with Dr Martin Buck,

Senior Vice President Travel &

Logistics, Messe Berlin and asked

him how the show has gone this

year.

One of the highlights that impressed

me most was the introduction of the

new segment, Technology, Tours and

Activities, because this is actually the

last part of the travel value chain that

has not yet been digitalised. And now

we see strong dynamics for doing

this. This was an important part of

our convention this year, especially

in the eTravel World. What makes

me very proud is that we obviously

had perfect timing there – that we

succeeded in “smelling” what’s going

on, and this has been confirmed by the

excellent feedback we have had. The

presentations found a huge following,

and were quite crowded. We also

managed to acquire around 50 new

exhibitors in Hall 4.1, and the hall was

really buzzing. I was very happy that

the ITB team had the right instinct with

this. The second thing I like very much

is having the big guys from the online

travel industry, like Stephen Kaufer

from TripAdvisor, or Mark Okerstrom

from Expedia giving their presentations,

as they are not only entertaining, but

they really have something to say. It has

been very important for us to establish

the CityCube Berlin as the centre for our

convention for the first time. Its capacity

is double the size of what we had before

in Hall 7.1. It was a big risk, but proof of

concept has been delivered. The third

thing is the establishment of our show

in April 2020 in Mumbai, India. The idea

has been there for a while, because it’s

such a big market. In Asia, following

the success of our show in China, this

is the only big source market we had

not been covering directly. Bringing the

Indian buyers to Singapore or Shanghai

was difficult for several reasons, and

once again, the natural law of the trade

show business has confirmed itself: the

marketplace has to take place where

the demand is. So, if the demand is in

China, you have to be in China. If the

demand is in India, you have to be in

India. It’s always nice if you make the

announcement and two days later you

have the first bookings. I am happy

about the dynamics we are producing

at the moment and the shows we are

doing abroad. The big challenge that

remains is the digital challenge – with

our new platform ITB.com.

Next year’s ITB Berlin official partner

country is Oman. I know that many

countries are in the running each time.

Why did you choose Oman?

Just like our partner country this year,

Malaysia, Oman is an absolutely

wonderful country, but compared to

Malaysia, it’s the total absence of jungle

and the strong presence of desert. Oman

has a very deep history. It is not only a

beach destination or one for those who

want to visit the desert, it is one where

one can learn a lot about human history,

as it is a kind of ‘interface’ between the

oriental and the occidental worlds, and

has been so for thousands of years.

THE MARKETPLACE

HAS TO TAKE PLACE

WHERE THE DEMAND IS

It seems like there were even more

places this year where presentations

were taking place in addition to the

ITB Berlin Convention. Was this the

case?

Indeed, in addition to the CityCube, we

had the eTravel World, Hall 4.1 – the

adventure hall with two stage areas,

Hall 11 with the universities, and the

next big thing will be virtual reality…

having started 10.2 which will no doubt

grow… and AR will also be the next

big thing for NGOs. The know-how

and best practices are coming from the

gaming world.

What has feedback been like from

exhibitors this year?

I believe most of the exhibitors were

very happy. I also had the feeling the

atmosphere this year was very good

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


NEWS

9

ADVERTORIAL

Official “Handover Ceremony”

The Grand Final of ITB Berlin 2019 sees Tourism Malaysia senior

staff members warmly congratulated by management of ITB

Berlin

Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice

President Travel & Logistics,

Messe Berlin with Datuk

Musa HJ. Yusof, Director

General of Tourism Malaysia

Datuk Yusof handing over

the baton to Salim Aday Al

Mamari, Director General

of Tourism Promotion of the

Sultanate of Oman, the 2020

Official Partner Country

Mah Meri

The new Director General of Tourism Malaysia, Datuk Musa

HJ. Yusof was present at the official “farewell” for Malaysia

as Official Partner Country 2019 at 3:30pm on Sunday

10th March. Datuk Yusof and the entire support team were

handed certificates from ITB Berlin “in recognition of the

high commitment of Tourism Malaysia as the official partner

country and trustful cooperation among all partners”.

The certificates were handed over

by Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice

President Travel & Logistics, Messe

Berlin (organisers of ITB Berlin),

and Rika Jean-François, who is

both CSR commissioner and in

charge of partner country relations

for Messe Berlin. Following

this, the official “passing of the

baton” took place, with Datuk

Yusof handing over the baton to

Salim Aday Al Mamari, Director

General of Tourism Promotion of

the Sultanate of Oman, the 2020

Official Partner Country.

Dr Buck and Datuk Yusof

exchanged thanks and

congratulations for the excellent

relationship between the nation’s

tourism authority and ITB, a

relationship which, underlined

Datuk Yusof, dates back 47 years,

almost to the beginnings of ITB

itself. He in particular thanked ITB

Berlin for its support, while for his

part, Dr Buck stated that there was

no doubt that making Malaysia

official partner country this year

was “the right decision”.

As part of what was a highly

cultural event, dancers from

Istana Budaya, Malaysia’s national

theatre in Kuala Lumpur, opened

proceedings, with the Mah Meri

closing the event.

Coincidentally, Istana Budaya

this year celebrates its 20th

anniversary. Indeed, on a par

with the world’s best, Malaysia’s

National Theatre, 20 years after its

inception, is still number 1 in Asia,

and one of the top few worldwide.

Known locally as Istana Budaya, the

state-of-the-art theatre was officially

launched by the 4th Prime Minister

of Malaysia on September 15th,

1999. It is located in Kuala Lumpur

and covers a total area of 5.44 acres

with the physical dimensions of

the theatre encompassing 21,000

square meters. Its architectural

design is based on a blend of

various aspects of Malay traditional

culture. Malaysia’s National Theatre

takes pride as being the #1 theatre

in Asia, and one just a few in the

world with such sophisticated

state-of-the-art stage mechanism

for theatre performances, staging

musical theatres from drama to

comedy and concerts from classical

to pop.

Local arts & culture are highlighted,

providing opportunities for

creative expression and enhancing

excellence in performing arts.

Istana Budaya’s main function is

to provide quality entertainment

to the public, in accordance with

Malaysia’s National Culture Policy.

Istana Budaya continues to

upgrade its technologies to be

on par with those used by other

theatres in the world. These

include computer-controlled stage

mechanisms, lighting systems,

audio visual systems, and special

effects. The Panggung Sari stage

consists of 4 double deck stage

lifts and 5 moving platforms

also known as wagons. Double

deck stage lift can be elevated or

lowered up to 4.5 meters from the

stage level. The moving platforms

are made up of 4 side wagons and

1 rear wagon. The 4 side wagons

are movable side to side and the

rear wagon can be moved to the

front and back. There are also

61 fly bars and a staggering 169

point hoists. The speed, levels

and points of these mechanisms

can be controlled individually

or in formation. Combined with

their network of state-of-the art

lighting, audio visual and special

effects systems, the stage offers

endless possibilities in creating

spectacular stage orchestrations

for any form of stage productions.

The Mah Meri (meaning “jungle

man”) is a group of indigenous

people or “orang asli” living on

Carey Island, about 28km south of

the city of Klang in Selangor state,

and just a couple of hours’ drive

from Kuala Lumpur. There are five

MAKING MALAYSIA

OFFICIAL PARTNER COUNTRY

THIS YEAR WAS “THE RIGHT

DECISION”.

Mah Meri villages on Carey Island

with total population about 4,000.

Mah Meri is indeed a subgroup

of the Senoi ethnic group of

indigenous people in Malaysia.

Senoi are generally found in the

central part of the Malaysian

peninsular, and are believed to

have come originally from Yunnan

via Southern Thailand around

10,000 years ago

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


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Awards @ ITB Berlin

ITB Berlin is renowned not only

as a meeting place and platform

for thought leadership… that

thought leadership is rewarded in

a number of award ceremonies

during the show. These include

the LGBT Pioneer Awards, To Do

Awards, Columbus Awards, the ITB

BuchAwards… the list goes on.

At the book awards, winners

included Cristina Mittermeier and

Paul Nicklen, Andrew Solomon,

Marco d’Eramo, Olivier Rolin, Per J.

Andersson, Joshua Foer with Dylan

Thuras and Ella Morton, Matias

Faldbakken, Elke Heidenreich and

Tom Krausz, Ilija Trojanow, Roberto

Saviano and Giovanni di Lorenzo,

Frank Vorpahl, Peter Hinze, Fredy

Gareis, Rüdiger Frank and the

publisher Roland Esterbauer. On

this page, we also highlight a few

of the other top award events.

SUSTAINABLE DESTINATIONS:

WORLD’S TOP TEN

ANNOUNCED @ ITB

BERLIN

Making women visible

in tourism

Female executives and entrepreneurs

in tourism, politics, media and NGOs

again came together at the Palais am

Funkturm at ITB Berlin on the eve of

International Women’s Day for the

Celebrating Her Awards.

Women and their qualities shape the

business world by mutually supporting

each other, working tenaciously

to improve working conditions

for women and gender equality,

exchanging views with one another,

and by building and maintaining

a close network of contacts. In this

case, they each persistently shape

their own area of tourism into a

sustainable, peace-making, and

flourishing industry. “Each one of

you is a role model for every one of

us,” said US Moderator and Strategic

Advisor Anita Mendiratta of CNN’s

TASK Group.

The Celebrating Her Award is presented

in five categories. This year, Egyptian

Minister of Tourism Rania al Mashat

was happy to receive the award for

Tourism Policy and Leadership, her

Greek colleague Elena Kountoura for

Tourism Strategy and Resilience, and

long-time fighter Mechthild Maurer,

CEO of ECPAT Germany, committed

to socially responsible tourism, for

Child Protection in Tourism. ITB

is a member of ECPAT as well. In

her words of introduction, Anita

Mendiratta spoke about how, for

over 25 years, winner Jane Madden,

managing partner of FINN Partners,

has given a voice to the voiceless and

looks where others turn away. Jane

Madden received the Sustainability

Award for her dedication to Corporate

Social Responsibility. Founder and

President Helen Marano of Marano

Perspectives was honoured by the

UNWTO community. The long-time

advocate sent her thanks in a video

message

The world’s Sustainable Top Destinations – by

Greendestinations.com were announced at ITB Berlin

on 6th March.

Sustainable tourism is

usually a success when all

those involved – in politics,

administrations, neighbours

and local residents – become

part of the effort, and that

is something the top ten

sustainable destinations who

received awards at ITB Berlin

will know about.

The competition is contested

over a period of one year.

To begin, 100 sustainable

destinations qualify for the

first round, after which the

finalists are selected who

present themselves in front

of a large audience, and a

panel including members

of 12 leading international

organisations at the Palais am

Funkturm.

Oman receives PATWA

culture award at ITB Berlin

The Sultanate of Oman made a new

achievement in the tourism sector as it was

awarded the “Best Destination - Heritage &

Culture” in 2019 by the Pacific Area Travel

Writers Association (PATWA), an official

UNWTO affiliate. HE Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin

Hamed Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism,

received the Sultanate’s award, on the

sidelines of ITB Berlin from Dr Taleb Rifai,

former UNWTO Secretary-General, and

Sagar Ahluwalia, the Secretary General

of Pacific Area Travel Writers Association

(PATWA)

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

THE WINNERS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Best in Cities, Communities &

Culture: QualityCoast, Western

Portugal; Best in Nature: Chobe

Makgadikgadi Okavango and

Selinda, Botswana; Best in

Seasides: Dutch QualityCoast

Delta, Netherlands; The Earth

Award: Kingdom of Bhutan;

Best in Europe: Slovenia’s

Green Destinations; Best in

Africa: Volcanoes National

Park, Rwanda; Best in the

Asian-Pacific region: High

Pamirs Mountain Region,

Tajikistan; Best in the

Americas: Vail in Colorado,

USA; Best in the Atlantic: the

Azores (Portugal); Best in the

Mediterranean: Gozo, Malta.

The theme of this year’s

competition was “Tourism

benefiting local communities”.

It was the first time the awards

ceremony took place at ITB

Berlin. According to Albert

Salman, director of Green

Destinations, it had become

clear that the award-winning

top ten destinations were

the best of the best in terms

of quality, attractiveness and

sustainable tourism

www.itb-berlin-news.com


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NEWS

11

Delicious

Indonesia

Working very closely with

the UNWTO, Indonesia

was strongly placing the

spotlight at ITB Berlin 2019

on Gastronomy Tourism.

Vita Datau, head of the Culinary and

Shopping Tourism Acceleration

Team for Indonesia’s Tourism

Ministry, says five destinations

have been selected for special

attention: Ubud (Bali), Yogyakarta,

Solo, Semarang and Bandung.

A year after beginning a programme

with UNWTO in Ubud, results are

already forthcoming. “We just did

our preliminary report, and it will

be used by UNWTO as baseline

report to assess Ubud soon on

May 2019,” explains Datau.

“The programme will take more

than a year before UNWTO can

make a final announcement that

Ubud is fulfilling the requirement

as Gastronomy Destination

Prototype. The process is excellent,

as it encourages the stakeholders

to contribute actively in finishing

up the report, and also motivates

the industry to enhance the service

quality and promoting Ubud in the

same time.”

Spices, vegetables, fruits, wine

and coffee all form part of Bali’s

cuisine, with some Ubud

restaurants regularly making it

into lists of top restaurants in

Asia. The region is of course

also renowned for its “Babi

Guling” – roasted suckling pig,

a speciality in Bali.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Health

and Ministry of Tourism are also

working to create food hygiene and

safety standards across the nation,

working together to develop

standards to be implemented

along with a massive training and

certification programme.

Several strategies are being

developed in order to develop

Gastronomy Tourism:

• Strategy #1: Working with the

Head of Region, or the owner of

a destination, to improve facilities

for culinary and shopping tourism;

• Strategy #2: Working with

communities and industries to

promote culinary tourism in the

region;

• Strategy #3: Working with

100 Indonesian Diaspora

Restaurants all over the world

as official partners of Wonderful

Indonesia to promote Indonesia

as a culinary destination, through

their social media and in their

restaurants, as well as through

their customers.

Datau says she hopes the new

strategies will encourage more

tourists from countries such as

France, Italy and Spain, where

gastronomy plays an important

part of day-to-day life

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


12 NEWS

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AirDNA shines

spotlight on global

holiday rentals

AirDNA presented its

flagship tool MarketMinder

which displays key

hospitality metrics for

Airbnb and HomeAway

rentals worldwide, which

helps users to make

informed pricing decisions,

spot peaks in travel demand,

and better understand how

their properties stack up

against competitors.

The tool also provides

insights into the best

locations for short-term

rental investing. With

neighbourhood and

postcode level analytics

available for all major

markets worldwide, the

web app allows users to

explore different parts of

town and discover the

most profitable areas to

launch a vacation rental

business.

AirDNA’s Market Summary

Reports sheds light on

the true impact and

opportunity of vacation

rentals for destination

marketing organisations.

Local authorities and

tourism boards can use

AirDNA data to put together

accurate reporting, market

strategically and devise

effective tax policy.

And in the near future, the

demand for short-term

rentals shows no signs of

slowing down

Duetto reaches 150,000

rooms milestone in Europe

Hospitality tech firm Duetto said it now

provides revenue strategy solutions

to more than 870 hotels, representing

150,000 rooms in Europe, Middle East

& Africa.

Duetto said it continues to grow its

presence in Europe, Middle East and

Africa (EMEA), welcoming 10 new

hotel companies in 2018.

The San Francisco-based hospitality

tech firm now services more than 50

hotel companies across EMEA. In 2018,

Duetto welcomed some of Europe’s

leading hotel brands to its platform.

The H-Hotels Group added its

portfolio of about 60 properties in the

DACH region (Germany, Austria and

Switzerland) to Duetto in mid 2018,

with plans to add further properties

as it expands into other European

destinations.

Family-owned H-Hotels Group

operates more than 10,000 rooms

across its own brands: Hyperion, H4

Hotels, H2 Hotels, H+ Hotels, H.omes

and H.ostels, making it one of the

largest hotel operators in the region.

In November, Duetto announced its

partnership with luxury hotel group

Firmdale Hotels, which consists of eight

luxury properties in central London

and two in New York, including Ham

Yard Hotel in London and The Whitby

Hotel in New York

CHINESE

OUTBOUND

TOURISTS SET TO

DOUBLE IN FIVE

YEARS

Terry von Bibra

European General Manager

of the Chinese platform,

Alibaba

Prof Dr Wolfgang Arlt, Director of

the COTRI China Outbound Tourism

Research Institute, has announced at

ITB Berlin that the number of Chinese

people who can afford to travel

internationally will double to 600

million in five years.

A Deep Dive Session (a new debate

format at ITB Berlin), was devoted to

the question of “How European hotels

and tour operators can take part in

this boom”. The debate was animated

by Terry von Bibra, European General

Manager of the Chinese platform

Alibaba. Alibaba, often called the

“Chinese Amazon”, is currently used

by 642 million people. It should,

according to research, reach two

billion by 2036.

Alibaba also offers a travel app within

its platform: Fliggy is mainly used

by Chinese millennials. “58% of our

users are born after 1999,” says von

Bibra. However, Alibaba does not see

itself as the industry’s only player, but

instead, as a technical “enabler” for

its partners in the market. Fliggy is,

therefore, not an online travel agency

but an “online travel marketplace.”

This means that Fliggy offers access to

the Chinese source market. The system

also includes a mobile payment option

called Alipay, common in China, and

every Fliggy customer is required to

register. Fliggy’s goal is to connect

local partners from all regions of

the world and make them accessible

to Chinese tourists, says von Bibra.

These partners can implement ‘postpost-payment

options’ as permitted

by the legal framework.

There are already partnerships

between Fliggy and large tour

operators and international hotel

groups. But what about small tour

and activity operators and boutique

hotels? “This is still complicated,”

von Bibra acknowledged, as the

expense of implementation is not to

be underestimated. However, Alibaba

provides experts that can assist when

entering the booming Chinese source

market

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


BROUGHT

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NEWS

13

Launching The Originals brand

New

“Originals”

brand

targets

authentic

travellers

A fundamental shift in tastes is

driving customers to travel locally

and enjoy a fuller experience in

unique hotels. This desire for

authenticity has breathed life into

a next-generation hotel brand: The

Originals, Human Hotels & Resorts.

Founded 50 years ago by six

independent hoteliers, the SEH

United Hoteliers group developed

into the fourth-biggest French hotel

group. It also became Europe’s

leading hotel cooperative with more

than 600 hotels. With its vision of

authentic hotel services, the group

has now united all hoteliers under

a single new brand. “We created

The Originals, Human Hotels and

Resorts to meet the new needs of

travellers: a hotel brand offering a

unique, human, full, personalised

experience. Our aim is to develop

this brand across Europe and

showcase and pool the knowhow

of thousands of independent

hoteliers,” says Philippe Marguet,

Chairman of The Originals, Human

Hotels & Resorts Board.

The wide range of hotels offers

world travellers a rich palette of

experiences and stays – from budget

to luxury. The brand comprises

six hotel offers, with different,

easy-to-remember experiences for

travellers: The Originals Collection:

luxury hotels with exceptional

spirit and character; The Originals

Relais: high-end hotels located

in the countryside, by the sea or

in the mountains; The Originals

Boutique: hotels in city centres

with style and personality; The

Originals Residence: fully equipped

apartments, offering all the services

of a hotel; The Originals City:

city hotels, perfect for a work or

family trip; The Originals Access:

contemporary and functional hotels

close to major roads.

This development has also

led to a digital and marketing

transformation. By the end of the

year, The Originals, Human Hotels

& Resorts will provide guests

with a booking site presenting the

group’s 600 hotels and showcasing

the know-how and originality of

each hotelier. There will also be a

quick and easy three-click booking

module, and a paperless loyalty and

reward programme

Mauritius: Romance,

culture and gastronomy

Arvind

Bundhun

Director of the Mauritius Tourism

Promotion Authority

With Mauritius awarded the title

“World’s Most Romantic Destination

2018” at the World Travel Awards in

December, it’s no wonder tourism

has been enjoying a renaissance in

the Indian Ocean island nation.

“Tourism is a major engine of

economic growth in the Mauritian

economy,” Arvind Bundhun, Director

of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion

Authority, told ITB Berlin News.

“We have been substantially growing

the tourism industry by almost 5%

per year,” he said, adding that the

country has quickly reached its

target of 1.4 annual million visitors,

a figure that promises to expand.

“Tourism is quite Eurocentric in

Mauritius,” says Bundhun about a

Europe-dominated source market.

Traditionally led by France and the

UK, this market has been buoyed by

a large rise in arrivals from Germany.

“We are very confident of maintaining

this trend,” Bundhun said of a

German market that increased by

10% in 2018.

This uptick was showcased with

over 40 tour operators in attendance

at an impressive Mauritius ITB Berlin

stand that punches well above the

island nation’s weight.

As Mauritius taps deeper into the

growing luxury resort market, the

nation’s tourism growth should be

further helped by emerging source

markets such as China and Saudi

Arabia.

But while tropical beaches are the

classical selling point, culture is

another major draw in a nation

where Hindu, Muslim, Chinese and

Christian cultural traditions live

side-by-side. “It’s not just a sun and

sea destination. You have different

cultures, different cuisines,” notes

Bundhun, adding that “there’s

something about Mauritius that

other destinations don’t have: our

service.”

“The Mauritian is at the heart of

the industry, and they are known to

provide this legendary service with

a smile,” he said. “That what makes

Mauritius different.”

Mauritius will be further showcasing

this unique selling point to the wider

travel industry when it hosts the

World Travel Awards Gala for Africa

and the Indian Ocean in June 2019

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


14 NEWS

BROUGHT

TO YOU BY

AMERICAN AIRLINES

RETURNS TO BERLIN

AFTER 25 YEAR

ABSENCE

Mohamed Sallauddin

Hj Mat Sah

General Manager Airline

Marketing, Malaysia Airports

The world’s largest airline American Airlines is

back in Berlin after 25 years absence and will also

inaugurate new flights to Munich on a seasonal basis.

And there are positive signs that new routes from

Berlin to Philadelphia and from Munich to Charlotte

and Dallas might turn permanent in the future.

Malaysia Airports:

Kuching sees

fastest growth

Malaysia Airports (MAHB) is

expecting to accommodate

over 104 million passengers

at its 39 airports in 2019, after

passing the 100-million mark

in 2018. We asked General

Manager Airline Marketing

Mohamed Sallaudin Hj Mat

Sah which airports grew the

fastest.

Connectivity is improving in many of

our airports and we have registered

large interest from airlines for

Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu and Penang.

For example, Penang is now linked to

the Gulf for the first time, thanks to

Qatar Airways, which also launches

flights this year to Langkawi. Last

year, Kuching was however the

fastest growing airport up by 9% in

total passengers traffic followed by

Kota Kinabalu and Penang with 8%.

Please tell us more about the

group’s evolution in 2018.

We are generally happy that we

reached the 100-million passenger

mark last year although we saw

growth moderating due to external

factors such as national elections. For

2019, we now expect further growth

of 3.5% to around 104.5 million

passengers.

How is your future development

going? Any increases in capacity?

We are already thinking about

the way to extend Kuala Lumpur

International Airport as we slowly

approach our saturation point. Our

two terminals have a total capacity

of 75 million passengers and we are

currently working to optimize KLIA

Main Terminal to stretch capacity to

33 million. We also look at expanding

Penang as total capacity is currently

for 6.5 million passengers while

last year the airport received 7.7

million passengers. We are working

on a masterplan which is due to be

released soon. Kuching is also to be

expanded in the near future.

How important is ITB Berlin for

MAHB?

We actually chose Berlin to renew

our marketing cooperation with

Condor airlines in partnership with

Tourism Malaysia. We also seized

opportunities to talk with airlines and

tour operators

American Airlines is

expanding its services in

Germany by adding three new

routes in 2019 from Berlin

Tegel to Philadelphia and

from Munich to Charlotte and

Dallas/ Fort Worth. For Berlin

it will be a historical event as

American only flew there for a

brief time 25 years ago.

“Launching three new routes

from Berlin and Munich to

the US is a welcome addition

to the German market,”

said Tom Lattig, Managing

Director Europe Middle East

Sales for the airline. “We

chose the route from Berlin to

Philadelphia as it is one of our

most important hubs in the

Northeast. For Charlotte and

Dallas Fort Worth to Munich,

we see strong economic

potential. These new routes

will also facilitate connections

from Germany to the rest of

North America, the Caribbean

and Latin America.”

“Philadelphia is the third North

American destination to be

served non-stop from Berlin.

This will further strengthen

tourism and the economy of

the capital region. Almost

950.000 passengers flew

from Berlin to North America

and back in 2018. And I can

assure American Airlines that

the new BER airport will open

its doors in October 2020,

providing excellent facilities

to the airline,” said Engelbert

Lütke Daldrup, CEO of

Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg

GmbH.

“With 2.7 million passengers

per year, the USA is Munich

Airport’s largest non-

European market. The new

routes will significantly

enhance the overall

connectivity for Munich and

Bavaria”, added Thomas

Weyer, Chief Financial Officer

Munich Airport.

Berlin will be flown four times

weekly over the summer

from Philadelphia while

both Munich-Charlotte and

Munich-Dallas will be served

on a daily service. Charlotte

will however be flown on a

year-round basis

American Airlines press

conference at ITB Berlin 2019

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


BROUGHT

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NEWS

15

MESSE BERLIN TO

BECOME MEMBER OF

THE WORLD TOURISM

ALLIANCE (WTA)

James Jianzhang Liang

Co-founder, Executive Chairman of the Board,

Ctrip, at ITB China 2018

Ctrip chairman to

deliver keynote at

ITB China 2019

Event set to build on the success of the

2018 edition with even more industry

insights

With 4,000 attendees featuring 120

speakers and 70 topics last year, ITB

China trade show and conference

is expecting to build on the success

of the 2018 event. Top speakers

from China’s leading travel service

provider and Conference Partner

Ctrip, Partner Hotel Wyndham,

Partner limousine services Shouqi,

Mafengwo and many more will

provide exciting insights into their

markets.

China’s travel think tank will

kick off with a keynote speech by

James Liang, Chairman of Ctrip,

on 15 May, 10.10 am in Room A.

He said: “I am proud to be in the

travel industry, which enables

people to move around, facilitates

the communication of information

and cultures, stimulates innovation

in the society, and leads mankind

to constant exploration. Thanks to

ITB China for providing a platform

of communication and cooperation

in travel.”

Decision-makers and opinionformers

from the Chinese and

international travel industry will

impart their knowledge at the third

ITB China Conference 2019, set to

take place from 15 to 17 May at the

Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and

Conference Centre. The Conference

runs in parallel to ITB China, the

business to business travel trade

fair that focuses exclusively on the

Chinese travel industry, and is coorganised

by leading conference

organizer TravelDail.

THANKS TO

ITB CHINA FOR

PROVIDING A

PLATFORM OF

COMMUNICATION

AND

COOPERATION IN

TRAVEL

The three-day conference will

provide up-to-date key insights

relating to topics such as:

Destination, Travel Tech, Online

Travel, MICE, Business Travel and

Education and Job Day

WTA members include

national tourism associations,

influential tourism enterprises,

academic institutes and other

institutions from around the

world. Messe Berlin, which

is among the top ten trade

fair and event organizers

worldwide, has been officially

awarded membership

of the World Tourism

Alliance. The partnership

will help strengthen the

communication between the

global and Chinese travel

industry. Through deep

cooperation and the support

and commitment of the WTA

sustainable tourism growth

WTA’s Secretary-General,

Mr. Liu Shijun and

Dr.Martin Buck,

Senior Vice President,

Travel & Logistics

Messe Berlin

In other ITB Chinarelated

developments,

the Adventure Travel

Trade Association (ATTA)

has been confirmed as

the Official Adventure

Travel Partner for ITB

China 2019. For the first

time, the association will

join China’s travel trade

show with a dedicated

pavilion supporting its

members, destinations and

tour operators, in doing

business with Chinese

buyers.

Shannon Stowell, CEO,

ATTA said: “We are thrilled

to cooperate with ITB

China and co-host the

first Adventure Pavilion.

from China can be fostered.

WTA’s Secretary-General,

Liu Shijun attended multiple

events at ITB Berlin and met

with David Axiotis, General

Manager of ITB China and

Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice

President, Travel & Logistics

Messe Berlin, to talk about

possible initiatives and

projects. “We are very much

honored that Messe Berlin

has joined WTA and confident

that with its expertise and

experience we can build

a more competitive and

responsible tourism industry

for the benefit of all”, said Liu

Shijun

ATTA PARTNERS

ITB CHINA

The ATTA is committed to

developing a high standard

of adventure travel

throughout the world, and

believe that our partnership

with ITB China can bring

long-lasting benefits. ITB

China’s foresight to include

adventure travel as a main

component of the 2019

event is exemplary. It will

undoubtedly stimulate the

delegates to explore the

authentic and meaningful

experiences that adventure

travel can bring. We look

forward to this next step

in developing adventure

travel connections

between China and our

international community”

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


16 NEWS

BROUGHT

TO YOU BY

ITB India 2020 launch unveiled

ITB makes its way to the South Asian subcontinent in 2020

with the inaugural edition of ITB India

Organised by world-leading

trade fair company Messe

Berlin, ITB India will be

a three-day business-tobusiness

travel trade show

and convention focusing on

the Indian travel market. It

will take place at the Bombay

Exhibition Centre in Mumbai,

India, from 15 to 17 April

2020.

India’s outbound travel expenditure

increased 7% on average year-onyear

between 2006 and 2016 and

saw an even higher growth rate of

8.5% from 2015 to 2016. This was

higher than growth rates seen by

China, Indonesia, and Brazil.

“In recent years, we have given

the ITB brand an increasingly

international dimension,” said Dr.

Christian Göke, Chief Executive

Officer of Messe Berlin. “From a

global and regional perspective,

India is a vast source market for the

travel industry with a huge growth

potential. We are delighted that ITB

India will in future complement

the trio of ITB Berlin, ITB Asia and

ITB China, making it a quartet

and strengthening the global ITB

brand.”

The new ITB India show will bring

together travel industry leaders

and buyers from cities across India,

and international exhibitors from

the MICE, leisure and corporate

sectors. ITB India will also have a

Hosted Buyers’ Programme that

will cater to buyers from first,

second, and third tier cities in

India.

India’s economic growth means

that its citizens are earning more

disposable income to spend on

travel. India’s outbound travel

expenditure increased 7% on

average year-on-year between

2006 and 2016 and saw an even

higher growth rate of 8.5% in travel

expenditure from 2015 to 2016.

This rate was considerably higher

than growth rates seen by other

major countries including China,

Indonesia and Brazil for the same

period.

“Having successfully run eleven

editions of ITB Asia, it is logical for

us to progress to the next frontier of

travel in Asia,” said Katrina Leung,

Managing Director of Messe Berlin

in Singapore, the organiser of ITB

India.

“We’re proud to be supporting

Messe Berlin in organising its

premier event in the Indian

market,” commented Bernhard

Steinrücke, Director General, Indo-

German Chamber of Commerce.

“As ITB is a renowned international

brand, we’re delighted to be a key

partner and together make ITB

India the leading travel trade event

for the India market.”

Of the buyers at ITB India, 50% are

expected to focus on leisure travel,

with MICE and corporate travel

buyers making up the remainder

with 25% respectively. Almost a

third of all buyers at ITB India are

expected to have a purchasing

power of more than US$1 million.

C-suite level and key decision

makers are expected to make

the bulk of buyers present at ITB

India with 70% of them from this

segment. 86% of expected buyers

at ITB India will also be from the

western and northern parts of

India.

The excitement about ITB India was

evident at ITB India Night, which

took place on Thursday, March

7. Hosted by ITB Asia and Messe

Berlin (Singapore), the event was

an opportunity to spend an evening

with key leaders, networking and

exchanging ideas on opportunities

in the India travel market. The

event took place in a relaxed

atmosphere, with finger food and

an open bar at Solar – Sky Lounge

& Restaurant, Stresemannstraße

76, 10963 Berlin, next to the

Brandenburg Gate

Incredible India ambassadors

at ITB Berlin

WOMEN IN

RAJASTHAN

UNDER

SPOTLIGHT

AT ITB

BERLIN

A seminar was conducted at ITB Berlin

2019 on issues related to women

travellers to Rajasthan. Rajasthan

tourism organised a talk on the occasion

of international woman’s day at their

stand on 8 March at ITB Berlin 2019.

Photo: Ms Meenakshi Sharma, Addl

DG, Ministry of Tourism, India; Dagmar

Gehm, Journalist; Ms Claire Martignier,

Founder India and You; Ms Sreya Guha,

Principal Secretary, Dept of tourism,

Govt of Rajasthan and Dr Punita Singh,

Jt Director, Dept of Tourism, Govt of

Rajasthan.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


BROUGHT

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NEWS

17

BLOGGERS’ FAVOURITES

Sneak picks from a selection of bloggers at ITB Berlin

Roberta Rianna

Editor in Chief, L’Agenzia di Viaggi at Dugi Otok

Escape from the overtourism

in Dugi Otok

by Roberta Rianna, Editor in Chief, L’Agenza di

Viaggi, Travel Trade Newspaper

“Hi Pavarotti, singing in the shower? Do not do it, wash

quickly, here water is precious”. Maks and Dana welcome

us in their Stone House Buljanovic, a stylish b&b in Dugi

Otok, the land tongue of the Zadar archipelago, in Croatia.

A welcome that is the first and fundamental lesson of life

on the Long Island: respect the resources of the earth, food,

even money, because there are only a couple of ATMs here

and the connection is interrupted at the first drop of rain. It

is likely, if not certain, to run out of cash and find yourself

asking to borrow Kune to the inhabitants. Inhabitants soon

turned into friends.

Never heard of Dugi Otok

before coming across a

documentary: filmed by

drones of cobalt blue bays,

44 kilometres of steep curves

on the Adriatic, barely a

thousand dwellers. And then

the final invitation: “Come,

people, here you will find the

Maldives of Croatia”.

We arrive at the port of Sali,

sleepy mooring of yachts

and sailboats. Our house

is on the harbour, from the

window you can see the

sea: crystalline as in the

documentary. But the coast

is mostly rocky. Nothing

to do with the Maldives,

except for the white sandy

beach of Sakarun, the only

overcrowded destination of

Dugi Otok.

We decide to rent a scooter

and ride it across this Long

Island, and yet small. From

the park of Telašćica, green

and wild with its magical salt

lake, to the extreme north

where the lighthouse of Veli

Rat reigns. On the right, the

sea with the Kornati on the

horizon; on the left bushes

and shrubs. The whistle of the

wind and the buzzing of the

bees as the only soundtrack

of an island where Mother

Nature still commands

Transfăgărășan

Transfixed by Transylvania

by Rashi Sen, Editor,

Travel & Tourism News Middle East

Since I read Bram Stoker’s

Dracula in my early teens,

I have always dreamt of visiting

the mysterious Carpathian

Mountains of Romania, home

to spooky legends, Romani

gypsies and virgin, dark forests.

Seven days in the country and

we realised that rustic Romania

is all that and much, much

more. The Merry Cemetery in

Sapanta, the wooden churches

of Maramures and the stunning

Transfăgărășan were just some

of the places we were lucky

enough to visit.

My husband, my two-yearold

daughter and myself

started our road trip from Cluj-

Napoca, the unofficial capital of

Transylvania, from where we

drove to Sapanta close to the

northern border of Romania.

Sapanta is home to one of

the most unique cemeteries

around the world - most of the

tombstones are painted in a

striking blue colour, mirroring

the sky. The Merry Cemetery

gets its name from the poems,

paintings and stories that

are inscribed on all the 600

tombstones in this cemetery.

The paintings often cite a funny

anecdote from the deceased

one’s life, such as an angry

mother-in-law or a flirtatious

drunk.

This cemetery is not one to

miss if you are a taphophile or a

tombstone tourist – as the blue

cemetery is one of those rare

cemeteries that do not leave

you feeling blue.

Next on the cards for us were the

centuries-old wooden churches

of Maramures, eight of which

have been awarded Unesco

World Heritage Site status. As

darkness fell and as the last of

the tall dark wooden churches

faded into the horizon, we drove

south towards Transfăgărășan,

one of the country’s highest and

most expensive roads.

Transfăgărășan is, without a

doubt, the most stunning road we

have ever driven on, and we have

done all the top drives of Europe:

the winding roads interspersed

with stunning glimpses of Lake

Balea completely did us in but

the imposing fortress of Vlad The

Impaler looming in the distance

was definitely the cherry on the

cake

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


18 RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

Rika Jean-François

CSR Commissioner at ITB Berlin

Environment, equality,

rights and respect

Rika Jean-François, CSR Commissioner at ITB Berlin

on Responsible Tourism at ITB Berlin

We asked Ms Jean-François

what the highlights have

been…

During this year’s ITB we once

again celebrated International

Women’s Day, which had been

recently declared a National

Holiday in the city state of

Berlin. There is hope. We are

working on it. I am proud to

have gathered many excellent

and engaged women especially

at our 2 nd Gender Equality in

Tourism Seminar and at the

4th ITB-IIPT “Celebrating Her

Awards” which took place

at the Palais in the eve of

that new, remarkable Berlin

Holiday. Male allies are always

welcome – we still have a long

way to go. On 8th March, we

hosted a SheTrades panel in

the Palais and welcomed many

special female guests at our

renowned ITB – Blue Yonder

Responsible Tourism Network

Event in the evening at 6 pm in

hall 4.1b.

Another subject close to your

heart is Human Rights in

Tourism. Please tell us more.

At ITB, we foster dialogue

and controversial discussions,

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

as they pave the way to

awareness. Violations of

human rights are manifold;

may they be because of age,

gender, looks, colour of skin,

disability, medical condition,

economic status, origin, sexual

orientation. It is important to

address each one of them and

to search for solutions rather

than looking away. Tourism

can help to open doors and to

fight discrimination. It will even

pay: On ITB Thursday we had a

vibrant discussion on whether

respecting human rights

could economically benefit a

destination. Indigenous rights

and the challenge to promote

an indigenous tourism which

is a respectful and communitybenefitting,

an often neglected

subject, were addressed on

Wednesday. One of the biggest

challenges of the future is

climate change. A 16-yearold

girl from Sweden, Greta

Thunberg, has become a global

leader, skipping school on

Fridays to demonstrate against

the environmental sell-out –

shaming and opening the eyes

of all of us. School children

from all over the world are

joining in.

Climate change, innovative

mobility and changing

customer demands were other

key topics. What was discussed

there?

The ITB CSR Day, among

other significant subjects, also

addressed the pollution of our

waters: 10 million tons of litter

is dumped into the sea per

year. This is not only having

a negative impact on idyllic

beach holiday destinations and

tourism but on our ecosystem

as a whole. To support best

practices, ITB is proud to

give out the ITB Earth Award

to the Republic of Palau, a

destination showing global

leadership in combatting

environmental degradation in

the frame of the Sustainable

Top 100 Destination Awards

Ceremony that took place

on Wednesday in the Palais.

“There is no business on a

dead planet!” Thank you for

not looking away, thank you

for participating and getting

involved!

ENHANCING

TRAVELLERS’

EXPERIENCE

AND

MAXIMISING

THE BENEFITS

OF TOURISM

FOR LOCALS

WITH SOCIAL

IMPACT TOURS

Anula Galewska, Responsible

Business Manager, Urban

Adventures, Australia took to the

stage in the Adventure Hall (4.1)

to shed light on a case study of “In

Focus” tours by Urban Adventures,

followed by practical tips on how

to design one’s own social impact

tours that maximise benefits for

locals and enhance traveller’s

experience. Social impact tours can

make travel into a transformational

experience, letting travellers

explore places from a completely

different angle and support causes

they truly care about. In Focus grew

from Urban Adventures’ desire to

give back to the communities. Their

topics range from supporting Syrian

refugees in Istanbul, to helping

Kenyan women start their own

businesses, to reef conservation

in the Maldives. Each tour focuses

on a local issue and community inneed.

While the experiences vary

in each destination, they all bring

travellers face-to-face with a local

issue and a program designed to

address that issue.

BEST CASES

FROM INDIA

Also on the adventure stage,

Jayanthi Raghavan, Founder, Travel

Responsibly and Sustainably,

India delivered bets practices from

India and featured destinations

for responsible and sustainable

tourism. The presentation included

a quick peep into four states in

India, and included a short video of

each destination, followed by a case

study from the destination. The case

studies will include Best practice

cases of homestays, community

tourism, rural tourism, wildlife

conservation, projects that give

an alternative source of income to

artisans, help conserve and promote

languishing arts etc

www.itb-berlin-news.com


19

BROUGHT

TO YOU BY

Arie Linsker

CEO and COO, JetaLimo

Delivering luxury to a

broader demographic

JetaLimo targets

glamping and family

travel

Paul Gorman

Senior Manager – Owner

Engagement, Luxury Escapes

ITB Berlin News spoke to Arie Linsker, CEO and COO at

JetaLimo. We asked him about his company and focus at

ITB Berlin.

JetaLimo is a fast track and

transfers integrator connecting

travellers and agencies to its travel

suppliers across the globe

What are the main trends you are

seeing in terms of buyer demand?

There is no easy way to pre-book

a transfer in advance at a remote

location. JetaLimo was the first to

introduce the real-time, seamless

booking of this great airport

solution. To date we cover over

275 airports and only a handful

of competitors have joined in

the auto-provisioning of these

solutions.

What are you hoping to gain from

this year’s ITB Berlin?

Over the last three years of

participation at ITB Berlin,

JetaLimo has recruited 271 affiliates

worldwide who are the backbone

of our operation. We believe in

strong, profitable relationships

with our local providers, without

compromising on quality and

pricing for our clients. We hope to

recruit as many as an additional 75

affiliates this year to buy services

from the across the globe.

Are you interested in particular

travel themes?

There are two travel channels

we are interested in this year,

glamping and family travel. We’ve

seen tremendous amount of

growth in these two channels over

the past few months.

How important is the speed dating

organised at ITB for you?

I strongly believe that the speed

dating during ITB is the single

most important event of the entire

show. It creates the perfect energy

for conducting fast pace business

and achieving the utmost results

in just a few hours.

WE HOPE

TO RECRUIT AS

MANY AS 75

ADDITIONAL

AFFILIATES

THIS YEAR

How important is ITB Berlin for

you as an event and why?

We attend other shows around the

world, but if we look at the ROI,

the value for money at ITB is far

superior than that of any other

travel show on earth. Everybody

comes to Berlin, and we always

make a point of being there as

well

Paul Gorman is Senior Manager – Owner Engagement at

Luxury Escapes, an e-commerce platform based in Australia.

ITB Berlin News asked him about his business and its main

focus.

Luxury Escapes is at its core a

strategic marketing acquisition

platform that works with our

selected partner hotels to deliver

new guests (and incremental

revenue) from outside their

existing distribution channels.

What are the main trends you are

seeing in terms of buyer demand?

Our market demands a great

experience, and if I look at the

Australian and New Zealand

Markets it is becoming more

prevalent that consumers are

more savvy about what represents

a great deal.

CONSUMERS

ARE BECOMING

MORE SAVVY

ABOUT WHAT

REPRESENTS A

GREAT DEAL

What were you hoping to achieve

at this year’s ITB Berlin?

I set out to introduce Luxury

Escapes to a broader market and

drive new campaigns with new

hotel partners in regions that we

have not showcased as yet.

Are you interested in particular

travel themes?

I am focused on higher end luxury

hotels and resorts, looking for

independent and more boutique

management companies that

have hotels and resorts in

locations that we believe we can

drive new business to.

How important was the speed

dating organised at ITB for you?

It is important, however, as I

am looking for a certain type

of product, it would be good to

be able to segment the speed

dating into product genres as I

believe this would enhance the

experience and ensure that most

meetings are relevant to what

both sides of the table are looking

for.

Why did you decide to join the ITB

Berlin Buyers Circle, and what,

for you, are the key advantages

of being a member?

I have been a member of Buyers

Circle now for four years, and

each year it has allowed me to

be far more efficient in my time

management at ITB. It is such a

big show with a lot of ground to

cover, Buyers Circle allows to be

more strategic in my planning

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


21

BROUGHT

TO YOU BY

Bianca

Meeuwissen

General Manager,

My World of Experiences,

Andorra

Driving new ideas for

customers in Andorra,

France and Spain

Bianca Meeuwissen is

General Manager of My

World of Experiences, an

agency based in Andorra.

We started by asking her

about her business and her

experiences at ITB Berlin.

My World of Experiences is focused

on incoming tourism for Andorra,

but also France and Spain. At ITB

Berlin we were buying new ideas

for Spain and France that I could

combine with Andorra – and I was

also looking at different overnight

stay options in different places.

What are the main trends you

are seeing in terms of buyer

demand?

People are always looking for new

options, which is not always easy,

as Andorra, for example, is only

486sq kilometres in size, so I’ve

been trying to reinvent myself for

25 years. Sometimes it’s a little

difficult.

Can you tell us about the

formation earlier this year of

Local Experts?

We established Local Experts,

which has been set-up by six likeminded

businesses in different

destinations. We all have one thing

in common because we are all in

love with our destinations, and we

are all owners of our companies.

After ITB Berlin, we will all share

the business cards that we have

gathered during the show. We are

very much alike but all in different

destinations – and it’s great fun.

What was your experience of the

speed networking event?

Speed networking was good. I liked

it and I made some nice contacts,

because I’m also thinking that

within My World of Experiences,

one of my dreams is a World of

Wellbeing. I’m a practitioner of

reiki, I can massage and am a

yoga teacher and I wanted to do

something with that and at ITB

Berlin I met some people that can

help me with that part.

What are the main benefits of

being in the ITB Buyers Circle?

I think it is an ideal place to

work and rest and to be able to

charge devices. It’s great to have

refreshments and to be able to

relax a little bit. The 15-minute

massage made my day, but I could

have done with some reflexology

as well

SPEED

NETWORKING

WAS GOOD.

I LIKED IT AND

I MADE SOME

NICE

CONTACTS

Experiencing

unforgettable moments

and extraordinary

adventures

Stephan Reichelt is product

sourcing team lead -

mydays GmbH. ITB Berlin

News asked him about his

business and its main focus.

Thanks to mydays and Jochen

Schweizer, more than a

million people can experience

unforgettable moments and

extraordinary adventures every

year. The tour operator Hip Trips,

WE EXPECT

WELLNESS

TOURISM TO

GROW TWICE

AS FAST AS THE

USUAL

SEGMENTS

OVER THE NEXT

FEW YEARS.

the leisure community Spontacts,

the gift expert Joidy, the ticketing

software provider Regiondo and

Jochen Schweizer Technology

Solutions also belong to our group.

What are the main trends you are

seeing in terms of buyer demand?

Three trends have become

very clear: individualisation is

increasingly coming to the fore,

mini-holidays are experiencing

an upswing and the relevance of

wellness is increasing. When it

comes to what people experience

during their holiday, we expect

wellness tourism to grow twice as

fast as the usual segments over the

next few years.

What were you hoping to gain

from this year’s ITB Berlin?

Our focus at this year’s ITB was

on building new relationships and

strengthening existing ones. Our

strategy is to further develop and

expand our B2B MICE business.

With our know-how, we want to

position mydays Events as the

expert for incentives, events and

travel.

How important was the speed

dating organised at ITB for you?

It’s a useful tool! It lets you make

contact with as many people

as possible in a short period of

time. You can come home full of

inspiration and fresh ideas.

Why did you decide to join the

ITB Berlin Buyers Circle?

Thanks to the ITB Berlin Buyers

Circle, we have access to 1,000 top

buyers and key decision-makers

from around the world. It means

that we can immediately enter

into concrete talks with the new

contacts we’ve made during the

speed dating event

Stephan

Reichelt

Team lead Product Sourcing,

mydays GmbH

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


22

BROUGHT

TO YOU BY

Agio Aminah

Director of Baboon

Adventure Safaris

Iceland agency

impressed

with Speed

Networking

Gorilla trekking takes

centre stage at the

ITB Buyers Circle

Lyn Ong Kai Lin

Marketing Manager

Marina TravelEngagement,

Luxury Escapes

Agio Aminah is Director of Baboon Adventure Safaris,

a Uganda-based business that offers gorilla trekking to

customers from Rwanda, Congo and Tanzania. We asked

her to tell us about her business and first-time experience

at ITB Berlin.

The trekking can take up to

three hours to get to where the

gorillas are. In the morning, after

breakfast, we guide you and tell

you what to do. When you find a

family of babies, the babies are

very friendly, only the mothers

are a little protective. We have 10

families of gorillas. The Uganda

Wildlife Authority is responsible

for policing trekking. When a

client comes and wants to book

gorilla trekking, there is a permit

that you must have, which costs

€534 (US$600)

Please tell us about your first

experience of ITB Berlin

At ITB Berlin, I was very

impressed with the quality of

the appointments that I had. We

spoke to a potential client who

has confirmed that they will come

gorilla trekking in April. I was very

happy to do this. I didn’t expect to

get a client so quickly. I’ve also

picked up interest from companies

in Italy, Spain and Holland who

are keen on becoming agents for

my business. Also at ITB Berlin, I

was approached by a company in

South America that wants to use

my cars in Uganda to operate a

fleet service. My company will be

their agent for that business. He

will sign a contract for that later

ITB BERLIN

HAS SMASHED

MY

EXPECTATIONS

this month, which has made me

very happy. The fleet will start

with 23 cars and we will keep

adding and adding vehicles.

Why did you decide to join the

ITB Buyers Circle?

I am very grateful to be in the ITB

Buyers Circle and I will definitely

come back. I have had the best

time here in Berlin and it has

smashed my expectations

Lyn Ong Kai Lin is Marketing

Manager of Marina Travel, an

Iceland-based travel agency,

handling both inbound and

outbound travel. We started

by asking her what the main

focus of her trip to ITB Berlin

was.

We do both inbound and outbound,

but we were looking to expand

our network and opportunities for

outbound from Iceland. Basically,

every country is interesting to us

as we are expanding that part

of our business and we came to

ITB Berlin to meet operators and

products from all the different

countries that we could be selling.

We are very open to opportunities.

What are the main trends in

terms of buyer demand?

For us, a good number of our

customers are looking for beach

holidays, especially during the

summer. They like to travel with

their children to somewhere that

is kid friendly and they can have

some sunshine. We are open to

exploring opportunities in Asia,

South America and Africa.

What did you make of the Speed

Networking event?

Speed Networking was amazing.

Within the allotted time we had

met around 30 people although

there were only nine in my

schedule. It was great to just sit

there, and people come to talk to

me, it was perfect. There were a

couple of interesting companies

at the speed networking event

that there is very good potential

we could be working with in the

future.

SPEED

NETWORKING

WAS AMAZING.

Why did you decide to join the

ITB Buyers Circle?

I joined the ITB Buyers Circle for the

access that I get to many different

places and people. I am able to

speak with my boss without any

noise or clatter.

How important is ITB Berlin as

an event and why?

This was the first time I came to

ITB Berlin, although I have been

to ITB Asia before. ITB Berlin has

been very interesting and moving

forward, we may consider to be

an exhibitor in the future. It’s been

a successful trip and I have also

had a chance to meet with existing

providers

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


23

BROUGHT

TO YOU BY

Allison

Heller

Product Development

Specialist,

Gate 1 Travel

ITB Berlin,

the place to get

business done

Simone Lini is Chief Commercial and Product Officer at

Jetcost and Lastminute.com. We started by asking him to

tell us about his time at ITB Berlin.

US customers

opting for authentic

experiences

Allison Heller is Product Development Specialist at Gate 1

Travel, which is based in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.

We started by asking her about the company.

Gate 1 Travel is a family-owned

and operated business, founded

in 1981. We operate on all seven

continents and we cater for mostly

an American market. We do have a

sales office in Florida, as well as a

sales office in Australia. In the US,

we send about 300,000 American

clients around the world. We have

over 26 offices worldwide and 400

employees.

What are the main trends you see

in terms of buyer demand?

I work on a lot of independent

packages in Central Europe, as well

as in Egypt. Gate 1 just got back into

Egypt after a 10-year hiatus due to

all the conflict in the Middle East.

We got back into Egypt about a year

ago and it’s one of our best-selling

markets currently. Customers want

authentic experiences. We have a

tour series brand, called Discovery

Tours, which tends to offer smaller

tours. Our Classic Tours are

generally 35-42 passengers per

coach, and that includes a tour

manager; with our Discovery Tours

those have a maximum group size

of 22 people. The Gate 1 clientele

is typically older Americans that

have a little bit more time to travel,

who aren’t necessarily restricted

by work schedules or holiday time.

Did you take part in the Speed

Networking event?

It was a fantastic event, the first

time I had done anything like that.

I definitely need to bring more

business cards next year. I got to

meet a lot of different people –

scheduling of the event was very

easy.

I

DEFINITELY

NEED TO BRING

MORE

BUSINESS

CARDS NEXT

YEAR

Why did you join the ITB Buyers

Circle?

We thought we would try it

out. There are some perks that

come with it, such as the Speed

Networking, which really enticed

me. Having the lounge, to come

and sit down, has been key. I’ll

absolutely be back next year

ITB Berlin has been super

productive. We had a lot of

partners at ITB Berlin and it is one

of the most effective events, where

you can have a lot of meetings.

It’s always nice to see partners in

person, but you’d have to fly all the

way around the world, so it’s great

to have one place where you can

meet them all.

ITB BERLIN

HAS BEEN

SUPER

PRODUCTIVE

What were your key highlights at

ITB Berlin?

I wear two hats, commercial and

product. On the commercial side,

we had a lot of partners and this

was great to meet them to see how

things are going and how we can

improve with them. On the product

side, we are always happy to take

a look at what is going on with

regards to start-up technologies

that were being shown.

On the first day we had 20 meetings,

thankfully I had another three

members of my team with me, so

I didn’t have to do all 20 meetings

by myself.

What are the benefits of being

part of the ITB Buyers Circle?

When you are trying to make

business decisions, it’s key to be

in a quiet environment to have a

private conversation. That’s why I

am delighted to be part of the ITB

Buyers Circle.

How do you sum up your time

spent at ITB Berlin?

There is a reason why I’ve been

to ITB Berlin for the last four

years, it’s so effective. It’s hard

to find other shows where you

have the same density of people

that are working in this industry

as there are at ITB Berlin. Berlin

is probably my favourite city in

Europe, it’s so lively, and there’s

always something going and it’s

very relaxed. I love being here

Simone Lini

Chief Commercial &

Product Officer,

Jetcost

and Lastminute.com.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


24

Wellness tourism

enjoying growth

says GWI’s Ellis

Mark Okerstrom (left) with Philip Wolf

After the big numbers

it’s time to look after

the travellers

Now in his third year as Expedia Group CEO, Mark

Okerstrom joined PhoCusWright founder Philip Wolf at ITB

for a conversation about the company, the travel industry

and where it may go next.

ITB delegates heard extraordinary

numbers achieved by a company

that is now in 75 countries

with brands including Expedia,

Hotels.com, Expedia Partner

Solutions, Orbitz, Travelocity,

Hotwire, CheapTickets, ebookers,

CarRentals.com, Expedia

CruiseShipCenters, Wotif, Egencia,

HomeAway and a majority stake in

Trivago.

Founded in 1996, Expedia was

initially a division within Microsoft

operating solely as an online travel

booking service. The company has

since grown to become the world’s

leading online travel agency that

attracts 700 million visitors every

month and serves two million

corporate travellers, one million

properties and 500 airlines.

Before Expedia and other online

booking services came on stream

“the traveller was being served by

a travel agent”, Okerstrom said.

“Good agents would ask questions,

make recommendations and

follow up with the traveller after

the experience. Our first 20 years

was about building traffic and

building platforms. The next 20

years are about doing the work

that an agent does and looking

after the traveller.”

Expedia is also about living up

to the promise of the internet, he

said. “You know when Tom Cruise

is walking through the mall in

Minority Report and all the ads on

the screens around him change to

suit his profile as he goes? Well we

can do that now,” he said. And the

untapped potential is huge. “There

is no more global an industry than

the travel industry. And what is the

first thing that people do when they

get money? They go travelling.”

WHAT IS

THE FIRST

THING THAT

PEOPLE DO

WHEN THEY

GET MONEY?

THEY GO

TRAVELLING

But building – and operating – the

right platform is “hard”, he said.

“Airbnb has built an incredible

business and a brand that stands

for something.” What of rumours

that Airbnb might start an airline?

“Well with an airline you have

to work with different groups of

people, some of whom you might

not want to work with,” Okerstrom

said. “And there are 15 billion flight

searches worldwide per month.

Something like that needs a huge

infrastructure”

On Wednesday 7 March at the ITB Berlin Convention, Global

Wellness Institute (GWI) Chairman and CEO Susie Ellis

provided a wide-ranging analysis of the $4.2tr (€3.74tr)

Wellness economy. She said: “10-15 years ago, we didn’t

use the term very much – but today wellness is everywhere,

from the workplace to tourism.”

While the biggest contributors

to the Wellness economy are

personal care and nutrition, Ellis

said that Wellness Tourism is also a

large and growing market – worth

$639bn in 2017. “All Wellness

categories grew faster than GDP

between 2015 and 2017, but

Wellness Tourism was one of the

strongest. At 6.4% it was nearly

double GDP (3.6%). And we are

projecting annual growth of 7.5%

through until 2022.”

Such is the dynamism of the

segment that a growing number of

countries and regions are putting

Wellness “front and centre” of

their tourism offerings, Ellis said.

She cited examples from around

the world including Costa Rica,

Thailand, India, Norway and

Bhutan.

Wellness offerings around the

world are very distinctive and often

rooted in local culture, Ellis said,

and she welcomed this, saying

that “tourists want special and

authentic”.

She also said there is a distinction

between “Primary” and

“Secondary” Wellness Tourism.

Primary is where wellness is the

core reason for a journey, whereas

secondary covers situations where

wellness plays a part in a trip. “The

latter category is by far the bigger,”

she added.

In terms of the key markets for

Wellness, Ellis said North America

and Europe are currently the

biggest by some margin. However

Asia-Pacific is growing fast, with

The Middle East and North Africa

close behind.

Ellis said there is still some

confusion between Medical and

Wellness Tourism. She set out GWI’s

definitions – saying that Medical

tends to involve treatment, doctors

and is reactive. Wellness is more

about voluntary maintenance and

stress reduction. “I think one of the

confusions is due to the use of the

term Health Tourism, which blurs

things”

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


25

Promoting

destinations with

digital storytelling

Michael Collins at the eTravel Lab

How YouTube makes

friends and influences

consumers

Invaluable insights into how

the travel industry can use

YouTube to dramatically

improve engagement and

reach out to potential

customers emerged during

a packed presentation by

Travelmedia.ie founder and

managing director, Michael

Collins.

Travel industry stakeholders who

ignore YouTube do so at their peril,

Collins said.

“We all know that in today’s world,

you cannot control your brand,

only manage it. But you have to

engage and manage it well. With

YouTube you know other people

are talking about your brand,

sometimes in ways you don’t want

them to,” he told the eTravel Lab

event audience.

The solution, he said, was to

thoroughly understand and exploit

YouTube’s listing and search engine

optimisation (SEO) characteristics

to ensure your video gained the

highest profile possible, and was

the first thing that appeared when a

customer sought out your business.

“YouTube is unique in three ways,”

he explained. “As a search engine,

social media platform, or television.

It’s great, but most people [in the

business] don’t use it, which I find

strange. YouTube is the world’s

second largest search engine and

third most-visited site after Google

and Facebook.”

Collins was joined on stage by Tom

Otley of Business Traveller, who

explained how, with Travelmedia’s

help, videos posted by the

magazine rating the services of

various airlines saw exponential

increases in viewership in a matter

of days, and continued to build its

audience.

“The same applies to any brand in

this room,” said Collins. “Whether

you are a hotel, an airline or a

tourist board I can guarantee there

are people out there making critical

videos about you.”

WITH

YOUTUBE YOU

KNOW OTHER

PEOPLE ARE

TALKING

ABOUT YOUR

BRAND...

He said YouTube should be treated

as a social media platform and a

search engine like any other. It

was important not to “dump and

run” by putting videos online, and

failing to engage with viewers or

those who posted comments.

Collins added that YouTube should

be treated like news television with

timely, relevant and useful content.

Finally, research and trial-by-error

were vital to pinpoint the right SEO

phrases to draw viewers to your

video

Lola Akinmade Akerström

Co-Founder, NordicTB.com

At this year’s ITB Berlin

Convention, Lola Akinmade

Akerström, Co-Founder,

NordicTB.com, spoke

about “Creating Natural

Ambassadors For Travel

Brands And Destinations”

The key theme was the need to

promote destinations through

high quality and authentic digital

storytelling told by “natural

ambassadors.”

“Nowadays the travel industry is

saturated with numbers that may

not mean anything,” she told ITB

Berlin News. “So what we’re trying

to teach destinations: you want to

create quality content about your

destinations, SEO optimised, that

lasts.”

When potential visitors are

researching your destination,

they need to easily find content

that “represents your destination

comprehensively, properly and has

a long life,” Åkerström said.

Such quality storytelling demands

that inspired travel bloggers

and authors “who already love

your brand” have “the freedom

to write or speak in their own

voice,” the Stockholm-based

writer and photographer added.

“The strength is the flexibility to

discover things organically.” The

result will be quality, authentic and

above all timeless narratives about

destinations.

With Åkerström’s work having

appeared in publications such as

National Geographic Traveller,

BBC, CNN, The Guardian, Travel

+ Leisure, Travel Channel, Lonely

Planet, and many more, Åkerström

has the inside track on the best in

travel writing. With NordicTB she

is giving destinations to chance

to utilize lasting stories by finding

the best ways - often on a limited

budget - to connect with writers

and photographers who already

have an affinity with a travel brand

or destination.

To this end, travel authors are

often sourced by tracking their

existing content discovered online.

“You can find them by all the

conversations that are going on

about your brand on social media,”

says Åkerström. The goal is to

“reach out to them, see what they

do. That’s how you start pooling

natural ambassadors.”

Unlike one-off press junkets or

working short-term with star

bloggers, the relationships between

travel brands and destinations and

natural ambassadors are therefore

developed organically, for the longhaul

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

27

Ahmed Bin Nasser

Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi

Minister of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman

WE HAVE

OUR OWN

HISTORY AND

CULTURE AND

WE WANT TO

SHOW THIS.

Oman: a different kind of

destination in the Middle East

Exclusive Interview: Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi,

Minister of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman (Official ITB Berlin Partner Country 2020)

Growth of visitor numbers to Oman has, since 2013 not been

less than 5.7% per annum. We asked Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin

Hamed Al Mahrizi, the nation’s Minister of Tourism, to tell us

more.

We think this kind of growth

will continue up to 2028, and

international reports confirm this.

The government is taking care

of the tourism sector, because

we want to develop five sectors,

including tourism, so as not to be

so dependent on oil revenues. With

oil prices constantly fluctuating,

this is very bad for our future. Along

with tourism, we aim to develop

agriculture, light industry, logistics,

and mining. One of our main

exports is marble, which we even

export to Europe. But we need to

take care of our culture, our identity,

and thus to avoid overtourism. The

population of Oman is small: only

three-million Omanis and a total

of four-point-five million including

foreign nationals. People are open

to foreigners, but they don’t yet

understand the tourism sector as

a “business”. This is why we have

created our own strategy up to

2040, taking care of these aspects –

specially the culture. We also want

to target adventure tourism, with

hiking, biking and climbing, and

so on. We have mountains, desert

and beautiful seas for diving. MICE

is another sector we want to grow.

We intend to limit the number of

tourists, but concentrate on those

who spend more.

What are the main source markets

and how are they evolving?

The gulf countries – especially in

June, July and August. They come

to the south of Oman, because

in these months, the weather is

similar to India, with rain, and

temperatures dropping to the mid

20s, when the weather is very hot

in the north of Oman. It’s not far for

them, and they prefer to come by

car. In the winter time, they come

to the north of Oman. After that,

there’s the Europeans, with the

number one market being the UK.

We also have many visitors from

Germany and France. There are an

increasing number of charter flights

from Europe to the south of Oman –

to Salalah. New markets for us are

China, Iran and India. Indians have

been coming for a long time, but we

have been increasing our focus on

this market since last year. Oman

Air is increasingly opening up new

destinations. They have been flying

to new destinations in the United

States and Australia since last year.

What are the key aims of your

Official ITB Berlin Partner

Country status in 2020?

The most important thing for us

is to differentiate Oman from our

neighbours. We have our own

history and culture and we want

to show this. We believe today’s

tourists are looking for a different

experience. They want something

special, and we think we can

offer this. We will be showing our

culture, showing we are different,

showing we are a safe destination.

We are open to all cultures and

all religions. Churches and even

Buddhist temples can be found in

Oman and have been there for a

long time. In the next year, we hope

more people will be talking about

our culture and our key points of

differentiation.

What will next year’s opening

ceremony be focussed on?

It will really spotlight our culture,

in particular our orchestra, which

is renowned in the region. We send

young people to Switzerland and

Austria to learn music. We also have

opera. We share many international

values with Europe in this sense.

What’s being done to develop

infrastructure?

Firstly, we have our new airport,

we have a very good road

system – even winning a prize

this year thanks to our excellent,

modern road network. In terms of

communication, we have a better

level of performance than even

some European countries. Most

of the world’s most famous hotel

brands are present in Oman.

What is your message to the world’s

travel professionals at ITB Berlin?

This is the real “authentic” place

– Oman. Our people are always

smiling, to the point that foreigners

can even be surprised by their

friendliness. Our country is very

open to cultures from around the

world

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


28 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Sam Turner

Wholesales Sales & Sourcing Director,

Hotelbeds

Frank Wöller

Retail Travel Agents Director,

Continental Europe,

Bedsonline

Bedsonline expands China market

Interview: Sam Turner, Wholesales Sales & Sourcing Director of Hotelbeds &

Frank Wöller, Retail Travel Agents Director, Continental Europe of Bedsonline

China is one of the most important markets for Hotelbeds.

We asked Sam Turner, Wholesales Sales & Sourcing Director

of Hotelbeds & Frank Wöller, Retail Travel Agents Director,

Continental Europe of Bedsonline to tell us more.

ST: As a source market, China

remains the company’s largest

wholesale market in APAC for the

third year running. Additionally, it

has now become the 4th biggest

source market for the company

globally in the wholesale channel,

up from 5th place only last year –

and from 22nd place in only 2011.

Of course, this is in part a reflection of

the fact that Chinese travellers have

now become the world’s number

one travel segment, spending one in

five of all dollars spent on outbound

tourism globally.

But this success is also a reflection

of Hotelbeds’ hard work and

persistence, having been in the

market for well over ten years and

dedicated ourselves to creating a

product tailored to the needs of the

local market (with local commercial

teams and local social media) – not

least on the sourcing side, where

we look for Chinese-friendly hotel

accommodation and negotiate

exclusive deals for Chinese B2B

buyers.

We are thrilled to confirm that we

grew room nights by double digits

year-on-year this year in China –

and in this financial year, which we

started back on 1 October, we are

confident to experience the same

growth or more. The demand for

travelling continues to grow in

China as many Chinese people take

their first overseas trips.

Why does Bedsonline only work

with travel agents?

FW: Since the inception of

Bedsonline in 2004, it has been

working exclusively with travel

agents, combining our travel

industry expertise and technology

to help their businesses flourish.

Our extensive portfolio of more

than 170,000 properties in 185

destinations and 140 source

markets, 24,000 transfer routes

and 18,000 activities makes us the

perfect partner for travel agents.

By working with us they would not

only be able to have access to a

global and wide portfolio but also

to offer exclusive and local product

– much of which we contract under

exclusive terms just for travel agents

– that they would never have been

able to offer by themselves.

Meeting the needs of travel agents

is in the DNA of Bedsonline, we

understand the needs and demands

of travel agents and that’s why we

decided to work exclusively with

them. But not only do we give

access to a great and powerful

portfolio, but also, we help them

to boost their sales by giving them

selling tips and offering a powerful

and easy to use platform to do their

daily reservations.

Since the acquisition of Tourico

Holidays and GTA, what changes

are taking place in the retail

channel?

ST: Last September, we announced

the consolidation of all the retail

brands we had acquired recently

(GTA, TravelCube and TravelBound)

under the Bedsonline brand identity

and platform. In this sense, we are

introducing the best elements of the

GTA legacy brands’ platforms into

the Bedsonline platform to create

a new and enhanced platform that

features best-in-class features.

Feedback from customers trialing

the platform has been very positive.

Bedsonline customers are now

able to benefit from an exclusive

and significantly enhanced product

portfolio of hotels, a significant

proportion of which are directly

contracted, and a platform

specifically designed to drive

growth in the highly competitive

travel retail space.

Bedsonline offers customers a

360° travel partner offering that is

customer centric and helps partners

compete by offering unrivalled

technology, the most competitive

commercial terms, swift problem

resolution and expert team support.

WE ARE

INTRODUCING

THE BEST

ELEMENTS OF

THE GTA LEGACY

BRANDS’

PLATFORMS INTO

THE BEDSONLINE

PLATFORM TO

CREATE A NEW

AND ENHANCED

PLATFORM THAT

FEATURES BEST-

IN-CLASS

FEATURES.

In nearly all of our markets the

booking capabilities of the legacy

sites have been shut down. So

ensuring that all agents from

TravelBound, TravelCube and GTA

have smoothly transitioned onto

the new Bedsonline platform is

essential for us. Old bookings are

modifiable, of course, but all new

bookings must take place on the

new Bedsonline website

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

29

New tourism product

in pipeline in Sabah

Exclusive Interview: YB Datuk Christina Liew, Deputy Chief

Minister, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Sabah

WE ARE GOING TO INVITE ALL THE

PALM OIL PRODUCERS, BIG OR SMALL,

TO SURRENDER THEIR LAND TO CREATE

A FOOD CORRIDOR FOR THE

ELEPHANTS AND THE ORANGUTANS.

YB Datuk Christina Liew

Deputy Chief Minister, Minister of Tourism, Culture and

Environment, Sabah

YB Datuk Christina Liew has

held the position of Deputy

Chief Minister and Minister

for Tourism, Culture and

Environment in Sabah for

around nine months, since

the election of the new

government. We asked her

what she aims to change in

her new position.

Overall, I want to increase the

number of new products on the

market. To attract more tourists

to Sabah, we have to put new

products in place – not just the

same old thing. We have a number

of products – at least four or five

in 2019. I have been in constant

discussions with the GM and

Chairman of the STB about what

I have in mind, and that we need

the support to get it changed. It’s

time. Of course, after our initial

discussion and planning, we will be

sending it to the Chief Minister and

cabinet to get it approved and get

it done… and I am a very impatient

person. Very impatient. Adding on

more products for tourism is my

number one goal. I also have a

plan to expand existing product.

For example, the hot springs in the

National Park are rather old. They

are very nice, but they are 45 years

old, so we need to upgrade them.

One of the major products we will

be undertaking is in Tawau, as it

is a gateway to Eastern Sabah. I

have been in discussions with the

Minister of Transport as well as

the Malaysia Airports Bhd CEO,

and they are fully supportive that

Tawau airport will be a top priority.

While not promoting its status

from Domestic to International,

we need at least to get the facilities

upgraded.

When reading social media about

Borneo, many people claim that

orangutans will be extinct in the

next ten years. What is the real

story?

The orangutan is one of our

very precious protected species

– very precious to us. The state

government, through our wildlife

department, will do its best to

protect this species. If I ever catch

anyone killing an orangutan, I will

ensure they are dealt with by the

full force of the law. Some people

are already behind bars for having

killed orangutans. We take this

very seriously.

What about issues of deforestation

and palm oil?

A number of people think that

there is deforestation, and the

land is being converted into Palm

plantations, depriving our unique

wildlife, like orangutans, elephants

and so on, of their habitat,

depriving them of food, and the

elephants damage the plantations

looking for food. There are cases

like this, but we are tackling the

problem head-on. We are going to

invite all the palm oil producers,

big or small, to surrender their

land to create a food corridor for

the elephants and the orangutans.

This means that on each side of

the plantations, we will plant

food. When I return to Sabah next

week I will be holding discussions

with the Chief Minister to move

this forward. These animals are

national treasures, and we need to

protect them. They are priceless.

How has the show gone for you

this year?

As far as Sabah is concerned, there

is just one term to describe Sabah

– and that is “exotic experience”. It

is full of surprises and mysteries.

In the past, tourists would visit

Kota Kinabalu, the beaches, and

the mountains. But now more

and more are visiting the East

Coast of Sabah. Another thing

that is interesting more and more

people is homestay. Last year in

December, out of the 25 districts

in Sabah, we set up 16 district

homestays. It allows people to

understand how our people live.

The visitors live with the local

people, eat with them, learn about

the culture, and experience the

local flavour of Sabah. Today,

tourist is very much about meeting

people

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


30 AROUND THE WORLD

STAND OUT STANDS

A selection of some of the most interesting

and spectacular stands at the show

At the show and didn’t see everything? Weren’t at the

show and want to know what it was like? In the following

pages, we take you on a virtual tour of some of the top

stands at ITB 2019.

Malaysia – Official

Partner Country 2019

As Malaysia was this year’s official partner country at

ITB Berlin, the booth was much bigger than in previous

years. Underlining the extraordinary cultural diversity

of this Southeast Asian nation, the ITB opening

ceremony featured dances from numerous tribes

and ethnic groups, and the stand also played host to

regular performances. Malaysia has so much to offer

- hardly any country is so diverse - in every aspect -

and at the same time so easy and uncomplicated to

travel to. The many cultures found in Malaysia bring

along their very own eating habits. Therefore, the

Malaysian cuisine incorporates Chinese, Indian and

Malay ideas as well as inspirations from Arabian and

European countries.

Colombia

– feel the rythm

With a presentation this year entitled, “Feel the

rhythm of diversity”, ProColombia was one of the

most active when it came to fun and colour at their

stand. ProColombia also participated in the music

tourism event – “Combining music and tourism:

how does that sound?” Julián Guerrero Orozco, Vice

President of Tourism, ProColombia spoke about the

power of music tourism and using it as a tool to

promote places, shape experiences and stimulate

economic growth.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


STAND OUT STANDS

AROUND THE WORLD

31

Guatemala

- soul of the earth

Guatemala, heart of the Mayan world, offers Mayan

archaeological sites, Spanish colonial vestiges,

modern Maya with the varied multi-colour hand

wowed textiles that identify what village they live

in all fused in dynamic and active society, within a

spectacular scenery of mountain, lakes, volcanoes

and a unique and gifted natural environmental in a

varied climatic setting. The most rooted indigenous

culture can be found in the highlands. The pine

forests and active volcanoes allow visitors to practice

hiking, canopying and, ecotourism.

Wonderful

Indonesia

At ITB Berlin, Indonesia underlined cultural patterns,

traditions and lifestyles that are unusual different

from those of the tourist and, in some cases, unique

to one place can be of much interest to many tourists.

These cultural patterns include customs, dresses,

ceremonies, life styles and religious beliefs, and

are often associated with rural and village life but

may be prevalent in some urban places. Ministry

of Tourism, Indonesia, is responsible for national

tourism development. It focuses on promoting the

nation’s image as being safe and worth visiting. It

also facilitates tourism industries to promote tourism

destinations and products to international market.

hape experiences and stimulate economic growth.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


32 AROUND THE WORLD

STAND OUT STANDS

Imagine

your Korea

South Korea’s stand reflected the nation’s character

as a multi-faceted travel destination. The capital

Seoul pulsates day and night. Modern skyscrapers,

latest technology and fashion trends as well as a

busy nightlife characterize the special energy and

atmosphere of this city. At the same time Korea holds

numerous significant sites that preserve almost 5,000

years of history. The traditional architecture of the

past also sheds light on the philosophy of ancient

Koreans, as importance was given to the building’s

balance and harmony with its natural surroundings.

Three sides of the country are surrounded by sea and

70% of the landscape consists of mountains. Thanks

to Korea’s four distinct seasons visitors can enjoy

different sceneries throughout the year.

Lufthansa

– enter a virtual world

Lufthansa Group airlines’ joint exhibition booth

gave inspiring answers to the question, “Why do

people love to travel?”, but also to many more

that are important to the travel industry. Several

fascinating and informative speeches took place at

the stand each day, with experts addressing topics

such as travel, sales and airlines, innovation and

digitalisation. Parallel to the LIVE! Talks, visitors

were able to immerse themselves in the world of the

Lufthansa Group airlines with a 360° VR tour through

cabins of Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS and

Brussels Airlines. The new Brussels Airlines Business

Class seat was on show in this way for the first time.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


STAND OUT STANDS

AROUND THE WORLD

33

Martinique

– colour, culture, and… rum!

Martinique’s stand at ITB highlighted the culture,

and smiles of the local people on this island state.

Their tourism strategy is based on developing air

connections by securing the existing routes and

by actively seeking out new airline partnerships

working with key source markets: France, Germany,

USA, Canada and South America. Martinique’s

tourism authority has been raising awareness of the

destination through communication campaigns with

major media to broadcast the TV commercial that

premiered in 2017. They have been improving the

“digital experience” through a robust strategy that

places the visitor at the heart of their digital ecosystem

and, in this way, facilitates the preparation of their

stay, follows-up on their holiday and encourages

repeat visits.

Sultanate of Oman

– where the sun first touches Arabia

All in white, the stand of the Sultanate of Oman

(ITB Berlin Official Partner Country 2020) in Hall

2.2 reflected the bright outlook of the nation; this is

where the first rays of sunlight touch Arabia. It has

a coastline exceeding 3,000km, is home to some

of Arabia’s highest mountains and largest moving

deserts. Its cultural, heritage and natural values

make it a compelling destination as recognised by

The National Geographic and Lonely Planet that

recommend Oman and Muscat as a mustsee

destination.

2012 saw Muscat celebrated as Arabia’s Tourism

Capital with a wealth of cultural, heritage and

sporting events. Muscat is unlike any other Arabian

city: it celebrates Omani heritage and culture in its

architecture and every-day life, made stronger by

iconic buildings and precincts. Here, high mountains

form the skyline, not skyscrapers, and people take

evening walks along sandy beaches, not pavements.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


34

ADVERTORIAL

A TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

ASIA

Malaysia – smiles all around

at ITB Berlin 2019

Official Partner Country status at World’s Leading Travel Trade Show -

a vital step towards achieving Visit Malaysia 2020 targets

H. E. Datuk

Mohamaddin

Bin Haji Ketapi

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture,

Malaysia

With a total of 25.8 million

international tourists

arriving in Malaysia in

2018, ITB Berlin is set

to be instrumental in

boosting visitor numbers

to this exotic, exciting and

welcoming destination

in line with the nation’s

ambitious growth plans.

With the Visit Malaysia 2020

campaign in the works,

Malaysia’s Ministry for Tourism

and Culture is targeting arrival

figures 30-million and tourist

receipts of RM100bn (eds:

€21.66bn) by 2020.

“I believe Malaysia’s cultural

uniqueness is a big draw

for the European market,”

explained Mohamaddin

Bin Haji Ketapi, Minister of

Tourism, Arts and Culture for

Malaysia, adding, “As you may

know, Malaysia is a melting

pot of cultures with influences

from Malay, Chinese and Indian

ethnicities, as well as from

Europe, Arab and the Malay

Archipelago. This has resulted

in a mixed yet harmonious

legacy that manifests itself

in Malaysia’s architecture,

clothing, language, cuisine

and other aspects.”

“Malaysia’s breath-taking

nature, its warm, welcoming

multi-cultural peoples, and its

exceptional, varied cuisine,

have made it a ‘must’ as

a destination in Southeast

Asia”, said David Ruetz, head

of ITB Berlin, adding, “Having

Malaysia as our Official

Partner Country this year

will have enhanced ever-soimportant

cultural links and

will engender more awareness

and appreciation, both for us

of their culture and traditions,

and for them of ours.”

Meanwhile, Zurab

Pololikashvili, Secretary-

General, World

Tourism Organization

(UNWTO), stated: “I wish to

congratulate Malaysia on being

ITB’s partner country for this

year. Malaysia is a founding

member of UNWTO and one

of its most active members,

involved at several levels of

the Organization’s activities

and governing bodies.

Malaysia identified tourism as

one of the forefront industries

in its economy because of

tourism’s great potential in

job creation, socio-economic

development as well as foreign

income generation - tourism

is currently the 2nd largest

foreign exchange earner.”

Visitors to ITB Berlin had the

opportunity to experience

Malaysia’s architecture,

local food and cultural

performances. The country’s

colourful national cultural

troupe showcased an hourlong

performance during

the Opening Gala, reflecting

the beauty and diversity

of Malaysian culture and

heritage.

ECONOMIC

CONTRIBUTION

OF TOURISM IN

MALAYSIA

The number of employees

involved in Malaysia’s tourism

sector rose to 3.4 million in

2017 from 1.5 million in 2005.

Employment in the tourism

industry contributed 23.2%

to total employment in 2017

(2005: 15%). Most of the jobs

in the tourism industry were in

the retail trade industry (33.7%)

and food & beverage serving

services (32.3%) respectively.

Tourism is also important

to Malaysia as it helps to

empower the local community

economically. Taking

the Malaysia Homestay

Programme as an example, it

offers the local village-folk to

take part in offering authentic

homestay experiences to

tourists. In 2017, the revenue

generated from the programme

reached RM27.6 million (eds:

€5.98m).

“The ‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’

tagline has worked wonders

to position our destination’s

diversity”, explains the

Minister. “It gets the message

across that Malaysia is a

kaleidoscope of customs,

religions, traditions, festivals,

heritage, arts and crafts, and

cuisines of Malays, Chinese,

Indians, and various ethnic

group that continues to

fascinate visitors from all over

the world.” This “Malaysia,

Truly Asia” branding continues

till today to position Malaysia’s

uniqueness.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS

UNDER WAY

Upcoming developments such

as Desaru Coast in Johor, and

Impression City Melaka, once

completed, will bring renewed

interest in Malaysia.

“We are seeing the industry

invigorated by the opening

of renowned hotel property

brands here,” explains the

Minister, adding, “Several

established hotel brands have

ventured into Malaysia for the

first time recently, while some

of them are poised to enter the

market in the near future. We

are pleased that brands such

as Double Tree, Hilton, Marriot,

Anantara, Westin, Mercure,

Sheraton, W, St. Regis, Four

Seasons, Hyatt and others

see the value of Malaysia for

their business expansion and

investments”

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


ASIAA TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

35

SELANGOR’S NEW

HOST PROGRAMME

HERALDS BUSY

PERIOD FOR LUSH

MALAYSIAN STATE

Y.B. Datuk Abdul

Rashid Bin Asari

Chairman of Standing Commitees

for Cultural and Tourism, Malay

Tradition and Heritage, State

Government of Selangor

Maldives press conference at ITB Berlin 2019

Maldives sets out

masterplan for

tourism expansion

Among the many new tourism

initiatives being devised by the

Malaysian state of Selangor

is the Local Community

Host Programme, says Y.B.

Datuk Abdul Rashid Bin

Asari, Chairman of Standing

Commitees for Cultural and

Tourism, Malay Tradition and

Heritage, State Government of

Selangor.

“This is a specialised training

programme for individuals

to become tour guides for

visitors, with inclusivity

as a guiding principle for

sustainable growth and

development in tourism.”

The programme is very timely

give all of the new tourism

initiatives and attractions

coming online –not least the

Visit Sepang 2020 campaign.

“As part of the National

Tourism Policy 2020-2050, the

Sepang Municipal Council will

be one of the pilot districts to

initiate the Special Tourism

Investment Zone (STIZ),” says

Datuk Abdul Rashid Bin Asari.

“This designated zone will

be equipped with world

class tourism events and

tourist convenience. Various

activities will be carried out

throughout the year including

a celebration of Visit Sepang

Year, with a 10 million goal of

visitors coming into Sepang.”

In addition to the main

existing attractions that are

already being promoted, there

are also some new upcoming

attractions such as: Sky Mirror

Kuala Selangor, Royal Klang

Heritage Walk, Selangor

Fruits Valley, Tanjung Sepat,

Gua Damai Extreme Park,

Kajang Heritage Park and a

host of newly-opened hotels.

Hon. Amirudin Shari says:

“Familiarisation tours for

foreign tour operators and

media members are ongoing

to create awareness of these

new products and attract more

visitors to the state. Tourism

Selangor also promotes

these places at trade fairs

and includes them in product

presentations.”

In terms of key selling points

for Selangor, Datuk Abdul

Rashid Bin Asari says the state

is an important gateway to

Malaysia because it is home to

a busy port and Kuala Lumpur

International Airport, which

recorded 53 million visitors

in 2017. He also says “ecotourism

plays an important

role for Selangor. Conservation

and preservation efforts are

ongoing to protect the tropical

forests and wildlife”

A senior delegation from The

Maldive Islands gave ITB Berlin

delegates an upbeat assessment

of the island nation’s international

tourism prospects at a Wednesday

press conference.

Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing

Director at Maldives Marketing & PR

Corporation, said 1.4 million tourists

visited in 2018, up 6.8% on the

previous year. With plans for more

resorts to be built across the Indian

Ocean archipelago, he is projecting

further growth to 1.5 million in 2019

– with figures from January 2019

suggesting the country is on track to

hit its target.

Mohamed said the tourism industry

is promoting itself as a destination

for more than just honeymoons –

by targeting areas like adventure,

fun, spiritual and MICE tourism. He

also made special reference to the

German market, saying: “Germans

are very close to the heart of the

Maldives. They remain an important

market for us, with 14% year on year

growth.”

Industry pioneer Hussain Afeef

said the Maldives Islands attract an

extremely diverse visitor base: “It is

not only Europeans who come, but a

growing number of Asians. Another

positive is growth from the South

African market, which is a significant

development for the economy in the

South of our country.” South Africa is

also becoming an important gateway

for Latin American visitors who want

to visit The Maldives, Afeef said.

Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed

said the government has set out a

strong sustainable masterplan to

drive tourism growth while also

“cherishing culture and protecting

the environment”. The country’s new

Tourism Development Plan identifies

five zones that are being developed

as different destinations – along the

lines outlined by Mohamed.

THE

COUNTRY’S NEW

TOURISM

DEVELOPMENT

PLAN IDENTIFIES

FIVE ZONES THAT

ARE BEING

DEVELOPED AS

DIFFERENT

DESTINATIONS

In addition, a new Decentralisation

Act has given extra powers to local

councils while developments are

taking place at Velana International

Airport. To mitigate the impact of

tourism growth there is a green tax

to fund environmental initiatives

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


36

A TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

ASIA

Jaesung Rhee

President & CEO,

Seoul Tourism Organization

Mario Hardy, PATA CEO; Jens Thraenhart, MTCO; Nick Ray; Rob Holmes,

GLP Films and John WIlliams, BBC during Mekong Tourism Forum at ITB

Berlin 2019

Renewed Commitment

for a Mekong Tourism

Forum edition at ITB

Berlin for 2020

With PATA and the Mekong

Tourism Coordinating Office

hosting a Mekong Tourism

Forum at ITB Berlin for the

past three years, a fourth

edition is already confirmed

due to the success of the

event.

Produced by Destination

Mekong, the third Mekong

Tourism Forum at ITB

Berlin was organized

by the Mekong Tourism

Coordinating Office

(MTCO) in partnership

with the Pacific Asia Travel

Association (PATA) and the

support of ITB Berlin. “We

have been very happy with

the output of the event,

especially as we continue

to vie for a sustainable

community-based, inclusive

tourism, encouraging

players in the region to

create unique products

which are beneficial for local

communities,” explained

Jens Thraenhart, Executive

Director for the Mekong

Tourism Coordinating Office

in Bangkok. The office is

in charge of tourism for

the six Mekong member

countries (Cambodia, Lao

PDR, Myanmar, Thailand,

Vietnam and the Chinese

provinces of Guangxi and

Yunnan).

The theme of the 2019

Mekong Tourism Forum at

ITB Berlin was “Leveraging

Visual Storytelling to

Promote Destinations and

Effect Change”. The subject

was leaning into the MTCO’s

growing reputation of

promoting and empowering

regions through different

visual storytelling means.

Participants to the forum

included prestigious

speakers such as BBC

Worldwide’s John Williams,

GLP Films CEO Rob Holmes,

Lonely Planet Author &

Hanuman Films Cambodia

Producer Nick Ray, and

PATA CEO Dr Mario Hardy,

who collectively showcased

how visual storytelling and

film can impact destination

tourism.

“We love the way a video

can give new life to our

most extraordinary Mekong

memories, but visual

storytelling can also effect

turn us into more conscious

travellers,” explained Jens

Thraenhart.

“It’s the reason why we

started our Mekong Mini

Movie Festival—to celebrate

those inspiring and stunning

Mekong moments. And we

appreciate our partnership

with ITB as well as PATA to

give us a platform to drive

sustainable and inclusive

tourism in the Greater

Mekong Subregion, I can

already confirm that we

will be back in 2020,” he

added

KOREAN CAPITAL

SEOUL ENJOYS

TOURISM PEACE

DIVIDEND

South Korea’s capital Seoul is one of the major

beneficiaries of inbound tourism to the North

Asian creative and economic powerhouse. In

2018, says Seoul Tourism Organization President

& CEO Jaesung Rhee, 80% of Korea’s 15.3 million

international visitors spent some time in the city.

In part, this is down to the popularity of phenomena

such as K-Pop, K-Drama and K-Food. But the

city itself has also has a lot to offer: “It is a highly

attractive tourism capital in which tradition and

modernity co-exist, as well as a global tourism

city that offers a wealth of cultural options and a

dynamic lifestyle,” says Rhee. “As a result, Seoul

has put a lot of effort into promoting itself and

offering visitors a seamless experience. The city

regards tourism as a high value-added industry and

is making various efforts to transition towards a

qualitative improvement.”

To this end, says Rhee, Seoul is “also making a name

for itself in the MICE sector, in which it is ranked

the third best city for international conferences.

MICE enhances Seoul’s standing as a truly global

city.”

Seoul is one of the most advanced cities in the world

in terms of technology, and this expertise extends to

tourism. “In January 2019, we introduced our Smart

Tourism Team,” says Rhee, “and to promote a smart

tourism system in Seoul we operate a website

(visitseoul.net) and mobile app (I Tour Seoul). In

addition, we have introduced our Discover Seoul

Pass. To offer greater convenience to FITs (free

independent travellers) visiting Seoul, the pass

offers free admission to 16 tourist attractions and

can be used as a public transportation card.”

The STO has attended ITB Berlin for five consecutive

years and this year is focusing especially on FITs.

Among its key themes are “Delicious, Relaxing,

Historic, Extreme, K-wave, Fashionable and

Exclusive.” Rhee says he has encountered a very

warm reception from European operators this

year, which he believes is down to the positive

peace talks taking place between South and North

Korea

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


ASIA

A TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

37

TOURISM IN

LOMBOK BACK

ON ITS FEET

AGAIN IN 2019

Banyan Tree Ungasan

gets top listing

Banyan Tree Ungasan, Bali has

been listed as one of the 58

Most Luxurious Hotels in The

World by Forbes Travel Guide.

In February, Forbes Travel

Guide’s inspectors visited

more than 1,000 hotels in 60

countries to determine the

2018 Star Award winners.

The 1,000 hotels consisted of

various five-star, four-star and

recommended hotels known

to deliver superior service

and guest facilities. Fifty-eight

hotels in 17 countries earned

the coveted designation,

representing the top 6% of

Star-Rated hotels in the luxury

category.

Banyan Tree Ungasan, Bali’s

General Manager Alfonso

Romero, said: “We were

pleasantly surprised when we

received the news because we

were unware of the judges’

arrival. However, I trust that

our staff did and will always

do their best to offer guests

the complete Banyan Tree

experience. Not only is this

award a recognition to the

hotel, I will like to take this

opportunity to thank our

associates for their excellent

service.”

Banyan Tree Ungasan,

Bali offers 71 pool villas

perched on the pristine cliffs

southernmost of Bali. Located

just 35 minutes by car from

Ngurah Rai International

Airport, the resort is near the

Uluwatu Temple and beaches

of Nusa Dua. The resort offers

panoramic ocean views and

cultural discoveries for new

and returning visitors to Bali

alike

Around 90% of tourism operations in

Lombok, Indonesia, are back in business

following the devastating earthquakes of

August 2018. In the north west of Lombok,

the island of Gili Trawangan is leading the

recovery, followed by Gili Meno and Gili

Air.

That’s the assessment of Khiri Travel

Indonesia General Manager Herman

Hoven who inspected Lombok’s tourism

destinations during Christmas/New Year

2018-19.

Hoven said Gili Trawangan was recovering

well due to its reliance on the backpacker

and “flashpacker” markets. Some hotels

on Gili Meno, more reliant on the couples

and honeymoon market, and Gili Air, will

take time to rebuild.

“But this is not affecting the visitor

experience available now,” said Hoven.

“Beaches have been cleared of rubble

and streets re-paved. It was encouraging

to see, probably up to 90% of tourism

businesses rebuilt, renovated and open

for operations. We’d like to see all the

tourism businesses back in demand to

speed up economic recovery in the area.”

Tourism businesses in the south of

Lombok, with its deserted beaches, were

hardly impacted by the earthquakes

anyway, and are open as normal, he said.

Renaissance debuts in Indonesia

Renaissance Hotels debuted its

first hotel in Indonesia, when

the Renaissance Bali Uluwatu

Resort & Spa opened in June.

Owned by PT. Alam Bali

International, the hotel is the

southernmost Marriott hotel on

the island and overlooks Bali’s

Bukit peninsula, best known

for the cliff-fringed coastlines.

George Fleck, Vice President

of Global Marketing &

Management, Renaissance

Hotels, said: “The spectacular

new Renaissance Bali Uluwatu

Resort & Spa sets the stage for

discovering the beautiful island

of Bali. With its artful design,

vibrant authentic dining scene

and engaging experiences

around every corner, the hotel

joins the current global portfolio

of more than 160 hotels, with

15 new hotels scheduled to

open in Asia-Pacific over the

next two years.”

With views of the Indian Ocean

or the lush lands of the Bukit,

each of the 207 guestrooms and

suites feature a private balcony,

bathrooms that include

freestanding tubs and designed

interiors that layer Ikat patterns

on tiles and textiles.

Clay Craft Restaurant is the

hotel’s signature three-meal

restaurant that incorporates

an interactive pottery school

concept to its space, while

Double Ikat Restaurant offers

authentic Indonesian cuisine

with a Cooking Studio that

allows guests to learn the

techniques and secrets of

Indonesian cookery, as taught

by the Chef in the restaurants’

open-plan kitchen.

The Pool Bar is the perfect place

to grab a drink and enjoy one of

the multiple pools overlooking

the ocean. R Bar, located in the

hotel’s lobby, offers some of

Bali’s best views

South Lombok beach

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


38

A TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

OCEANIA

© Rottnest Island Authority.jpg

Artists impression of the Ritz Carlton at Elizabeth Quay

Aerial view of Rottnest Island

Western Australia

New hotels, new attractions, new ideas…

Western Australia was very

much under the spotlight at

the Australian stand this year

at ITB Berlin. And its state

capital, Perth, is increasingly

attracting visitors from

around the globe.

Sitting pretty on the shores of the

sparkling Swan River and nestled

alongside Kings Park and Botanic

Garden, Perth’s renaissance

continues as new attractions,

accommodation, food and drink

offerings, as well as cultural,

entertainment and sporting

precincts open across the city and

nearby hubs of Northbridge, Mount

Lawley, Burswood, Leederville, City

Beach, Cottesloe and Fremantle.

So, what’s new, and what’s to

come?

NEW HOTELS

Perth now offers some of the

best value hotel and short-stay

accommodation in Australia

following the raft of new and

refurbished properties that have

opened in the CBD and surrounding

urban and coastal areas. Not

only are visitors enjoying more

choice in accommodation with a

broad selection of boutique, big

name and luxury accommodation

options, Perth hoteliers are also

offering up some great deals.

Since 2012, 31 new or redeveloped

hotels have opened in and around

Perth, adding more than 3,100 new

rooms to the local market with

names such as The Westin, COMO

The Treasury, Crown Towers, Alex

Hotel, Intercontinental, QT, Aloft

and Tribe among the mix.

By 2020, a further 10 new or

redeveloped hotels will come

online, adding another 2,400 new

rooms. Among the names still to

come are Doubletree by Hilton

and the Ritz-Carlton, which will be

its first Australian property in 10

years.

DAY TRIPS

Within an hour of Perth’s central

business district, visitors could be

taking a #quokkaselfie on pristine

Rottnest Island, tantalising their

tastebuds in the Swan Valley

or Perth Hills wine regions,

swimming with wild dolphins at

Rockingham, cruising the coastal

city of Mandurah’s scenic canals,

or discovering maritime history, a

World Heritage listed prison and a

bohemian lifestyle in the eclectic

port city of Fremantle.

COASTAL REVIVAL

• Rottnest Island is set to receive a

major boost to its accommodation

offerings, with the announcement

of a major expansion for Hotel

Rottnest, and the official start

of construction of the new $20

million luxury ‘glamping’ resort at

Pinky Beach. Hotel Rottnest will

double in size and add 80 rooms

to its current offering of 18. The

hotel will be rebranded as Hotel

Rottnest Resort and combine four

pools, restaurant, function rooms,

gym and rooftop bar. Meanwhile,

building has commenced on

Discovery Eco Village Rottnest

Island at Pinky Beach. Expected to

open in March 2019, the retreat will

include 83 high-quality eco-tents

with ensuite pods, connected via

elevated walkways to the Pinky’s

Beach Club complex which will

feature a swimming pool, alfresco

bar and dining area.

• Fremantle was included in Lonely

Planet’s 2016 Best in Travel guide

for good reason. With more than

$1 billion dollars of redevelopment

in the planning pipeline, look out

for new venues such as Seashells

and the Sweetwater rooftop bar

in the Richmond Quarter, COAST

at Port Beach, Segway and selfguided

walking tours, a range of

cruises and a thriving craft beer

scene.

• Scarborough Beach is on its way

to becoming one of Australia’s

best beachfronts. A $100 million

foreshore redevelopment saw its

first milestone in early 2018 with

the opening of an eight-lane,

50 metre beach pool. Known as

Scarborough Beach Pool, the

complex surrounding it includes

Chocolat Café and alfresco Italian

restaurant La Capannina. The

new public precinct also includes

Sunset Hill – which offers scenic

views over the ocean and naturebased

activities spaces, a Beach

Hub with a mix of recreational and

retail spaces, including the new

Scarborough Surf Life Saving Club,

and an Intergenerational Plaza – a

multi-use space for activities and

events with a climbing wall, halfcourt

basketball area, children’s

playground, and the feature

attraction, the Snake Pit skate park

bowl. The popular Scarborough

Sunset markets are on from

November through April.

• Slightly further south, popular

City Beach is home to lush lawns,

white sand and an expanding

range of waterfront dining options

including the chilled-out deck at

newly opened Odyssea Beach

Café and watching sunsets from

Clancy’s Fish Bar.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


OCEANIA

A TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

39

New tourism chief

promotes Tahiti

attractions at ITB

Berlin

Maïlee

Faugerat

Board Chair,

Tahiti Tourisme

Christopher Korenke, Senior VP Commercial and Marketing,

Air Tahiti Nui and Jean-Marc Hastings, General Manager

France & Europe, Air Tahiti Nui (l. to r.)

Air Tahiti Nui

Updates Fleet

Maïlee Faugerat was elected Board

Chair of Tahiti Tourisme in 2018

and was present at ITB Berlin 2019

in her new capacity. Recognised

as an active and committed

personality in Polynesia’s

economy, she replaced Michel

Monvoisin. Faugerat has more

than twenty years’ experience in

local and international marketing,

management control and

management of companies.

In her new role, Faugerat plays a

pivotal role in promoting tourism

in a location that is widelyperceived

as “Paradise on Earth”

by people around the world.

While the main island of Tahiti

is especially famous, the Tahiti

archipelago actually consists of

118 beautiful islands, offering a

range of touristic attractions.

A key dimension of the Tahiti

experience is authenticity.

Guesthouses are usually smaller

and more intimate than hotels,

creating a secluded space to

disconnect and unwind. The

shared experiences, meals and

relationships between guests and

owners mean travellers feel like

they are part of an extended family

and privy to insider knowledge of

the destination.

In terms of its attractions, The

Islands of Tahiti, officially known

as French Polynesia, possess one

of the most spectacularly beautiful

and diverse environments on

earth. A mixture of high volcanic

islands and low-lying atolls, these

specks of land are strewn across

four million square km of the

South Pacific. Clustered into five

archipelagos: the Society Islands,

the Tuamotu Islands, the Gambier

Islands, the Marquesas Islands

and the Austral Islands, The

Islands of Tahiti have in common a

delightful blend of Polynesian and

French cultures, and a consistently

tropical climate.

French Polynesia’s world of

oceanic islands offers vacationers

an almost limitless range of

vacation activities, both passive

and active. From paragliding

to beach combing to embracing

the laid-back island lifestyle, the

island is packed with a mix of

tropical adventure and blissful

relaxation. Visitors can swim with

sharks, shop for cultured pearls,

take a cruise, play a few rounds of

golf. There’s so much to do, they’ll

never want to leave

The Air Tahiti Nui airline

is a key means by which

tourists are able to reach the

islands of Tahiti in comfort,

according to SVP Commercial

and Marketing Christopher

Korenke: “We are a small but

very fine international airline

that has a presence in markets

including Asia, the Americas,

Europe and Oceania. Where

we don’t have a presence, we

have agreements with other

carriers – so that there is a kind

of passenger pipeline into our

main gateways.”

A thriving business, Air Tahiti

Nui is in the process of renewing

its fleet, says Korenke. “We are

switching from the Airbus 340

to the Dreamliner. We have

already received two of them

and expect another two in May

and August. They offer a very

premium product, but also

nice seats in economy.”

The airline, which flies in and

out of Los Angeles, Tokyo,

Paris and Sydney among

others, puts a strong emphasis

on quality, which is important

given the upscale profile of the

end destination, says Korenke:

“While Tahiti is open to every

segment, the luxury profile of

the market has to be reflected

in the onboard experience, so

we provide our guests with a

nice experience.”

While many tourists come

to see the main island, there

are 118 beautiful islands for

visitors to sample. “We fly to

the main island and then have

co-operation agreements with

domestic carriers that can take

visitors on from there,” says

Korenke. “But we have also

opened up a new subsidiary:

Tahiti Nui Helicopters. We saw

a lack of civil helicopters in

Tahiti, so we launched Tahiti

Nui Helicopters as a way to

transfer people between the

islands, and offer upscale

excursions to remote beaches

and mountains.”

Korenke says Tahiti is

experiencing good growth –

which is little wonder given

its almost mythological status:

“Tahiti has a good brand

image and a strong position

in the world’s collective

imagination,” he explains.

“There are dozens of exotic

untouched islands, wellpreserved

nature, beautiful

people and beaches, and mana

– the spirit of Tahiti in the air”

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


40

A TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

EUROPE

Rovinj, Croatia

Mehmet Ersoy

Minister of culture and tourism, Turkey

Targeting 70 million

foreign travellers in 2023

Turkey’s Culture and

Tourism Minister Mehmet

Ersoy has announced at

ITB Berlin that 2023 should

see 70 million visitors, with

revenues topping €E62bn.

The Minister came to ITB

Berlin to highlight the

ambitions of the Turkish

government regarding

tourism. “Our target for 2023

is to host 70 million tourists

and to earn US$70bn. We

are working hard to achieve

that target,” the Minister

said, while also highlighting

that Germans were among

the most important inbound

visitors for the country.

Last year, from a total of 46

million, Russia generated

5.96 million arrivals (up

by 15.1%), followed by

Germany with 4.51 million

(up by 11.4%), Bulgaria with

2.39 million (up by 6%), the

UK with 2.25 million (up

by 5.7%) and Georgia with

2.07 million travellers (up by

5.2%).

Luring more tourists will

require further investment

by the government, not

only in infrastructure such

as new highways, airports

or ports, but also on the

“soft” side: “We have three

priorities: the sustainability

of our tourism; technology

and quality. We see the

necessity to increase the

quality of our service, as

it will help us to generate

more income for our

tourism sector,” explained

the minister, adding, “We

just signed an MoU with

the Ministry of Education

to improve training of our

students such as requiring

them to learn three different

languages. We will also

encourage hotels to give a

training to more students,”

added Mr Ersoy.

The Minister is also looking

to turn more areas in the

country into new tourism

destinations. “There is a

huge potential for history

and cultural tourism as

we continue to open more

archaeological sites. Only

10% of archaeology sites

are visited currently, and

we want to emphasise our

rich gastronomy culture,” he

explained.

A new promotional body

is soon to be founded,

WE HAVE THREE

PRIORITIES: THE

SUSTAINABILITY OF OUR

TOURISM; TECHNOLOGY

AND QUALITY.

gathering together

government institutions and

the private sector, with a

potential budget of €135m.

ANOTHER

RECORD-

BREAKING YEAR

FOR CROATIA

The European jewel of Croatia has been a

trending destination enjoying year-on-year

growth over the last few years, with just

under 20 million projected arrivals and over

106 million overnights in 2019, a 7% and 4%

growth respectively in comparison to 2018.

Foreign inbound tourists account for nearly

90% of all arrivals and overnights.

Croatia has a wide array of attractions,

including the real-life King’s Landing from the

globally successful TV series Game of Thrones.

The series was filmed in Dubrovnik, which has

been voted as the best cultural destination of

2019 by readers of the US tourism platform

AFAR. Zadar, meanwhile, has been included

on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019 Top

10 cities to visit list. Furthermore, Rijeka is

preparing to be the European Capital of

Culture in 2020.

In addition to all of this, Croatia offers

an abundance of high-quality private

accommodation, with new high-end hotels

opening on a yearly basis and a few 5* hotels

planned to be opened during 2019, with

one in Rovinj slated for this spring. Overall

investments in the tourism sector in 2018

equalled €940 million, while this year over

€1bn in investments are expected, with more

than €626 million coming from private sector

investments in hotels, camps, marinas and

private accommodation.

In 2018, Croatia basked in the celebrations

of the FIFA World Cup finals, taking home the

silver, with many of Croatia’s football greats

including Luka Modrić the stars of Croatia’s

promo video for the past year. Croatia also

earned silver statuettes in the Best European

Destination and Best European Tourism Board

categories, as well as a Bronze Award in the

Best Destination – Overall category at the

prestigious Travvy Awards, held in New York

City this past January. This recognition came

from the travel industry’s experts, voted by

travel agents throughout the USA

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


EUROPE

A TOUR OF PLANET EARTH

41

France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine:

Vision for the future

Creation of value… and jobs… In 2020, Nouvelle-Aquitaine will be not only the

biggest region, but also the number one sustainable tourist destination

For 2020, Nouvelle-Aquitaine aims not only to remain the

#1 destination for French tourists (up to 25m), but also to

become the #3 French destination for international tourists.

With 14 UNESCO world heritage

sites and 28 of the “most

beautiful French villages”, along

with an incredible 720 km of

coastline, Nouvelle-Aquitaine

will be targeting local and global

outbound tourism markets in

order to achieve its ambitious

goals.

To achieve the projected targets,

the capacity and quality of the

region’s hospitality offering

offering is increased in line with

improved air, road and rail links,

and new, exciting promotional and

branding campaigns are offering

will be increased in line with

improved air, road and rail links,

and new, exciting promotional

and branding campaigns are

organised by the Regional Tourism

Board in order to foster interest

among potential travellers.

heritage (from the Lascaux caves

to medieval villages and castles),

but also of outdoor activities such

as canoeing, golf, cycling, and

fishing.As part of the Man and

Biodiversity project, the Dordogne

Valley was named a UNESCO

Biosphere Reserve in 2012.

ATLANTIC COAST

From Marais-Poitevin to Pays-

Basque via La Rochelle-Ile de Ré,

Arcachon to the Landes, this is the

kingdom of water sports, cycling

paths and lively seaside resorts.

Visitors are always taken aback by

the Atlantic Coast’s unforgettable

beaches and panoramas.

the “Paradis”, the cellar where the

oldest eaux-de-vie are jealously

kept.

PYRENEES, PAU BÉARN

Pau enjoys a privileged situation

that has earned it the name of

“the heart of the Pyrenees”. In the

city, the Boulevard des Pyrénées

is one of the favourite spots

among locals: they settle on the

terraces of the cafés in the shade

of the palm trees as soon as the

sun comes out and admire the

Pyrenean peaks.

POITIERS & FUTUROSCOPE

Futuroscope is one of France’s

most loved theme parks. Visitors

won’t find roller-coasters or

carrousels at Futuroscope but

dynamic cinemas, gigantic

NIORT - MARAIS POITEVIN

Imagine a magical landscape

of shady cattle meadows

crisscrossed by tranquil

waterways; a landscape of pretty

villages where bikes and boats

are traditional forms of transport.

Welcome to the Marais Poitevin

or “Green Venice”, a protected

natural area

SOME OF THE

REGION’S PRIMARY

DESTINATIONS

BORDEAUX CITY

AND WINE AREA

Bordeaux is the first urban area to

be distinguished by the UNESCO

with such a vast and complex

boundary. Its classic and neoclassic

architecture has seen

barely and stylistic change for

over two centuries and the city

has over 350 buildings classified or

listed as historic monuments. And

when it comes to wine, names like

Margaux, Saint-Estèphe, Pomerol,

Pauillac, Saint-Emilion, and

Côtes de Blaye set the taste buds

dancing.

DORDOGNE VALLEY

AND PÉRIGORD

The Dordogne area is a land of

many assets: from gastronomy

(foie gras, truffles, etc.) to historical

BIARRITZ - PAYS BASQUE

It’s easy to discover an exceptional

natural and cultural heritage

and to enjoy gastronomy with a

wealth of products. From Hendaye

to Anglet, not to mention Biarritz

and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, lovers of

surfing and water sports will take

advantage of numerous great

locations.

COGNAC COUNTRY

In Cognac, town and eau-de-vie

are one. So, a stay in Cognac

would not be complete without

a visit to a grand spirit merchant

to learn the secrets of distillation

or discover the ageing cellars and

screens, and even dancing with

robots. Meanwhile, Poitiers, also

known as “the city of 100 bell

towers”, with its 2,000-year-old

history and heritage.

LIMOGES - VASSIVIÈRE -

PLATEAU DE MILLEVACHES

Limoges offers a wide range

of cultural and gastronomic

discoveries. Thanks to the

porcelain that decorates the world’s

most prestigious tables, Limoges is

recognized as a “UNESCO creative

city”. To the north-west, on Plateau

de Millevaches park, Vassivière

Lake offers you an exceptional

holiday area.

Terrace on the harbour of La Rochelle

(Atlantic Coast)

Hikers at the foot of the Pic du Midi

d’Ossau (Pyrenees)

Market in Sarlat (Dordogne)

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


42 REGION

AMERICAS & CARIBBEAN

ECUADOR:

CENTRE

OF THE EARTH?

Manuel Antonio National Park

Costa Rica’s top

tourist attraction:

the environment

A small country with strong

values, Costa Rica’s approach

to tourism is taking the

welfare of both its people and

its visitors into account.

Costa Rica abolished its army in

1948. Since then its resources and

energy have been channeled into

improving the environment and

making the nation hospitable to

wildlife, the Indigenous population

and tourists.

A rainforested Central American

country with Caribbean and Pacific

coastlines, Costa Rica’s capital San

José is home to a number of cultural

institutions such as the renowned

jade and gold museums. But the

city is probably best-known for its

forests, beaches, volcanoes and

wildlife, all of which the authorities

are determined to protect. Costa

Rica also aims to be carbon neutral

by 2050.

Minister for tourism María Amalia

Revelo, gave the Essential Costa

Rica presentation at ITB Berlin,

pointing out that the introduction

of direct flights from Europe back

in 2015 has boosted the country’s

tourism. Germans make up the

majority of visitors from Europe, a

region responsible for 10% of the

country’s tourism market.

To strengthen the nation’s intention

to develop tourism while improving

and nurturing the environment,

the Costa Rica Tourism Board

established the Certification for

Sustainable Tourism Program in

1997 and updated it in 2018.

The programme aims to promote

best practices to protect the natural,

cultural and social resources of the

country by grading the sustainability

of a tourism entity on the basis of

four pillars: interaction with the

environment; waste management;

interaction with the client; and

interaction with the community.

“Our visitors become our friends,”

Revelo said. “Partly because most

of our hotels and small and run by

their owners.”

She added: “We have a population

of five million and we welcome

three million tourists each year. We

know what type of tourism we do

want and we know what type we

don’t want. We need to underline

the importance tourism has for the

quality of life of our people”

As Ecuador is crossed by the

Equatorial line, it is said to be

at the centre of the world. Its

territory, 283,560 km², is made

up of four regions: Pacific

Coast, Andes, Amazon and the

Galapagos Islands.

Described as “The country

of the four worlds”, it has an

excellent road network and

airport infrastructure, 12 hours

of light every day and two

seasons: winter and summer.

Travelling to Ecuador is

discovering a treasure at every

step.

The country that loves life has

a diversity of climatic regions

and short distances among

destinations that allows one

to travel through beaches,

mountains, volcanoes,

and lush vegetation and

conservation sites.

KEY SELLING

POINTS:

Ecuador has been chosen by

the World Travel Awards as the

leading Green Destination of

the World for five consecutive

years, due to the environmental

care and sustainable practices

in tourism.

It is the most biodiverse

country in the world in

relation to its size. It has 45

protected areas where more

than 130 species of plants

grow. In addition, it has seven

Biosphere reserves declared by

UNESCO.

In Galapagos, located about

1000 km from mainland

Ecuador, there are the Darwin

and Wolf Islands that holds

the greatest amount of shark

biomass in the world. These

areas of Marine Sanctuary, are

part of this Natural Heritage of

Humanity declared by UNESCO

in 1978.

GETTING

ACQUAINTED WITH

SOME OF THE

ACTIVITIES AT THE

CENTRE OF THE

WORLD

Tours and walks pass

through a hundred volcanoes

at the centre of the world.

Meet Chimborazo, the highest

volcano in the world from

the centre of the earth. In

addition, Cotopaxi, Illinizas,

Cayambe, Guagua Pichincha,

Tungurahua, and Corazón are

places to admire the world

from above.

Visit two regions aboard Tren

Ecuador (Ecuador Train) to

appreciate the diversity of the

Andes and the Pacific Coast

considered one of the World’s

Best Luxury Trains, chosen by

the World Travel Awards

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


AMERICAS & CARIBBEAN

REGION

43

Enrique Monroy

Abunader

Head of tourism promotion,

Yucatan Tourism Board

Rising Yucatan

commits to sustainable

development

Yucatan state has become the

rising star of Mexican tourism in

recent years, with growth nudging

16% in 2017, according to Enrique

Monroy Abunader, head of tourism

promotion at the Yucatan tourism

board.

Located with the Yucatan peninsula

in Mexico’s east, the state has a vast

wealth of natural, gastronomic,

cultural and archaeological

offerings. However the key point

of difference is sustainability,

especially for key source markets

in Europe.

“Our tourism development is

planned and managed in a way

that doesn’t cause impact on our

environment, or social-cultural

problems,” Abunader told ITB

Berlin News.

With sun 300 days per year, the

Yucatan tourism board is strongly

promoting solar power in the

sector, with hotels like the Hyatt

and Intercontinental already

having “elite certification” for using

renewables.

The goal is to also to ensure that

coastal infrastructure has minimal

environmental impact via the

maintenance of mangroves,

estuaries and sanctuaries that

sustain the region’s famed pink

flamingo, for example. Moreover,

there is a close dialogue with

communities who manage these

coastal zones that are also integral

to the local Mayan culture.

In this way, a new railway that will

begin construction in 2019 will be

encouraged to get off the beaten

path along the coast and explore

untapped nature reserves further

inland - though with minimal

impact. Chichen Itza, the iconic

Mayan city and one of the “new”

seven wonders of the world and a

UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one

of the stops along the route.

While Yucatan is already a hit

with the business segment,

offering Mexico’s highest

rated infrastructure for events,

conventions and incentive trips,

the destination is focusing on key

markets that demand sustainability.

“We are therefore aiming to be an

ecotourism destination as well,”

Abunader said of the low impact

approach to tourism development.

“We know that the European

market is looking for this kind of

destination that is more related to

nature and culture”

Colombia: A total

South American

experience in one

European demand for travel

to Colombia is currently

outstripping flight availability,

according to Deputy Minister

of Tourism in Colombia, Juan

Pablo Franky.

“There is no room, this is

something that has to be

solved,” Franky told ITB Berlin

News in the wake of expanding

demand for a destination

that promises to combine a

total South American travel

experience in one location.

With 12% growth from the

German market alone in 2017

(though the Spanish market

remains four times the size,

benefitting from many more

flight connections), Europe is

being sold on the rising South

American hotspot that boasts

both diversity, and biodiversity.

“From the Amazon to the

Caribbean, we have one

million square kilometres of

tropical destination options,

365 days of perfect weather

conditions, and four thousand

kilometres of sea coast, half

the Pacific, half the Atlantic.

You have the mountains, the

coffee growing areas, the

magnificent archaeological

sites,” Franky explained.

Communicating this diversity is

therefore one of the challenges

that the Colombian tourism

authority was addressing at ITB

Berlin. To this end, a particular

focus is growing agritourism

offerings, especially in the

coffee plantations dotted

around the highland region.

Colombian coffee is regarded

as some of the best quality in

the region, if not the world,

and the culture around the

aromatic bean is another key

tourism selling point.

“It’s a unique experience to go

and to see and to really feel

what coffee is for us,” said

Franky.

Another key part of Franky’s

mission at ITB Berlin is to

“convince more investors

to see Columbia as a great

opportunity.” He describes

Colombia’s tax benefit policy

that was created as an incentive

to tourism investment in the

South American nation. Hotel

developers, for instance, can

obtain tax breaks for up to 20

years.

A number of major hotel

chains, Marriott to Accor,

have already taken advantage

of the incentive, however the

goal is to attract more resort

properties. In this regard,

Franky is hopeful that a major

deal negotiated at ITB Berlin

will soon be announced

Ruins of the Ciudad Perdida,

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta,

Colombia

© Gavin Rough

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


44 REGION

MIDDLE EAST

Sharjah

promotes

“family

friendliness”

Sharjah Discovery Centre

© Visit Sharjah

Nestled between two coasts, Sharjah shares its heritage through its 20

museums and galleries, local architecture and culture-packed leisure

activities that are perfect for families. Sharjah is home to a wealth of

noteworthy sites, museums, beaches and fun indoor and outdoor activities.

Following are just a few…

AL MONTAZAH

WATERPARK

Newly renovated Al

Montazah Amusement

and Water Park is

Sharjah’s newest family

entertainment destination.

The 126,000-square-metre

amusement park offers

thrilling water rides, a

leisure park and green

space in the heart of the

city. Al Montazah has rides

and recreation options that

tourists and residents of all

ages are sure to enjoy. The

park’s offerings are rounded

off by attractions such as

a souk, cafés, restaurants,

sports facilities and live

performance venues.

DISCOVERY CENTRE

Sharjah Discovery Centre

is an entertainment centre

designed for children aged 3

to 12 years, providing them

with the opportunity to

learn, discover, understand

the role of science and

technology in their daily

life and explore the world

around them in a fun-filled

and relaxing atmosphere.

All the activities are based

on real-life activities in the

most fun way.

SHARJAH CENTRE FOR

ASTRONOMY & SPACE

SCIENCES

This cleverly designed

attraction is an enticing

place to take children,

with informative and

entertaining displays. The

centre aims at developing

and promoting education

about astronomy and

space sciences in the Arab

World in general and the

UAE in particular in order

to be a destination for

science, research, heritage,

education and tourism for

students and university

students, researchers and

families of all ages.

SHARJAH AQUARIUM

As an ancient port,

Sharjah’s history is

interweaved with the sea

and there is no better place

to learn about the emirate’s

sea-faring traditions and

local marine life than

Sharjah Aquarium. More

than 150 species, including

the beautiful clownfish,

delicate seahorses, moray

eels, sea rays and reef

sharks can be seen in the

cleverly designed large fish

tanks which wind through

the building, displaying sea

creatures in their natural

habitats of rocky shores,

coral reefs, lagoons and

mangroves

Ras Al

Khaimah

unveils luxury

camp plan for

UAE mountains

Ras Al Khaimah mountain resort

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)

used ITB Berlin 2019 to unveil an agreement with Mantis

to operate a “Luxury Camp” project on Jebel Jais, the

highest mountain in the UAE. The announcement was

made by Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism

Development Authority and John Hanna Mih, MD of Mantis

UK during a ceremony at the world’s largest tourism fair.

The luxury mountain camp

will be located at the height of

approximately 600 to 700 metres

above sea-level, offering visitors

spectacular mountain views of

the Hajar mountains, and a yearround

retreat with temperatures

around 10 degrees cooler than

the rest of UAE. Expected to be

completed in 2020, the tented

camp will comprise a total of 47

luxury units - 34 deluxe tents, 11

one-bedroom tented suites with a

private pool, and 2 two-bedroom

tented suites with a private pool

- complemented by facilities such

as a health club, heated pool, spa

& wellness centre, kids’ play area,

fire pit, and a restaurant.

The unique, eco-tourism project

complements the array of

adventure tourism attractions on

offer in the Emirate and will feature

the latest technology to minimise

energy use and conserve water.

Haitham Mattar said: “ITB Berlin

is a significant platform to interact

with the global travel market,

and to promote Ras Al Khaimah’s

breadth of outdoor offerings that

range from pristine beaches and

stunning desert landscape to the

spectacular mountain range of

Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak.

With the right investment and the

use of best practice to develop

sustainable tourism, we envision

a globally recognised destination

attracting close to 1.5 million

visitors by 2021, and 3 million

visitors by 2025”.

Mih added: “We are grateful to

the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism

Development Authority for their

trust in us in contributing to the

Emirate’s ever-expanding tourism

industry. With a growing number

of visitors to Ras Al Khaimah,

the luxury camp is a valuable

addition to the experiences that

the Emirate offers”

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com


AFRICA

REGION

45

South Africa heralds

25 th anniversary of

democracy

International arrivals have quadrupled

since 1993

Hon Hamat N K Bah (second right)

with colleagues

Gambian Minister

prioritises quality in

bid to woo tourists

It’s only two years since the

beautiful West African country of

The Gambia turned its back on

two decades of dictatorship. But

already the country’s Minister of

Tourism and Culture, Hon Hamat

N K Bah, has drawn up a national

plan designed to remind the world

of The Gambia’s varied appeal.

Minster Bah, a tourism industry

veteran, says the small nation has

many things in its favour: “It has

one of the mildest climates in the

world and some of the friendliest

people,” he told ITB Berlin News.

“We have some of the best beaches

you can find along the Atlantic coast

as well as beautiful seafood. The

Gambia River with its mangroves is

a popular destination and we have

amazing flora and fauna, including

around 350 species of birds.”

According to the Minister, the

biggest challenge facing the

country is competition from other

destinations. “In response, we are

promoting ourselves as strongly

as possible and also placing an

emphasis of improving standards.

Quality is a top priority for the

government, because service is

how we will distinguish ourselves.”

Notwithstanding its issues with

governance, The Gambia remains

a popular destination with tourist

from around the world, Minister

Bah said: “We are especially popular

with Europeans – notably the UK,

Spain, Netherlands and Belgium.

We are also seeing growth from

markets like Poland, the Czech

Republic, Russia and Scandinavia

but would welcome more support

from German tour operators. The

Gambia has always had a good

number of German visitors, but

we would like operators to help us

explain that it is business as usual.”

The Minister said that The Gambia

is targeting 500,000 international

arrivals, and sees the Americas as

another potential growth market.

“We are only a six-hour flight from

the Americas. We are the home of

the Kunta Kinte Roots story, and

this will be the focus of a range of

tourism activities in 2019/2020.

We are also putting a stronger

emphasis on eco-tourism”

Derek Hanekom is Tourism Minister of South Africa.

We started by asking him how South Africa’s tourism

offering has evolved in the 25 years since democracy

was installed.

This year, South Africa

celebrates 25 years of

democracy, a milestone for our

country and the foundation of

a booming tourism industry.

In 1993, 3.4 million tourists

travelled to South Africa,

contributing 4.6% to the

national economy. The number

of international arrivals has

quadrupled since then and now

stands at 10.6 million.

How important is tourism for

the state economy and what is

the government doing in terms

of investment to grow tourism?

If the entire value chain

is taken into account, the

total contribution of the

travel industry amounts to

€800m, or 8.9% of the gross

domestic product. In 2017,

tourism directly and indirectly

supported around 1.5 million

jobs, 9.5% of total employment.

By 2028, the number is

expected to grow to 2.1 million

jobs.

Safety and security are always

major concerns. How are you

addressing these issues?

Derek Hanekom

Tourism Minister of South Africa

The government is

continuously working to make

South Africa even safer, for

example, with the use of 1,450

Working for Tourism safety

monitors. At the same time, I

would like to stress that places

that tourists typically visit are

safe in every respect. In terms

of crimes against tourists,

South Africa is comparable to

most destinations around the

world.

What was new this year at

your stand at ITB Berlin?

When we talk about tourism

in South Africa, one thing

must always be clear: growing

numbers of tourists must

benefit everyone involved,

especially the micro and

medium-sized enterprises

(SMMEs), which do not

have the budget to market

themselves extensively. This is

why again this year 10 small

companies from different

regions of South Africa

presented themselves at our

South African Tourism booth

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019


46

WHERE

TO GO

IN

Berlin

eyes and a culinary delight for the senses. The

restaurant offers a spectacular view of the Spree

River and the Oberbaum bridge.

Fabrics restaurant

Stralauer Allee 3, Berlin

Tel: +49 (0)30 290 299 0

www.nhow-berlin.com/en/

Metro: S+U Warschauer Str. S5, S7, S75, U1

Tram: M10

Hospitality

Terrace of restaurant emil’s

CENTROVITAL BERLIN -

SPANDAU

Hotel, SPA & Sportclub, pleasure and health

in Berlin´s city west

When coming to ITB Berlin next time, why not

plan to stay in Spandau, with close proximity

to Messe Berlin and Tegel Airport? Centrovital

Berlin offers not only comfortable and quiet

four-star accommodation, but also spa and

sport club, wellness, Ayurveda and health

centre. Restaurant emil’s has creative & healthy

cuisine with view to Lake Spandau. Guests are

spoiled with culinary delights – with a wonderful

view over Lake Spandau. The restaurant emil’s

combines elements of modern cuisine with

healthy ingredients in a modern atmosphere,

serving both buffet and à la carte.

One can also relax after a busy day and enjoy

an evening with a drink of one’s choice from the

extensive cocktail menu at centrovital’s bar &

bistro La Havanita. It’s also possible to enjoy a

variety of delicious tapas, fresh salads, soups and

desserts in the bar’s cosy atmosphere.

Chaussee36 - Bedroom in the late 19 th century apartment

CHAUSSEE36

Offers A Time-Travel Experience

Built in 1886, Chaussee36 is a former Prussian

officers’ residence which is being fully restored.

Chaussee36 offers a unique Berlin and timetravel

experience, through authentic design,

sustainable architecture and careful restoration

of historic artifacts.

Chaussee36 is a 4,000 square metre historical

building in the heart of Berlin a multiple event

space, Salon36; furnished apartments for guests,

Residenz36; and an art gallery specialised in

photography, Galerie36.

The conservation of old elements in combination

with both new design and architecture express

the guiding principle of Chaussee36.

Chaussee36

Chausseestraße 36, 10115 Berlin Mitte

Tel: +49 30 280 976 48

www.chaussee36.com

Metro: U Naturkundemuseum U6

Restaurants

ROCK’N’ROLL! FABRICS

RESTAURANT

In the ‘fabrics’ restaurant at the nhow hotel,

star designer Karim Rashid’s digipop design

meets a contemporary international cuisine.

This culmination of creativity is a feast for the

Fabrics restaurant

EINSTEIN UNTER DEN LINDEN

Opened in 1996 by Gerald Uhlig and Willy

Andraschko, the Einstein coffeehouse and

restaurant on Unter den Linden in Berlin Mitte has

maintained its flair for the intimate and urbane.

At the beginning of 2016, the Grill Royal group

took over the famed establishment to revive the

allure of its early days. Classic Austrian cuisine

at its best is among the highlights. With respect

for the original charm of the house, the interior

has been carefully renovated and furnished with

discreet smoke glass mirrors while preserving

the homely brown tones of wood and leather.

The décor includes original photographs by

Robert Lebeck and Susanne Shapovalow, as well

as works by noteworthy contemporary artists.

Open Monday till Friday, 7am-10pm, Weekends

from 8am-10pm

Einstein unter den Linden

Unter den Linden 42 - 10117 Berlin

Reservation: office@einstein-udl.com

Tel: +49 30 20 43 632

http://einstein-udl.com

© P Langer

Centrovital Berlin

Neuendorfer Straße 25, 13585 Berlin

Tel: +49 30 818750

info@centrovital-berlin.de

Metro: S+U Rathaus Spandau S3, S9, U7

Einstein unter den Linden

ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 15 th March 2019

www.itb-berlin-news.com

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