ITB Berlin News 2020 - #4

cleverdis

04

ITB BERLIN:

FACING

THE CHALLENGES

AHEAD

KEY PLAYERS IN THE WORLD’S LEADING

TRAVEL TRADE SHOW LOOK AHEAD – TO A

“POST COVID-19” FUTURE

DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT

THE

AMERICAS

ITB BERLIN CONVENTION

#29

Sean Menke

CEO Sabre

SPECIAL FEATURE

NATURE

TOURISM

#18

#23

#15

EXCLUSIVE

INTERVIEW

DR MARTIN BUCK

Senior Vice President,

Travel & Logistics

Messe Berlin

ONE WORLD.

ONE INDUSTRY.

ONE DAILY.

The Official Information Source

The Official Information Source

INDIA

The Official Information Sources at

ITB-BERLIN-NEWS.COM

ITB-ASIA-NEWS.COM

ITB-CHINA-NEWS.COM

ITB-INDIA-NEWS.COM

ITB-BERLIN.COM

ITB-ASIA.COM

ITB-CHINA.COM

ITB-INDIA.COM



EDITORIAL

Richard Barnes

Editor-in-Chief,

ITB Berlin News

The growing importance of a virtual ITB

The prominence of the internet, and virtual

presence thanks to online platforms has

been proven by the success of ITB.com in the

aftermath of the cancellation of ITB Berlin.

It must be underlined that ITB.com was already

in the pipeline before the crisis. The aim of

this global website was, at the outset, and is

even more so now, to be a bridge between

real-life meetings and digital networking.

The aim is to ensure business, content and

networking availability 365 days a year. ITB.

com allows for the effective channeling of the

communications of all four trade shows – ITB

Berlin, ITB Asia, ITB China and ITB India –

and offers a year-round networking platform

for the world’s travel industry. It establishes

a digital social network for the B2B tourism

industry so that visitors can communicate

independent of the trade shows. Users can

set up a profile, match interests, be contacted

and can network. They can also follow other

users, exchange contact details and chat with

each other. It also enables easy access for

newcomers to the industry. By launching the

ITB.com digital platform ITB has established

a key platform and travel network which

has no parallel, and which can be made use

of in every market around the world. It also

underscores ITB management’s year-round

international leading standing in terms of the

market and opinion-forming.

After the crisis, face-to-face meetings will

more than ever be an essential part of

business, and ITB will facilitate these through

the return of major trade events. But in the

meantime, the “virtual” version continues to

enable business contacts and planning for

future growth

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CONTENTS

#05 NEWS

#12 RESPONSIBLE

TOURISM

#15 EXCLUSIVE

INTERVIEWS

#18 ITB CONVENTION

REGIONAL SPOTLIGHTS

#29

THE

AMERICAS

GERMAN REGION

SAXONY

SPECIAL FEATURES

#19 MICE

#21 GOLF

#22 FAMILY DESTINATIONS

& RESORTS

#23 NATURE TOURISM

#26 CULTURAL TOURISM

#27 TRAVEL TECHNOLOGIES

#28 TECHNOLOGY,

TOURS & ACTIVITIES

#38

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 3



I NEWS I

UNWTO to publish

recommendations

for recovery

In the coming days, the UNWTO is

set to release a set of “post Covid-19”

proposals

A new document, programmed for release

in the coming days, will highlight the steps

governments and other authorities need to

take to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on

the tourism sector and to then accelerate

recovery.

The report follows a highlevel

virtual meeting on

March 19, bringing together

key UN agencies, the chairs

of its Executive Council and

Regional Commissions,

and private sector leaders.

Tourism is the economic

sector that has been hardest

hit by COVID-19 and all

participants accepted an

invitation from the UNWTO

Secretary-General to

become part of a Global

Tourism Crisis Committee,

formed as UNWTO prepares

to launch a global guide for

recovery. The UNWTO-led

Committee will hold regular

virtual meetings, reflecting

the need for coordinated

and efficient action by the

private and public sectors,

governments, international

financing institutions, and

the United Nations.

Recommendations from

the meeting will be factored

into UNWTO’s report. These

will be complemented by a

dynamic component aimed

at engaging with innovators

across the world through an

innovation challenge centred

on tourism’s response.

Launched with the support

of WHO, this challenge will

identify new ideas that can

be implemented to help

tourism return to sustainable

growth.

The global coordination

committee will hold

regular virtual meetings

to evaluate and advance

recommendations as the

situation evolves. The UN’s

key tourism related agencies

will all be participating, along

with WHO and the main

representatives of the airline

and maritime transportation

sectors, as well as the private

sector.

UNWTO members are

a critical part of this

committee, represented

through the regional chairs

and the chair of the Executive

Council

ICAO, IMO, AND UNWTO CALL

FOR URGENT ACTIONS TO HELP

THE AVIATION AND TOURISM

SECTOR WITHSTAND COVID-19

IMPACTS

The International Civil

Aviation Organization

(ICAO), International

Maritime Organization

(IMO), and the World

Health Organization

(WHO), who joined the

UNWTO for a virtual

teleconference on March

20, are calling for urgent

government action in light

of the current situation.

Senior officials included

ICAO Secretary General

Dr Fang Liu and IMO

Secretary General Kitack

Lim.

From an overall

standpoint, a key

conclusion of the

ministers and senior

UN officials present was

that calls would need

to be made urgently to

governments to take

immediate actions,

including through

financial aid packages

and incentives, to help

the aviation and tourism

sectors withstand current

COVID-19 risks and

impacts.

When outlining the status

of the air industry, and

summarising the actions

taken to-date by ICAO, Dr.

Liu underscored that even

while the air transport

sector can be vulnerable

© ICAO

Dr Fang Liu

ICAO Secretary General

to many external factors

beyond its control,

COVID-19 was presenting

states and operators

with entirely new levels of

systemic risk.

“We have confronted

economic sustainability

challenges in the past in

terms of various financial

crises, the 9/11 attacks,

the Eyjafjallajokull volcano

eruption, and indeed with

earlier pandemics, but the

COVID-19 consequences

the air transport sector is

confronted with today are

truly unprecedented,” she

commented.

She also stressed that

commercial operators

had “registered significant

losses not only in specific

areas of COVID-19 impact,

but indeed globally given

the realities of network

interconnectivity and

preventative actions now

being carried to limit

international mobility.”

The UN agencies present

agreed that a wideranging

coordination

body be established

to begin addressing

the public-private

response required to

address these significant

and sector-threatening

consequences

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 5



I NEWS I

The Norwegian Spirit in Japan

That's the Spirit!

Norwegian Cruise Line's most famous ship

revamped

The finishing touches are being applied in Marseille,

France to Norwegian Spirit - the cruise ship which has

undergone an extensive $100 m renovation.

According to Norwegian Cruise

Line, the fleet's stalwart vessel

entered dry dock in January to be

revitalised with 14 new venues,

additional staterooms and an

expanded Mandara Spa. New

complimentary dining venues

introduced include a main dining

room, new 24-hour eateries and

new bars.

Making their debut are Bliss Ultra

Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge,

which features the Humidor

Cigar Lounge. Splash Academy,

the children’s waterpark, is

being replaced with an adultsonly

retreat, a daytime lounge

featuring two new hot tubs and

a dedicated bar. Mandara Spa

will double in size to nearly

650 square m and include a

relaxation area with heated

loungers, a new Jacuzzi room,

a sauna, steam room and water

therapy experience.

“As we continue to introduce new

innovative ships to our fleet, we

are committed to ensuring that

the experiences our guests have

come to enjoy are available on

even our most storied ships,” said

Andy Stuart, President and Chief

Executive Officer, Norwegian

Cruise Line. “We are excited to

reinvigorate Norwegian Spirit

so that she continues to provide

lasting memories for guests as

they sail to some of the most

exotic destinations around the

world.”

The rehabilitated ship will be the

first in the company’s 16-strong

fleet to visit Bali, Jakarta and

Surabaya, Indonesia; Beppu,

Kumamoto, Nagoya and Tokyo,

Japan; Taipei, Taiwan; and

Yangon, Myanmar. Following

two, 20-day exotic expeditions

exploring Greece, Israel, Egypt

and Abu Dhabi from Rome; and

Seychelles, Madagascar and

South Africa from Dubai; she will

offer a series of destination-rich

voyages to Southeast Asia, China

and Japan from Singapore; Hong

Kong, China; and Tokyo and

Yokohama, Japan

The Atrium, Norwegian Spirit

YOTEL & DUETTO

ENTER TECH

PARTNERSHIP

The hospitality brand Yotel

has partnered with Duetto

to streamline its revenue

processes and maximise

profitability across European

operations.

Duetto has developed a suite of cloud

applications to simplify hospitality

revenue decisions and allow hoteliers to

"work smarter", increasing organisational

efficiency, revenue, and profitability.

Yotel will be implementing Duetto’s

pricing application, GameChanger, and

its solution for intelligent reporting,

ScoreBoard, in eight properties across the

globe, totalling 2,776 rooms.

“Yotel is a trailblazer when it comes to

hospitality – pioneering the smart hotel

and now leading the field with its robotic

luggage concierge, Yobot, in the US. We

are excited about this partnership and

look forward to working together on

further innovations in hotel pricing and

revenue strategy,” said David Woolenberg,

Chief Executive Officer of Duetto.

“We are thrilled to partner with Duetto

– a company that is as forward-looking

about the hospitality business as YOTEL.

Our guest-facing product is innovative

and technology driven, and it is therefore

imperative that our back-of-house

operations should be equally cutting

edge,” said Joe Pettigrew, SVP Commercial

Strategy for Yotel.

Yotel operates properties in airports

and cities around the world. Its Yotelair

properties in Europe include London

Gatwick, London Heathrow, Paris Charles

De Gaulle and Schiphol. It also operates

hotels in Edinburgh, Amsterdam and

Istanbul, as well as properties in the US

and Singapore. The brand will open five

more hotels across Europe in the next

nine months.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 7



I NEWS I

Marc Dardenne

Chief Operating Officer

Luxury Brands Europe,

Accor

IDEALLY,

SUSTAINABILITY

PRACTICES WILL

BECOME THE INDUSTRY

STANDARD

A future where all luxury

is eco-luxury

Accor is focusing on sustainability in line with customer demand

Sustainability is a buzzword in the travel and hospitality

industries. But is it incompatible with luxury? This was due

to come under the spotlight at an ITB hospitality executive

panel entitled, "Luxury and Sustainability: Contradiction or

Prerequisite?" Among those who were set to take part was

Marc Dardenne, Chief Operating Officer Luxury Brands

Europe for Accor. Here, he gives his thoughts on luxury and

sustainability as they intersect with the hotel industry.

Accor has an acute understanding of

the symbiotic relationship between

luxury hospitality and sustainability.

Protecting the health and welfare of

our destinations is as important to

our guests and the communities in

which we operate as it is to our longterm

sustainability and profitability.

With more than 5,000 hotels and 40

brands, we welcome over 120 million

guests and serve 200 million

meals each year. We provide luxury

hospitality experiences in some

of the world’s most metropolitan,

energy-consuming hubs, as well as

in some of the world’s most remote,

unspoiled, ecologically pristine

regions. As a result, we take our role

as a responsible corporate citizen

to heart, and have been working

within the scope and focus of our

sustainable development program,

Planet 21, for nearly a decade.

What are the key trends regarding

sustainability and luxury in the

European hotel market, and what is

Accor doing?

Like almost every global market,

there is a shift in Europe toward

greater mindfulness in what we

consume and how we use the

world’s natural resources. There is

a greater desire among consumers

to connect with businesses that

actively work to make the world a

better place for people, wildlife

and surrounding habitats and

communities. In this regard,

Accor has made a commitment to

eliminating all guest-related singleuse

plastic by 2022 and our hotels

are already actively engaged in

doing so.

What does the future look like?

We expect a future where all luxury

is eco-luxury. Sustainability is now

at the forefront of our business

decisions and this will continue. Our

hotels and owners are asking for

more opportunities to create healthy

changes for our guest experiences,

our surrounding communities

and the natural habitats of our

neighbouring plants, animals, rivers

and oceans. Our hotel network

is also becoming much more

sensitive in our hotel development

and construction processes. At the

higher end of the market, our luxury

and premium hotels are leading the

way and new hotel construction is

getting more low-carbon through

green building practices. I am

hopeful for the future and believe

our luxury hotels will evolve towards

the best levels of Planet 21. Ideally,

sustainability practices will become

the industry standard

A GREATER

RANGE OF

VEGETARIAN

AND VEGAN

OPTIONS

Accor is offering customers a

greater range of vegetarian and

vegan options as the popularity of

more sustainable diets increases.

Sofitel Wroclaw in Poland, for

example, is starting to offer fully

vegan and vegetarian options to

meetings, incentives, conferences

and exhibitions (MICE) visitors

during breaks. Increasingly,

MICE organisers are said to

want to provide low-carbon and

ecofriendly event options to

clients. Also, The Bridge Wroclaw

- MGallery hotel in Poland is

"actively promoting healthy and

organic food" through a range of

initiatives. Bread is made at the

hotel, honey comes from local bee

hives and marmalade is certified

organic.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 9


I NEWS I

The solo traveller is

a promising business

opportunity

Wilfred Fan

CCO, Klook

As Wilfred Fan, Chief Commercial Officer of Klook, is responsible

for overseeing the Supply Business Development & Operations

division, and was due to be a speaker at the ITB Executive Panel

on Tours, Activities & Attractions, ITB Berlin News asked him

how the segment is evolving.

Over the past decade, mobile has proven

to be a game-changer. Travellers have

become increasingly mobile-centric,

with over 75% of bookings made via

mobile. As mobile technology drives

the digitisation of the industry and

captures traditional offline bookings,

operators look increasingly at adopting

new technology. As tours and activities

remain however highly fragmented with

an online penetration rate of less than

15%, we collaborate closely with travel

operators in their digitisation process.

So people want a more “individualised”

offer. How can they get this?

Travellers, especially millennials, are

looking for unique experiences. Our job

is to seek out all the attractive options

globally and identify the relevant ones.

Klook is working on machine learningenabled

features to offer customised

recommendations for travellers

based on their online behaviours.

With our tech hubs in Shenzhen and

Singapore, we expand data science and

analytics teams to enhance our search

optimisation and recommendation

capabilities.

What is Klook doing in this respect?

Data analytics play a key role to help

us spot trends. We also share data

and key insights with travel operators

and work together to create relevant

experiences. For example, according

to our Global Solo Travel research last

year, up to 76% of travellers consider

travelling solo, which is a promising

business opportunity. Therefore, we

collaborate with operators to meet solo

travellers' needs and forgo the minimum

participant requirement. As of today,

91% of activities on Klook’s platform

can be available to one person

10 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I NEWS I

In Dubai,

it's all about

ME

Dubai's most anticipated design

led, luxury hotel – ME Dubai (by

Meliá) -- opened its doors on

Sunday March 1, 2020.

Designed by the world-renowned late

architect, Dame Zaha Hadid, ME Dubai has

taken residence in The Opus by Omniyat

building, located in the heart of the Burj

Khalifa district in Dubai – the latest

outstanding addition to Dubai's iconic

skyline.

This is the first and last hotel where the

Iraqi-British architect has designed both the

exterior and interior of the hotel, making ME

Dubai her legacy project. Hadid was famous

for her intensely futuristic architecture,

characterized by curves, sharp angles and

bold materials and the ME Dubai hotel is no

exception.

The hotel boasts 74 rooms and 19 suites,

including the Passion Suite, Personality

Suite, Vibe Room and the ultra-luxurious

“ME Suite”. Hadid's design “reinvents the

balance between solid and void, opaque and

transparent, interior and exterior”. The Opus

itself comprises two separate towers that

connect in the form of a cube and featuring a

'carved' central void, which appears to hover

above the ground. The centre of the building

provides unexpected and dramatic views

of the exterior. During the day, The Opus is

a luminous surface, reflecting the dazzling

Dubai sun, with the LED lighting highlighting

the vivid character of the building in the

evening

LJUBLJANA

WINS EUROPEAN

"SMART TOURISM

AWARD" 2019

For the last years, Ljubljana has been know

as a city with a green soul after having

been awarded the price of "Green Capital

of Europe" in 2014. Now it is also a "Smart

City" as Ljubljana was selected by the

European Commission as "2019 European

capital of smart tourism".

The best way to see the city’s landmarks

is with the Ljubljana card combined ticket,

which not only offers entrance to 19

museums, galleries and the city zoo, but

also free bus travel, a 24-hour Wi-Fi pass

and a whole lot more. The Visit Ljubljana

website and app, which are both available

in six languages and are updated regularly

with information and offers

Ljubljana old town on a sunny summer day

Just a short walk across the Triple Bridge

brings tourists into contact with the

city’s past, present and future with views

of Ljubljana Castle, the Dragon Bridge,

Ljubljana Marshes and so much more.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 11


I RESPONSIBLE TOURISM I

ADVERTORIAL

More climatefriendly

flying

with “Sustainable

Aviation Fuel ”

James Thornton

CEO, Intrepid Group

Using Sustainable Aviation Fuel - one way to mitigate carbon footprint

The term “SAF” (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) often crops

up in the climate debate. Many people think of the fuels

used in road transport, such as biodiesel, which is not a

full substitute for diesel due to its chemical composition

and is only added in small proportions. SAF is different:

it does not contain any substances that are not also

found in conventional kerosene; it only lacks certain

components such as aromatic compounds. As a result,

the maximum admixture rate is high, at 50%.

Each process for the production of

SAF is subject to a comprehensive

approval procedure, which ensures

that no aviation risks arise from the

use of these fuels. Lufthansa has

been a pioneer in SAF testing for a

decade.

So far, SAF has mainly been

produced from biomass. One

objection to the use of biofuels

is the competition with food

production, since fuels such as

biodiesel are mainly produced

from crop plants (e.g. rapeseed).

With alternative kerosene, the

use of such plants has been

avoided from the beginning. It is

manufactured using materials such

as waste grease from agricultural

production. This also applies to the

kerosene purchased by Lufthansa

Group. On a global scale, however,

this is nowhere near enough to

cover demand.

Aside from fuels made from

biomass that does not compete

with food production, SAF also

includes electricity-based fuels,

which use electricity generated

from renewable resources to reenergise

atmospheric carbon

dioxide and convert it into fuel.

However, these methods are also

still under development.

So far, industry-wide use is

constrained by availability, since

only a few refineries worldwide

produce SAF. An additional

obstacle is the price, which

is several times higher than

that of conventional kerosene.

Lufthansa offers passengers the

option of voluntarily offsetting

carbon emissions by purchasing

SAF through the website

https://compensaid.com

Intrepid

declares climate

emergency

Intrepid, a carbon-neutral adventure company, calls for

more travel and tourism businesses to commit to climate

action.

The world’s largest adventure

travel company, Intrepid, is

declaring a climate emergency.

By doing so, the company, which

offers 2,700 trips to more than

120 countries, acknowledges the

science stating we have one decade

to address the climate crisis.

Intrepid is a founding member of

Tourism Declares, an industry

collective of travel businesses

who are committed to take action

on climate change by rethinking

their businesses including carbon

neutrality. Intrepid has been carbon

neutral since 2010.

“A healthy planet means a

healthy industry,” says James

Thornton, Intrepid Group CEO.

“The devastating bushfires in

Australia and other climate related

events around the globe are a

stark reminder of the climate

emergency."

“We truly believe travel is a force

for good – we hope that by us

declaring a climate emergency

many more travel and tourism

businesses will rally to the cause.

We don’t have all the answers but it

is the moment for us to accelerate

our action on climate change.”

Intrepid wants to become climate

positive in 2020 by offsetting more

carbon than it emits – even double

offsetting for polar expeditions –

and by reducing emissions across

its itineraries; it also sets a goal

for 100% renewable energy until

2030

12 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I RESPONSIBLE TOURISM I

Trip.com CEO takes

sustainability to heart

Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com, says as more and more people

see the world, it's her company’s responsibility to ensure

that the business continues to have positive impact on

their experience, to communities, and to the world.

A long-standing advocate for

people-to-people diplomacy

through travel, Sun says her

company's mission from day one

has been make travel accessible,

seamless and safe for as many

people as possible.

Speaking at the recent World

Economic Forum, Ms Sun said,

"Travel has the unique ability

to bring people from different

countries and backgrounds

together, to educate one another,

breakdown barriers, and avoid

misunderstandings. We strive to

make this possible, pleasant and

safe, but at the same time, as more

and more people see the world, it's

our responsibility to ensure that

our business continues to have

positive impact on their experience,

to communities, and to the world."

Around a year ago, Trip.com

became a founding member

of the Travalyst initiative led by

the Duke of Sussex, and led 75%

of its partners to adhere to its 4R

(“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and

Regenerate”) initiative.

Under Sun's leadership, in 2017,

Trip.com Group also launched a

Global SOS system, providing 24/7

emergency response services to

users worldwide. Since the launch,

the company has partnered

with local and international

organizations to expand coverage.

Over the past year, Trip.com

has partnered with destinations

in Croatia, Italy, and Japan, among

others, to increase consumer

awareness of attractions “off-thebeaten

path”.

As part of this process, Sun says

the company has favoured mutually

beneficial partnerships with local

businesses, at once contributing to

the local economy while also giving

its users access to well-established

in-destination resources

Jane Sun

CEO, Trip.com at ITB China 2019

B'n'Tree turns

travellers into

environmental

heroes

B'n'Tree Reforesting the planet with BedAndTree solo man

Started by Chris Kaiser, a German who moved to a National Park

in South Thailand and felt deeply concerned by deforestation

and the vanishing of animals, B'n'Tree has the goal of turning

travellers' bookings into a tree planting.

The rate of global deforestation still

exceeds the reforestation rate by far, and

every day thousands of acres of animal

habitat are lost – and with it, unnoticed,

quite regularly, plant and animal species

we never had the chance to discover.

"In spite of all the damage being done,

giving in to desperation would be the

worst possible solution", says Kaiser.

"Despite having lost a great deal of

biodiversity without us noticing, there

still is an astonishing myriad of flora and

fauna left, which desperately needs our

help."

B'n'Tree has been successful in attracting

a number of important booking

platforms to reverse to the association

a per-booking fee. These include

booking.com, Best Western, Koncept

Hotels, Urlaubsguru or the "I love Sushi"

restaurant chain, among others.

Travellers can thus simply log into their

favourite booking engine through the

bedandtree.com website. They are able

to take their first step by subscribing to

the organisation's newsletter - resulting

in one tree being planted. Booking as

well as subscription to the newsletter on

B'n'Tree are totally free of charge.

Over 104,000 trees have already been

planted in 12 countries turning each

traveller into a true environmental hero

through his or her booking

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 13



I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

Dr Martin Buck

Senior Vice President

Travel & Logistics,

Messe Berlin

ITB.COM IS WHERE

WE CAN LET THE

WORLD’S TRAVEL

INDUSTRY COME

TOGETHER – NOT

JUST DURING THE

SHOW, BUT 365

DAYS A YEAR

ITB: more vital

to the industry than ever

Exclusive interview: Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice

President, Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin

DR BUCK’S

PERSONAL

MESSAGE

TO THE “ITB

COMMUNITY”

A few weeks now since the cancellation of ITB Berlin,

people better understand the decision, given the global

amplitude of the crisis. We asked Dr Martin Buck, Senior

Vice President, Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin what the

feedback has been like been since the original difficult

decision was made.

The cancellation was a severe blow

for visitors and particularly for

the exhibitors. Despite this, there

was widespread sympathy from

everyone concerned and we even

received a lot of support. We realised

immediately that the tourism

industry needs ITB more than ever in

these difficult times. In order to give

the industry a platform independent

of ITB Berlin we made every effort

to promote our global brand with

itb.com. This brand new platform is

where we can let the world’s travel

industry come together – not just

during the show, but 365 days a year.

How successful has the “virtual

convention” been?

The ITB Virtual Convention was and

is an all-round success. Viewers were

able to follow more than 35 sessions

originally scheduled for the ITB

Berlin Convention both in real time

and in replays on itb.com. They are

now available as videos on demand.

The response was overwhelming.

Up to now around 1,000 viewers

have watched the live streams per

session and several hundred have

requested videos.

What are some of the highlights

of this year's convention? What

do you recommend for people to

watch in replay mode?

The highlights of the ITB Virtual

Convention were sessions on

sustainability, climate change,

digitalisation, overtourism and the

future of the travel industry, with

three attracting particularly keen

interest. There was the keynote

lecture on ’Overtourism’ by Eric

La Bonnardiere, the co-founder of

Evaneos, who explained how local

tour operators can overcome the

challenges caused by overtourism

at destinations. The latest findings

of an exclusive international travel

survey by Travelzoo and ITB Berlin

entitled "Global Luxury Customers

and Sustainability", presented by

Sharry Sun, Global Head of Brand,

Travelzoo, also attracted great

interest. The survey examined the

shift in customer expectations and

demands in the luxury travel market

and the relationship between rising

demand and sustainable travel.

Sessions on the coronavirus, which

will continue to impact not just the

tourism industry for a long time,

also attracted a wide audience.

In his lecture on "The Coronavirus

Outbreak: Effects on Global Tourism

and Successful Recovery and

Resilience Measures" Eran Ketter

(PhD), researcher, consultant

and crisis management advisor,

described the effects of the virus

and what measures destinations can

take

Despite its cancellation, ITB

maintains a continuous presence

in the digital sphere. As mentioned

before, the launch of itb.com

brings the world’s travel industry

together 365 days a year. The AIbased

Travel Network is a work

in progress and aims to offer

tourism industry users a platform

where they can conduct business,

network and find exclusive content

whenever required. This is where

exhibitors and customers can

communicate and do business all

year round. A start has been made,

and the next steps will gradually

follow.

However, a digital platform can

only complement a trade show

like ITB. It can never replace

it. Trade shows are unique for

their concentrated gatherings

of international industry

communities and take place on

the spot. More than any other

sector, the travel industry depends

on face-to-face meetings.

We therefore look forward to

welcoming all our exhibitors,

visitors and media to ITB Berlin

again from 10 to 14 March 2021

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 15


Saudi Arabia g

growth in tour

I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

The Kingdom is laying the groun

tourism in the coming years and

and provision for visitors develo

Saudi Arabia is gearing up for its tourist industry to

expand after new visa rules made it easier for travellers

from dozens of countries to visit. Fahd Hamidaddin,

Chief of Investment, Strategy and Marketing at the Saudi

Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, spoke

to ITB Berlin News about the key goals of Saudi Arabia's

opening up to global tourism.

Fahd Hamidaddin

Chief of Investment,

Strategy and Marketing,

SCTH

Diving on Red Sea reefs in Saudi Arabia - now a big draw card for the Kingdom

For the first time, Saudi Arabia

has opened to tourists from

across the world. Our tourism

sector represents significant new

opportunities: for businesses and

investors, for local communities,

and for the world’s tourists.

As a major driver of economic

growth and social opportunities,

our goal is to create sustainable

employment for Saudis, boost

foreign investment and ultimately,

in line with Vision 2030, diversify

our economy away from oil.

Our efforts and partnerships

will reflect Saudi Arabia’s work

this year when we host the G20

Summit in November. One focus of

the Kingdom’s G20 presidency in

© Visitsaudi

SINCE

SEPTEMBER 2019,

VISITORS FROM

49 COUNTRIES

HAVE BEEN

ABLE TO APPLY

FOR E-VISAS

AND VISAS ON

ARRIVAL.

2020 will be tourism as a means

of sustainable socioeconomic

development, while addressing

the environmental, social and

economic impact of tourism.

Why the big change in policy?

Last year marked an historic

milestone for Saudi Arabia as the

country opened to international

tourists. Since September 2019,

visitors from 49 countries have

been able to apply for e-visas and

visas on arrival. We have since

expanded our visa-on-arrival to

include anyone with a valid US, UK

or Schengen visa as we work to

make it easy for the world’s tourists

to visit Saudi Arabia.

It is well known that Saudi Arabia

is undertaking major economic

16 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


ets ready for

ist numbers

dwork for a massive increase in

decades, with red tape slashed

ping fast

and social changes, and opening doors

to international tourists is a policy

change which demonstrates Saudi

Arabia’s increasingly global outlook. In

line with Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is

developing its tourism offering to build

bridges between cultures and create

productive economic links, develop a

significant new sector and increase

workforce participation for women and

young people.

As the Chief of Investment, Strategy

and Marketing at the Saudi Commission

for Tourism and National Heritage, I am

proud to say that opening the country

to international tourism is one of the

most significant Vision 2030 initiatives.

Will Germany and in broader terms,

Europe be an important market for

Saudi tourism?

We predict China, the United States,

Germany and United Kingdom will be

amongst Saudi Arabia’s top source

markets for inbound tourism. As a

nation of explorers, which I understand

the Germans to be, many will be

surprised and delighted by our

hospitality, unique culture, diverse

landscapes and deep history. We are

excited to offer a glimpse into the

country’s ancient heritage and deeprooted

culture, breathtaking outdoor

activities, local handicrafts and

delicious food.

Sustainability is a buzz word we hear

a lot, but what is Saudi Arabia actually

doing to protect the environment as

you develop your tourism sector?

We have a unique challenge in building

a tourism industry from scratch, but

it is also a great opportunity to do

things right. One of my key focuses

when Saudi Arabia hosts the G20

will be the impact of tourism on the

environment, economy, and the sociocultural

aspects on global and local

communities.

Preservation of our natural sites has

been the bedrock of the infrastructure

plans – we are committed to opening

up to the world while protecting our

natural treasures such as the coral

reefs of the Red Sea and our five

UNESCO World Heritage sites.

In key initiatives, we are advancing

responsible and sustainable

tourism through specific funding

and partnerships. For example, in

AlUla, where we’re opening the site

to visitors gradually, we’re investing

$20m to save the endangered Arabian

WE ARE

COMMITTED TO

OPENING UP TO

THE WORLD WHILE

PROTECTING

OUR NATURAL

TREASURES SUCH

AS THE CORAL

REEFS OF THE RED

SEA AND OUR FIVE

UNESCO WORLD

HERITAGE SITES

leopard. In Amaala, a mega project

in the northwest coastline, we’re

partnering with the Prince Albert II

of Monaco Foundation to undertake

conservation initiatives and marine life

research, and at the Red Sea project,

all initiatives must ensure bio-diversity

preservation

SAUDI MAKES TOURISM

INVESTMENTS

Saudi Arabia is highlighting a series of development projects

to enhance the country's tourism sector. These include:

• The restoration and preservation of Saudi Arabia's unique

heritage attractions, including the UNESCO World Heritage

Site at Ad Diriyah, the AlUla archaeological site and the

Jeddah Historical District.

• Infrastructure such as hotels and improved transport links

close to some of the Kingdom’s natural attractions, which

span a range of topographies, from the mountains of Abha

to the beaches of the Red Sea to the shifting sands of the

Empty Quarter.

• New attractions under development include the futuristic

city of Neom, the Qiddiya entertainment city near Riyadh and

luxury destinations beside the Red Sea

© Ryan McMinds © The Royal Commission for AlUla

AlUla archaeological site

WTTC UNDERPINS PLANS

FOR SAUDI TOURISM

EXPANSION

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has partnered

with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National

Heritage to make Saudi Arabia a "top five" inbound

destination, with 100 million international and domestic

visits, by 2030. The strategic partnership will harness the

power and expertise of WTTC’s global membership, world

class events and experience in research and strategic policy

work to support Saudi Arabia’s ambitious goals and Vision

2030 plan. Speaking in Riyadh at the launch of Saudi’s new

tourism visa on World Tourism Day last year, Gloria Guevara,

President & CEO of WTTC said “I congratulate Saudi Arabia

on its decision to open the country to tourists from across

the world and look forward to working together to make

Saudi Arabia a must visit destination the world over. Today

history is being written!"

Diving on Red Sea reefs in Saudi Arabia - now a big draw card for the Kingdom

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 17


I ITB BERLIN CONVENTION I

Striving to be the platform

at the centre of business

of travel

Sabre's CEO Sean Menke strives to transform the

organisation and its culture

Sean Menke, the CEO of Sabre, was due to be the

special guest for a “CEO Interview” at CityCube Berlin

during ITB. We asked Sean how he saw the future

of the industry in general, and the role of consumer

expectations.

We are operating in a highly

digitalised world with rapidly

evolving consumer expectations.

Over the past years, many

sectors such as music, video

or retail have been reshaped

by technology. Influenced by

consumer experiences in their

everyday lives, today’s travellers

are demanding easy-to-use

services and products, instant

gratification and a high degree of

personalisation.

MACHINE

LEARNING AND

ARTIFICIAL

INTELLIGENCE

WILL RESHAPE

THE WAY

WE SELL,

DELIVER AND

EXPERIENCE

TRAVEL

This creates opportunities for

travel providers to innovate,

especially when it comes to

delivering a state-of-the-art

consumer-grade experiences,

and there are certainly some

obstacles, such as the high

degree of fragmentation and our

industry’s built-in complexity.

However, in my discussions with

leading industry players, I’m

seeing an increasing willingness to

have candid conversations, break

down silos, and reimagine the

business of travel to the benefit

of all stakeholders, including and

above all the travellers.

How will technology further

enhance the travel experience in

this coming decade?

In the next decade, we believe that

machine learning and artificial

intelligence will reshape the way

we sell, deliver and experience

travel. A world of just-what-Iwant,

just-when-I-want-it, justhow-I-want-it

is right around the

corner for the travel industry.

Our customers succeed when

the traveller’s demands are met,

so our product development

starts with the traveller’s needs

and we invest significantly in

understanding their expectations,

and delivering technology that

enables airlines, agents, hotels

and other stakeholders to meet

and exceed those expectations.

What are Sabre's “KPIs” and how

are they progressing?

Our industry is changing, and

Sabre wants to be a leader in

this evolution. We strive to be

the platform at the centre of the

business of travel, and our KPIs

are designed to measure how

well we do on this journey. Since

I became CEO in December

2016, I have dedicated my time

to transforming the organisation

Sean Menke

CEO of Sabre

and its culture. We’ve prioritised

product health, undertaken the

modernisation of the technology

infrastructure that powers

our platform, accelerated our

transition to a modern, cloudbased

open environment, and

re-aligned the businesses so that

customers would hear a single

voice and a unified strategy.

For each of these efforts, we

have a set of detailed internal

measurements of success and we

are making good progress against

each of them.

Sabre’s offering is becoming

much more “personalised”. How

does that work?

The travel marketplace looks

nothing like it did a half century

ago when Sabre was founded, and

it continues to evolve with better

data-driven offers that are tailored

for consumers. Until very recently,

the focus has primarily been on

flights and accommodation – not

just for Sabre, but in the entire

industry ecosystem. But there are

many other opportunities. To be

successful, you need technology

platforms that bundle all kinds

of travel content and make it

available. I consider this to be

our most important task: How

do we make it possible to plan a

complete trip with our systems

– and not just with flights and

hotels?

We want to lead that evolution. In

the coming years, Sabre will lead

a new market for personalised

travel. That’s our ambition, our

guiding star

18 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I SPECIAL FEATURE I MICE I

Latvia is

leveraging

MICE as a

key vector

for tourism

promotion

Riga old town, Latvia

The country's compact size allows for great

diversity when planning an event programme.

For example, a morning session may be held at a

central Riga hotel, with a transfer to the nearest

national park for an afternoon outdoors, with

guests falling asleep to the peaceful sounds of

silence at a rural guest house or manor estate.

Riga offers 350 meeting rooms in historical

and contemporary settings from glamorous

ballrooms to airy minimalist spaces. The coastal

city of Liepāja is another option for small to midsize

conferences or incentive getaways. 2019

saw the arrival of two new design hotels to

accompany the existing selection of independent

properties and the stunning Great Amber

Concert Hall with its range of event spaces

ADVERTORIAL

Bangkok Airways'

MICE campaign flies

high

A campaign to encourage

more meetings and incentives

travel to Thailand from

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar

and Vietnam (CLMV) is now

in its third year.

Bangkok Airways' "Fly,

Meet, Shop" initiative offers

incentives such as fasttrack

immigration services

and discounts on in-flight

shopping for meetings,

incentives, conferences and

exhibitions (MICE) travellers.

Organised with Thailand

Convention and Exhibition

Bureau and Central

Department Store Group,

the campaign already helped

the number of MICE groups

travelling to Thailand from

CLMV countries grow from 19

in 2018 to 44 in 2019

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 19


I SPECIAL FEATURE I MICE I

ADVERTORIAL

The Moscow International Business Centre

St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

MICE: Moscow hosts

major events

Moscow was named the world's leading city

destination in 2019 – winning one of the industry’s

most prestigious accolades – the World Travel

Awards.

In 2019, the number of foreign

business representatives

visiting the Russian capital

increased by 14%, according to

official figures.

Along with outstanding

infrastructure and meeting

facilities, Moscow has one

of the strongest scientific

communities in the world,

represented by research

institutions, universities and

local branches of international

associations. Additionally,

Moscow is a hub for regional

events and conferences. To this

end, 41.5% of tourist arrivals to

Moscow from countries in the

Commonwealth of Independent

States (CIS) are for business

events or corporate travel

purposes.

More than 3,000 business

events take place in Moscow

every year, placing the city

on a list of top global meeting

destinations. The city’s MICE

capacity is supported by

more than 150 professional

conference organisers (PCOs)

and more than 30 convention

and exhibition venues.

Moscow now boasts all the

necessary infrastructure to host

any exhibition or conference

event. There are conference

centres and hotel chains that

can satisfy the needs of almost

any audience, not to mention

business clusters and business

quarters. Their standards and

quality meet international

requirements. The city’s

attractiveness to business

is increasing over the years:

organizers choose Moscow

as a venue for internationalcalibre

business conferences

measurably more often.

As a vivid example, in 2019

Moscow welcomed more than

270 ministers, delegates and

representatives of the public

and private sectors from

more than 60 countries to its

part of the UNWTO General

Assembly Session. The event,

which lasted two days, involved

MORE THAN

3,000 BUSINESS

EVENTS TAKE

PLACE IN

MOSCOW

EVERY YEAR

working sessions, official

meetings and cultural events.

Although it was the first time

the Russian capital had hosted

in the event, delegates saw

that everything was organised

“perfectly”.

UPCOMING

After having won the award in

2019, Moscow will be hosting,

for the first time, the Grand

Final of the World Travel Awards

2020

TOP HOTELS

& CONVENIENT

TRANSPORT

GETTING AROUND MOSCOW

Moscow has developed a “unified navigation

system” that includes all types of public transport.

Even an inexperienced, non-Russian speaking

traveller can choose a convenient route and plan

transfers.

A well-developed urban transport system links all

districts of Moscow. The Metro is the main means

of transport for the city's inhabitants and guests.

During the day, it is convenient to travel by bus,

tram, and ecological electric bus, and at night - by

bus, with some routes operating 24/7.

There are around 32,000 car-shares and 528 bike

rental stations in Moscow. Furthermore Moscow

and Moscow region have 137,000 taxis.

HOTELS

According to a travel metasearch site, Moscow

ranks seventh among the European capitals and

is among the world's top 20 capitals with the most

affordable 5-star hotels. Five Moscow hotels have

also recently been included in Forbes Travel Guide

2020 rating.

According to the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’

Choice awards, ten of Russia’s top 25 hotels can

be found in Moscow. Moscow’s hospitality sector

now includes around 1,800 hotels and top-level

accommodation facilities, with the average annual

occupancy rate of Moscow hotels running at 78%.

There are over 40 hotels operating under brands

of the world’s leading hotel chains, with a total

number of rooms exceeding 13,000. International

brands include: Four Seasons, Hilton, Holiday Inn,

InterContinental, Kempinski, Marriott, Radisson,

Ritz Carlton and Swissôtel

20 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I SPECIAL FEATURE I GOLF TOURISM I

Els Desaru Coast

ADVERTORIAL

Tourism Malaysia

highlights golf as a major draw

for tourism

Malaysia is a must visit for every golf traveller, and

the Malaysia Golf Tourism Association is working

hand in hand with Tourism Malaysia to boost

promotion of the sport on a global scale.

With over 200 golf courses

which nearly all are open and

accessible to visitors, visitors

will never have to travel far

to find a wonderful new golf

experience. The country’s

diverse culture, rich history,

scenic golf courses, astounding

choice of food, beautiful

natural attractions, and home

to a melting pot of Asian races

will surely make for a lasting

memory to bring home.

Being a tropical country

with favourable warm

weather for golf all-yearround,

Malaysia is also host

to many golf tournaments

every year. Malaysia has a

host of top-drawer courses,

many by notable designers

and in locations ranging from

the tropical resort islands

of Penang and Langkawi

to the suburbs of Kuala

Lumpur and other cities, not

to mention the mountains

of Genting Highlands and

rainforests of Sabah and

Sarawak.

The Troon group recently

completed not one, but two

spectacular new Els Club

Malaysia golf courses on the

country’s Desaru Coast in the

southern state of Johor.

The Els Club Desaru Coast

Ocean Course offers 27 holes

of championship golf designed

by Ernie Els. Situated along

the Desaru Coast in the

southern state of Johor, golfers

experience three distinctly

different 9-hole courses aptly

named the Lakes (Par 36),

Coast (Par 36), and the Ridge

(Par 37). Features a 50,000 sq

foot purpose built clubhouse

for meetings & events

Golf on the African continent

– a growing attraction

Early European settlers in Africa,

keen on the game of golf, left behind

a legacy of beautiful and distinctive

courses.

In all, there are 828 courses on the African

continent, with a little more than half of those,

450, located in South Africa. Egypt, Kenya,

Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia and

Zimbabwe are all gaining reputations as good

destinations for a golf holiday.

Kenya, with 40 golf courses, is pushing golf

tourism as a big plus. The balmy climate of

Kenya seems to have been made specifically for

the game, rivalling the Mediterranean as a winter

golf destination. The country counts one PGA

course and four spectacular coastal courses.

Another highlight is the Fairmont Mount Kenya

Safari Club, which is right at the equator, so you

can tee off at one hemisphere and drop the ball

on the other

DURBAN

COUNTRY

CLUB

– TOWARDS

A GLORIOUS

CENTENARY

In 2022, the Durban Country Club

celebrates its centenary, pitching

for the South African Amateur

Championships, and the South

African Open.

Rated one of the Top 100 courses in the

world, the club caters to golf enthusiasts and

professionals alike. One of just a number of

excellent golf facilities in the Durban area, it

has an exceptional history.

The course is a “combination of beauty and

brains”, testing the skills of the most talented

players. Over the decades, it has played host

to the South African Open an incredible 17

times. In the run-up to the country club’s

centenary, a think-tank has been put in place

with a mid-term plan for the modernisation of

the course and its facilities.

“The future has to be built around the golf

course and what golf offers here. It is a unique

type of gold course. Now we know we have to

move with the times and plan what the course

will look like in 20 years’ time”, said Don

Gammon, a full-time consultant to the club.

“The first five holes have been talked about by

some Ryder Cup champions as being the best

opening five holes in the world. It’s not the

friendliest welcome difficulty-wise, but it’s like

it was meant to be here”

Durban Country Club

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 21


I SPECIAL FEATURE I FAMILY DESTINATIONS & RESORT I

Europapark

- new record

in 2019

Rulantica Trolldal

With over 5.7 million visitors in 2019, Europa-Park achieved the

highest number of visitors in its corporate history. In addition,

further guests arrived at the new indoor water world Rulantica

which was opened at the end of November.

“Rulantica had a great start and gets top

marks. We are extremely pleased with

that as the water world is new territory

for us”, said Europa-Park owner Roland

Mack.

2019 was characterised by intensive

construction work and very high

investments − the water world

Rulantica and the adjacent hotel alone

cost around 180 million Euros. It is the

largest single investment that Europa-

Park has ever made. In addition, there is

the reconstruction of the Scandinavian

themed area, which was destroyed by

the fire, and the new ride “Snorri Touren”.

EUROPA-PARK WITH

RULANTICA - BECOMING

A TRAVEL DESTINATION IN

ITS OWN RIGHT

Europa-Park is increasingly becoming an

independent travel destination and is the

first operator in Germany which opened

a second theme park, Rulantica, at its

location in Rust.

With two parks at the Europa-Park Resort,

six hotels and the Confertainment Centre

across a total area of 145 hectares,

Germany's largest theme park attracts

more and more international guests and

is in competition with Mallorca, Greece

or the Italian lakes.

THEMED HOTEL

‘KRØNASÅR’ OPENS

The sixth themed hotel ‘Krønasår’

was opened in May last year, and is an

integral part of the resort expansion. The

4* superior hotel is a very special natural

history museum and offers stylish

accommodation in a Nordic atmosphere

for up to 1,300 overnight guests. There

are many culinary things to discover in

several Nordic themed restaurants and

bars

22 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


ADVERTORIAL

I SPECIAL FEATURE I NATURE TOURISM I

Yanping Mountain

Taiwan: a land

of extraordinary

contrasts

From breath-taking mountains and

coastlines to bustling cityscapes – in a

compact package

Taiwan is indeed a combination of Asia’s most beautiful

characteristics. The island’s breath-taking landscapes

offer impressive gorges, high mountains, adventurous

coastlines, colourful corals, and volcanic islands. This

stands in contrast to modern cities like Taipei or Kaohsiung,

fused with traditions and culture.

Whether there on a stop-over or for a

longer stay, Taiwan will surprise and

delight visitors with its extraordinary

variety of sights and activities.

Taipei

Contrasting with the “raw nature”,

Taipei is a dynamic and exciting

metropolis, which merges the old

and the new in a lively, diversified

and exuberant way. Undergoing

a drastic transformation in the

last 20 years, Taipei is the island’s

economic, political and cultural

centre - a never-ending series of

fascinating contrasts filled with

energy and friendly smiles. The

capital’s cultural kaleidoscope

is reflected into centuries-old

temples facing contemporary neon

street life. The city has dozens of

world-class restaurants offering

the best regional cuisine but also

plenty of night markets serving up

scrumptious evening snacks.

Taipei’s urbanity e ortlessly merges

with this spectacular destination’s

luxuriant nature. Just a few minutes

from the city, tourists can soak in hot

springs nestled in lush mountainous

hills or wander along trails and parks.

Two-thirds of Taiwan is covered

by forested mountains while the

remaining areas consists of hills,

plateaux, coastal plains and basins.

The Central Mountain Range

stretches from north to south,

forming a natural line for rivers

on the east and west of the island.

The island has an abundance of

mountains; over 200 of its peaks

are more than 3,000m high. First

and foremost, Yushan at 3,952m is

Taiwan’s highest peak.

Yushan’s snow cover in winter has

earned the nickname of Mount

Jade, primarily because its peak

glistens beneath the frozen ice

like a sparkling green gemstone.

Despite its size, Yushan can be

Yushan Mountain

hiked relatively easily by hikers of

all levels (with the relevant permits

obtained in advance) which adds to

its popularity.

Those who prefer to go in search of

adventure on two wheels are also well

catered for — that is why the island

has earned a justified reputation

as a cyclists’ paradise. A series of

both simple and challenging routes

wind through the island’s dazzling

FREE HALF

DAY TOURS

AVAILABLE

FOR FOREIGN

PASSENGERS

WITH 7 TO

24HOUR

LAYOVERS IN

TAIWAN

scenery, showcasing a mesmerising

juxtaposition between coast and cliffside,

sea and mountain.

Each area boasts its own unique

geographical features, ranging from

tropical forests and walled gorges

to dramatic sea cli s and abundant

wildlife — small wonder that when

Portuguese sailors first sighted the

uncharted island they noted it on

their maps as Ilha Formosa or the

“beautiful island”

Taiwan's Tourism Bureau o ers free halfday

tours for transit passengers with 7- to 24-

hour layovers, who have valid Taiwan travel

visas or come from countries eligible for

visa-exempt entry.

There are both morning and afternoon

half-day tours. The morning tour includes

visits to sites in Sanxia and Yingge. The

afternoon tour includes visits to Taipei 101,

Longshan Temple, and Chiang Kai-shek

Memorial Hall and Memorial Park, among

other sites in Taipei.

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 23


I SPECIAL FEATURE I TRANSPORT I

24 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I SPECIAL FEATURE I NATURE TOURISM I

ADVERTORIAL

Close encounters

of the natural kind

Durban is the gateway to new and exceptional

wilderness experiences

© Thanda Safari

Miravalles

Volcano National

Park-Jorge

Manuel Dengo,

Costa Rica

COSTA RICA

WELCOMES

ITS 29 TH

NATIONAL

PARK

After encountering the big five, visitors are treated to convivial refreshments

Costa Rica has declared

the Miravalles Volcano

National Park-Jorge

Manuel Dengo the

country’s 29 th national

park.

Following a strategic agreement in 2018 between the

Accor and Mantis groups, an exclusive new game reserve

has been opened just north of Durban, South Africa,

in a total wilderness area belonging to the local Zulu

community.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is the oldest

nature reserve area in Africa,

and is one in which, thanks to its

beautifully maintained private

concessions, “close encounters”

with the extraordinary wildlife are

relatively easy. As a new addition,

the new uMfolozi Big Five Reserve

(rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards

and buffalo), run by Mantis, adds

to the already exceptional offering

of resorts within easy reach of

Durban, further increasing the

attractiveness of the region for

international tourists.

Zulu chiefs enabled the opening

of this new parcel of land to a very

select number of visitors, granting

Mantis a 6,000-hectare land

concession on pristine wilderness

for the creation of the new reserve.

The new concession has thus been

added to the broader (around

100,000 hectares) state-owned

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.

Two 5-star lodges have been

constructed – the Biyela Lodge and

Mthembu Lodge – offering distinct

experiences overlooking the White

iMfolozi River.

Biyela Lodge property manager

Melissa Marx explains that a key

selling point is that this is a veritable

wilderness area: “It was the original

hunting ground of King Shaka, but

no tourists have ever set foot here

before.”

Zulu culture is omnipresent. “For

our guests, the discovery and

understanding of Zulu rites and

traditions makes this place much

more than just another game

reserve. It’s very special,” adds

Marx.

LUXURY IN THE WILD:

WITH CONSERVATION

AS A MISSION

Already well established meanwhile

as an ultra-luxury eco-resort, also

in KwaZulu Natal, Thanda Safari

offers guests an authentically

South African wildlife experience

matched with commitment to

the Zulu culture and passionate

conservation of the environment.

Meaning “love” in isiZulu, Thanda

is a member of The Leading

Hotels of the World and multiple

winner of World’s Leading Luxury

Lodge. Its mission is to serve as

a “responsible custodian of the

environment, combining respect

for biodiversity in partnership with

wildlife conservation agencies

and rural community support

initiatives”

The new addition, located in

the north-western region of

Guanacaste, is one of Costa

Rica’s hidden gems. It is nearly

5,000 hectares and features

some of Costa Rica’s biggest

geothermal fields. Costa

Rica’s protected areas now

encompass more than 25% of

its land mass, more than any

other country in the world.

Jaguars, big cats, ocelots,

cougars and tapirs are some

of the species that can be

found in the National Park,

whose sights are dominated by

Miravalles Volcano. Standing

at 2,028m, it is the tallest

volcano in the Guanacaste

mountain range and generates

an abundance of geothermal

energy. This is why the thermal

hot springs are one of the

most popular attractions is the

area

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 25


I SPECIAL FEATURE I CULTURAL TOURISM I

ADVERTORIAL

NOVI SAD,

EUROPEAN

CAPITAL OF

CULTURE 2021

Museum of the Southern Jewish

Experience to open in New Orleans

in Q3 2020

A new museum, set to open in New Orleans in Q3

2020, will be the only museum in the country to

focus exclusively on the history and culture of Jews

across the South.

Exhibits at the Museum

of the Southern Jewish

Experience (MSJE) will

explore the ways Jews in the

American South influenced

and were influenced by their

communities, covering 13 states

and more than 300 years of

history – including Colonial, Civil

War, World War II and the Civil

Rights Movement.

Multimedia exhibits will illustrate

how Jewish immigrants and

succeeding generations

adapted to life in the South,

forming bonds of deep

friendship and community with

their non-Jewish neighbours.

The Museum will also address

issues of race and anti-

Semitism and the many ways

that Southern Jews navigated

them at different times.

New Orleans was chosen as

the museum's home based

on the city's vibrant tourism

economy, long Jewish history

and historical connection to the

broader southern region

Novi Sad, Serbia's second largest

city will be the European Capital of

Culture in 2021. This is a historical

decision as it will be the first time

that the title has been awarded to a

destination outside the European

Union.

The nomination of Novi Sad will highlight the

destination to the world as Serbia's second

largest city exhibits its rich assets, paying

testimony to the diversity of European

culture in the heart of Serbia.

For three centuries already, as long as the

city has existed under the names of Novi Sad,

Újvidék, or Neusatz, it has been a showcase

of the diverse and rich cultural heritage of

many peoples living there. This makes Novi

Sad today a space of active meeting of

cultures and identities.

© Novi Sad

Dom Museum

Vienna gets

a facelift

It is time to rediscover the Dom

Museum Vienna, an art institution

belonging to the Archdiocese of

Vienna. It perfectly complements a

visit to St. Stephen's Cathedral.

The newly renovated Dom Museum Wien

presents in a contemporary setting 1,000

years of art, from the historical treasures

of the cathedral to avant-garde classic

paintings including expressionist painters and

secessionist artists.

One of the first treasures is a painting of

Hapsburg ruler Rudolf IV, deemed the oldest

portrait of the Western World as it dates from

the 14 th century. Extraordinary sculptures and

altars, sacred objects adorned with gold and

jewels, portraits, manuscripts, books, and

magnificent vestments ranging from the Gothic

to the Art Deco period are on display. Dom

Museum Wien also offers special exhibitions

examining the intersection of society, religion,

and the arts.

Combined tickets and/or tours are available

with St. Stephen’s Cathedral and can also

include the neighbouring Mozarthaus Vienna

© Marlene Frehlich / LuxundLumen.com

Novi Sad from the river

Throughout the year, artists and locals will

show the best of Novi Sad. More than 500

events and 1,000 artists will present the

culture of togetherness through more than

400 programmes, proving that Novi Sad

lives and revives culture. Exhibitions about

Andy Warhol and Toulouse-Lautrec and a

new monument created by Yoko Ono will be

some of the highlights.

Decentralised cultural stations all over

the city will help in preserving the cultural

heritage and act as intercultural meeting

spaces, inviting visitors, citizens and local

communities to (re)discover the 2021

European Capital of Culture. And come

back!

26 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I SPECIAL FEATURE I TRAVEL TECHNOLOGIES I

How virtual hosts

transform the

management of

holiday rentals

Meeting Package and Nordic Choice Hotels are aiming to making online meeting bookings easier

Unveiling a new way

to book direct meeting

and hotel rooms online

SABA Hospitality is highlighting how digital hosts can

transform the management of holiday rental properties on

ITB Berlin's eTravel Stage today.

The holiday rental industry is rapidly

expanding, representing an estimated

€80bn annually. While the extra

income is undoubtedly appealing, the

time and energy it takes to service

an increasingly demanding guest

demographic is becoming problematic

for many private rental operators,

no matter how many properties they

manage.

Digital guidebooks can provide some

relief, but by themselves, fail to meet

the communication needs of the

modern traveller. Despite providing

comprehensive property information

in the form of a physical or digital

guidebook, hosts are often confronted

to guests messages or emails with

questions already answered in the

SABA Hospitality's solution

manual. It is often due to the necessity

for the guest to communicate directly

and actively with his host.

The use of chatbots, or virtual

hosts, will give guests a means to

communication that is in alignment

with their wants and needs, while

providing private rental operators

a level of automation that give them

more free time. Virtual hosts can

turn into a great platform to service

guests, provide recommendations

and increase revenue

Booking meeting rooms can be a frustrating and

time-consuming process as meeting planners need

to enquire with venues through email, phone or

RFP correspondence to determine meeting space

availability and pricing.

The MICE segment is the latest

in the hospitality industry

to embrace digitalisation.

In partnership with Nordic

Choice hotels, MeetingPackage

provides unique cloud-based

venue management software

that enables hotels and other

meetings & events venues to sell

their meeting rooms and event

spaces more efficiently online.

“Even though the hospitality

industry is in the vanguard of

innovation when it comes to

digitalising sales channels, MICE

has stubbornly remained a largely

manual and offline segment.

Nordic Choice Hotels is one of

the first major European hotel

chains to adopt an online sales

strategy for their MICE services,

believing that it is time to digitise

Meetings & Events sales and offer

a better customer experience to

clients while decreasing costs,”

said Joonas Ahola, CEO of

MeetingPackage.

“The arrival of online booking

for conference and meeting

rooms and hotel overnights has

led to the creation of an easier

workload for organisers, planners

and travellers. Our eight hotels

in Stockholm have already

submitted extremely positive

feedback and the plan is to

launch this service at our hotels

across all Nordic countries,” said

Lisa Farrar, CDO of Nordic Choice

Hotels

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 27


I SPECIAL FEATURE I TECHNOLOGY, TOURS & ACTIVITIES I

TTA survey

launched

by Arival

Experiences – tours, activities,

attractions, and all of the things

travellers do in-destination –

have been at the heart of one

of the hottest, fastest-growing

sectors of the travel sector.

Arival has conducted a highly expansive

global study over 2019 and 2020,

surveying nearly 7,000 tour, activity and

attraction operators around the world.

This study lays out the major trends

driving experiences, and presents the

opportunities for the broader travel and

tourism industry.

The study, launched this month, will

provide detailed market sizing and

forecasts, and present insights on online

distribution, technology and marketing,

new product trends and more. Arival cofounder

& CEO Douglas Quinby says there

are many changes driving the industry

forward. Firstly, more and more operators

are adopting technology to sell online and

run more efficiently, and it has never been

easier to step in and access more supply

through technology.

Douglas Quinby

Co-founder & CEO, Arival

“Many thousands of entrepreneurs

around the world are entering this sector,

creating new businesses and new travel

experiences”, says Quinby. “More and more

travellers are seeking these experiences

last minute and in-destination, often on

their phone. Furthermore, online travel

agencies have raised a lot of money and

are changing how travellers find and book

activities.”

According to the Arival CEO, travel brands

– especially hotels, destinations, and

travel sellers (agencies, tour packagers,

etc.) –need to understand their

customers and destinations, and identify

the right experience products to provide

(and that’s not easy, with hundreds of

experience categories out there). They

also need to make this product online and

mobile bookable at the last minute

TTA sector

still largely

under-exploited

With Bookingkit GmbH again working closely

with ITB Berlin on the promotion of the TTA

sector, we asked Co-Founder and Managing

Director Christoph Kruse how his company is

developing ideas in this field.

Tours and activities is the

third largest and fastest

growing tourism sector after

flights and hotel bookings.

Nevertheless, the tours

and activity market is very

fragmented, 80% are still

not bookable via digital

channels. Nowadays, that

is almost unimaginable,

because most people in

the digitalised world want

to make their bookings of

tours and activities online

via smartphone, tablet or

laptop. Bookingkit enables

providers of the experience

industry to digitally map

their tours and activities and

to make their offers easily

available for selling and

marketing.

What do you think of the

initiative by ITB to promote

TTA as a specific sector?

It is a great and very

important initiative! TTA is

the third largest tourism

sector with around one

million providers worldwide

and a global volume of

€138bn. ITB therefore offers

all TTA providers the chance

to raise general awareness

of their mission: making TTA

as easy to book as flights or

hotels.

How do you see this

developing, and what should

companies be doing to

facilitate promotion and

bookings?

Travellers nowadays

want to experience an

exciting moment. They

are increasingly looking

for unforgettable tours

and activities rather than

choosing a holiday that

is simply based on the

destination alone. It is

therefore of utter importance

that those experiences can

be booked simply, quickly

and securely online. Travel

and activity providers

should adapt to this change

in consumer needs and

digitise their inventory to

become visible on different

platforms

Christoph

Kruse

Co-founder

and Managing

Director, Bookingkit

© 2019 Bookingkit

28 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I REGION I AMERICAS & CARIBBEAN I

Sibinacocha Lake, Peru

© Gvillemin

THE

AMERICAS

Americas – mixed fortunes in 2019

The Americas showed a 2% increase in inbound

tourism in 2019 to reach 220 million international

arrivals, according to the UNWTO.

Many smaller island destinations

in the Caribbean saw doubledigit

growth in 2019. Dominica,

Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint

Marteen all recorded doubledigit

increases in both arrivals

and receipts. Among the larger

island destinations, Puerto

Rico rebounded strongly

through August, while Bahamas

continued to grow at double-digit

despite the severe flooding which

occurred in September. Jamaica

enjoyed continued solid growth

benefitting from increased US

visitor numbers, while tourism

to Cuba was affected by travel

restrictions from the United

States and the collapse of

Thomas Cook. The Dominican

Republic, the sub-region’s most

visited destination, recorded a

slight decline in international

arrivals.

North America (+3%) showed

mixed results, with strong

growth in Mexico and Canada

but weaker results in the United

States, the largest destination in

the Americas. Mexico recorded

continued robust results both

in arrivals and receipts through

November, with increased

tourist flows from Canada and

other countries from the region.

After a slow start of the year,

Canada achieved strong results

through October, thanks to a

favourable currency and a surge

in arrivals from North American

and European markets, though

less visitors from China amid

diplomatic tensions.

Inbound data for the United

States available through October

shows a slight decline overall.

Arrivals from its main source

markets, Canada and Mexico,

went down. Growth in arrivals

from top overseas markets the

United Kingdom and Japan

continued to offset declines from

several key markets such as

China and the Republic of Korea.

A strong US dollar is making the

destination less affordable for

some markets and visa issuance

has slowed travel from Asia and

Latin America, according to the

UNWTO Panel of Experts.

Central America achieved a 2%

increase in arrivals, recovering

from the 2019 drop, with uneven

results across destinations.

Costa Rica, the sub-region’s

most visited destination, posted

solid results through November,

while Belize, Honduras and El

Salvador grew above average.

Nicaragua showed a doubledigit

rebound in the second

and third quarters, following a

sharp drop in arrivals in the first

quarter amid political tensions.

Guatemala and Panama posted

more modest results.

International arrivals to South

America were down 3% in

2019, with mixed performance

throughout the year. After a

decline in the first quarter of

2019, the sub-region picked

up in the second quarter but

international arrivals fell again

through the remainder of the

year. Several destinations

recorded a strong decline in

tourist arrivals from Argentina

as a result of the economic

crisis and the weakening of the

Argentinian peso

Source: UNWTO World Tourism Barometer - January 2020

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 29


I REGION I AMERICAS & CARIBBEAN I

Brand USA and

United Airlines

sign global

sponsorship

agreement

Brand USA and United Airlines have announced

a multi-year, global sponsorship agreement to

promote international travel across the United

States.

Two divergent travel trends have marked the American continent

over the past year, according to IPK. In the first eight months of

2019, outbound travel from North America grew at a rate 4.5%

higher than the global average, while at -3%, outbound trips from

Latin America witnessed a relatively strong decline. Overall yearon-year

figures reveal a 3.5% increase in outbound travel from the

Americas as a whole.

In North America, the driving force was

outbound trips of US-Americans with

a strong increase of 6% compared to

the previous year period. Juan Alberto

Garcia Lopez of IPK International said

that in addition to some countries in

South America, such as Argentina, the

high-volume source market Mexico

was the main reason for this negative

development, with a 5% decline in

outbound travel.

STRONG INCREASE

IN TRAVEL TO EUROPE

At 7%, travel to Europe is showing

strongly above-average growth overall.

Europe not only achieved the highest

growth rate among North Americans,

but was also up among Latin Americans.

Mexico stand at ITB Berlin 2019

Contrasting travel

trends on the

American continent

Trips to Spain and Italy were particularly

in demand. These countries registered

strong growth in visitor numbers, at

11% and 10% respectively. Even the UK,

which recently suffered a drop in visitor

numbers, was able to attract more

visitors from America. Compared to trips

to Europe, outbound trips within the

American continent, however, increased

at a much lower rate of 3%. Trips to Asia

also only achieved 3% growth

The agreement, signed at the

end of 2019, makes United

Airlines an official Global

Airline Sponsor of Brand

USA and the exclusive airline

sponsor of Brand USA’s third

film for IMAX and giant screen

theatres, “Into America’s

Wild,” which premiered in

February 2020. The film takes

international audiences on

a journey across the United

States through its scenic

byways, ancient homelands,

little known trails, and hidden

gems that form the country’s

natural tapestry. “Into

America’s Wild” features the

country’s greatest outdoor

experiences from kayaking

Oregon's stunning coast, to

traversing majestic canyons

in the Southwest, exploring

the wilds of Alaska, walking

the Appalachian Trail and

more.

“Our sponsorship with

United Airlines grew out

of our mutual passion for

sharing America’s treasures

with the international travel

community. Together, we are

determined to find creative

solutions that impact global

travel to the United States,”

said Christopher Thompson,

president and CEO of

Brand USA, adding, “Travel

decisions are increasingly

influenced by entertaining

content and compelling

stories.”

In the past two years,

United announced 26

new international routes,

including nonstop service

between the United States

and Prague, Czech Republic;

Cape Town, South Africa;

Nice, France; Tahiti, French

Polynesia; Naples, Italy;

Palermo, Italy; Porto,

Portugal; and Reykjavik,

Iceland.

Passenger plane at sunset

30 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I REGION I AMERICAS & CARIBBEAN I

New additions

for Orlando in

2020

Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando is

set to open in 2020, featuring the

steepest vertical drop in Florida

The new decade heralds fresh growth for "the Theme Park

Capital of the World", as Orlando's evolution continues with

unprecedented theme park expansion.

New attractions include the world's

tallest slingshot ride, an acoustically

perfect theatre, a new celebrity chef

restaurant and one of the largest

booms for hotel growth in decades.

Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando is

set to open in spring 2020, featuring

the most vertiginous vertical drop in

Florida. It's just one of 30 new openings

in Orlando for 2020. “Star Wars: Rise of

the Resistance” opened in December

and is the second attraction for the

new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land at

Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The firstever

Mickey-themed ride-through

attraction, “Mickey and Minnie’s

Runaway Railway” also opened at

Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March

4, 2020.

EPCOT is undergoing one of the

biggest transformations of any Disney

park in history, bringing a host of new

attractions and experiences in 2020.

Universal Orlando Resort’s 2,050-

room Dockside Inn and Suites opens

March 17, 2020. Steinmetz Hall at the

Dr Phillips Centre for the Performing

Arts will open in September 2020, as

one of the most acoustically perfect

spaces on earth.

NEW RESORTS

AND HOTELS

Orlando has the second highest

number of hotel rooms of anywhere

in the U.S., and 2019 and 2020 will be

the biggest two-year period for hotel

expansion in Orlando in over two

decades.

JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek

Resort & Spa opened February

2020 with 516 rooms, a Spa by JW and

a rooftop terrace with nightly views of

theme park fireworks

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 31


I REGION I AMERICAS & CARIBBEAN I

Hernán

Acevedo

General Manager, Peak

DMC in Colombia

Trekking Peru

- “the richest country

in the world”

It’s a new concept of wealth, where “unforgettable

experiences are an infinite source of wealth”. This

is the heart of Peru’s new campaign. For lovers of

mountain treks, the concept is particularly apt.

Intrepid DMC

arrives in Colombia

Peak DMC is augmenting its

Latin American portfolio with a

new Bogotá-based operation.

Part of the Intrepid group, which claims

to be the world’s largest adventure travel

company, Peak DMC has announced

the opening of its newest destination

management company in Bogotá.

Continuing its mission to create

and deliver sustainable, local travel

experiences, this new

operation adds to

Peak DMC’s growing

Latin American

portfolio which

recently embraced

Santiago and Rio de

Janeiro.

The investment in

Colombia by the one

of the world’s leading

B2B experiential

travel operators

reflects the country’s

sustained tourism

growth since a peace

deal was signed in

2016.

Leading the new Bogotá office is Hernán

Acevedo, General Manager of Peak

DMC in Colombia. A former chairman

of Acotur, Colombia’s responsible

tourism association, Acevedo has over

a decade of experience in inbound travel

in Colombia and is passionate about the

power of tourism to transform the lives

of local communities.

COLOMBIA IS

AN INCREDIBLE

DESTINATION

AND OFFERS

SO MANY

OPPORTUNITIES

FOR OUR STYLE

OF EXPERIENTIAL

TRAVEL.

“Tourism represents a huge opportunity

to change Colombia’s reputation by

showcasing all the wonders of our

country to visitors from all over the

world. Colombians see tourism is a

major avenue of growth, peace and

prosperity,” said Acevedo.

Colombia is home to a rich cultural

heritage, lively cities and pristine naturebased

experiences, including national

parks, wildlife, trekking and cycling. The

New York Times, Forbes and other media

have highlighted the

country's appeal as

a new destination,

helping to showcase

its arrival on the

international tourism

agenda. This has

led to an increase in

international arrivals:

in 2018 Colombia

welcomed 4.3 million

visitors, a 10.4%

increase on 2017,

according to figures

from Colombia’s

Ministry of

Commerce, Industry

and Tourism.

Having set up the company’s first DMC in

Vietnam in 2005, Natalie Kidd, Managing

Director, Peak DMC applauded the

new development, saying: “Colombia

is an incredible destination and offers

so many opportunities for our style of

experiential travel. We very much look

forward to growing sustainable travel to

this wonderful country”

ANCASH: A PARADISE

FOR MOUNTAIN SPORT

ENTHUSIASTS

The Huascaran National

Park, located in the White

Mountain Range (Cordillera

Blanca), is the highest tropical

range in the world; perfect for

mountaineering, where visitors

can enjoy views of some of

its 434 lagoons and the most

imposing of its 712 glaciers.

The best time for mountain

climbing is between May and

September. One of the most

popular treks inside the park

is the four-hour trek to Lagoon

69, rewarding visitors with a

beautiful view of its turquoise

water. The lagoon lies at the

foot of the Chacraraju glacier

(6,031 m) and its name comes

from the inventory of the

national park.

TREKKING IN CUSCO

Cusco is impressive not only

because of history, but also

© Christian Jara - PromPeru

because of its impressive

natural landscapes. Cusco

combines stunning sights

with magical landscapes and

picturesque villages, and is a

true paradise for adventurous

nature lovers. The most

popular trekking route by far

is the Inca trail, however there

are many alternative routes

around Cusco that are just as

rewarding. These treks lead to

adventures off the beaten path

far away from tourist trails.

CHOQUEQUIRAO

Considered the sister city of

Machu Picchu, Choquequirao

served as the last Inca

resort when the Spanish

conquistadors arrived in Peru.

It is still well preserved and

its access is still reserved

for adventurers, due to the

strenuous four-day trek needed

to reach it

Trekking Ausengate Vinicunca, Cusco

Laguna Querococha, Recuay

32 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I REGION I AMERICAS & CARIBBEAN I

ADVERTORIAL

Cuba targets

business

tourism

Baby turtle release at Sandy Lane Beach, Barbados

Tour operator Marysol Travel isrepositioning Cuba as

a destination for business meetings and group tours

through its new end-to-end service.

Marysol Travel Cuba has launched

a comprehensive new tourism

service on the Caribbean island

for the group travel and meetings,

incentives, conferences and

exhibitions (MICE) sectors.

The independent tour operator's

new suite of programmes aim

to combine visits to traditional

cultural and historic sites with

special interest elements that

cater to the needs of business

travellers and group tourists.

Key features include group

management, accurate logistics,

"exceptional" venues in diverse

locations, tailor-made excursions

and luxury touches such as

sophisticated pillow-gifts.

CEO Gabriella Szabo said the

company aims to promote Cuba

as "a destination offering quality,

professional service", where

being creative is also possible

and worthwhile. "With the right

local destination management

company (DMC) partner,

these goals can be realised

successfully," she said.

The new service, which is the first

stage of Marysol Travel's drive

to renew Cuba's potential as a

Gabriella Szabo

Kormendi

CEO, Marysol Travel

tourist destination, aims to offer

unique solutions for group and

incentive travel providers who are

seeking new and extraordinary

destinations.

Sales director Thomas Nagy said

the new programmes were built on

the principles of authenticity and

professionalism, while respect for

the environment was also very

important to the company.

"People-friendliness,

sustainability and love of

nature shine through all our

programmes, whether incentive

travel, team building, VIP travel,

group, or private travel," he

said. "Cuba is changing rapidly,

be one of the privileged ones who

see this beautiful country before it

changes!”

Marysol Travel Cuba aims to fulfil

the goals of the new programmes

with "an innovative approach, out

of the box thinking and creative

solutions"

BARBADOS

ENCOURAGES

TRAVEL FOR

A PURPOSE

“We Gatherin” is the message to let visitors participate in

the development of the island with local communities.

In 2020, Barbados Tourism Marketing

Inc. is encouraging Barbadians living

off-island and visitors to take part in a

series of community activities aimed

at increasing self-reliance, protecting

the environment and addressing the

socially vulnerable.

European visitors are encouraged to

participate in workshops conducted

by European and Barbadian

experts either on a voluntary basis

in its organisation or simply as a

participant.

Environmental activities include

training locals to turn soils fertile,

to identify edible medicinal

plants, to produce on organic fruit

wine or strategicaly plant trees.

Clean-ups are also organised to

restore the pristine state of both the

sea and beaches. In exchange for

two hours of clean-up, select surfing,

windsurfing and diving schools will

offer participants two hours of free

lessons. The clean-ups are more than

just collecting garbage. Participants

will record what is collected; look for

coral fragments that can be used

for re-planting in the sea; as well as

rescue mother turtles and eggs that

are at risk.

Social activities will take place

through a two-week soccer camp

targeting young Barbadian teens at

risk while Danceability Deutschland

will host dance workshops that

integrate children with and without

special needs.

Currently PR and social media

communication link to the website

joinhandsinbarbados.org for people

to sign up prior to arriving on the

island.

All activities will take place in April

2020 to coincide with the last of the

season's flights... Two music events

will also be organised during this

period, the Vujaday Music Festival

and Barbados Reggae Festival

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 33


I REGION I AMERICAS & CARIBBEAN I

Warwick Paradise

Island Bahamas

extends reward

programme for

travel agents

Vibrant colours and musical influence at the heart of Jamaica's new tourist initiative

To stimulate sales for its property in the Bahamas,

Warwick Paradise Island sales team is extending

its “WPIB Travel Agents Incentive Programme".

Jamaica's

ambitious new

slogan attracts

attention

In January, the Jamaica Tourist Board launched a new slogan,

representing a change in brand positioning for the Caribbean

destination. As a reference to the island's perceived outsized

global influence, "Jamaica - Heartbeat of the World" is now

the catchphrase and concept for a new phase of marketing

for the destination.

Despite its size - just over 10,000

sq km with a population of fewer

than 3 million people - Jamaica can

lay claim to having a considerable

cultural impact that extends far

beyond its shores. “We are excited to

launch ‘Heartbeat of the World,’ which

reinforces our position as a global

leader among travel destinations

and establishes Jamaica as the

single destination every traveller

must experience,” said Donovan

White, Director of Tourism, Jamaica,

adding, “On the map, Jamaica may

seem like a small dot in the Caribbean

Sea. But her influence on the world

culture is the size of a continent. We

are a cultural giant and we continue to

have an indelible impact on the world’s

food, music, sport, and literature

while offering larger-than-life bucket

list experiences with extraordinary,

talented people."

Strengthening the island’s position

as a global culturally relevant brand,

"Heartbeat of the World" extends

beyond tourism and encompasses

all elements of Jamaica’s rich and

vibrant culture, including music,

cuisine, sports, adventure, nature,

and wellness. The marketing initiative

includes new online branding,

television commercials and tourism

products, drawing potential visitors

to the classic attributes including

jerk chicken, reggae music, rum and

island life. The strategy also hopes

to capitalise on a number of topical

factors in 2020 enhancing Jamaica's

visibility on the international stage,

including the April release of the latest

James Bond movie "No Time To Die"

- which was filmed on the island, also

the birthplace of the iconic fictional

British spy

It will now provide eligible

retail travel professionals with

cash bonus up to US$65 per

booking throughout 2020 on

top of regular commissions up

to 20%.

The luxury four-star Warwick

Paradise Island resort is

located 30 km away from

Nassau International Airport

and features 250 rooms, five

restaurants and two bars, a

white-sand harbour beach,

a fitness centre and offers

various entertainment and

activities.

Launched in May 2019, the

WPIB Travel Agents Incentive

Programme was set to expire

last December before its

extension. To participate,

travel professionals with a

valid registration number must

complete the “WPIB Specialist”

training with the resort’s

sales team to learn about the

features of the resort and the

incentives. Registration are

done by requesting a form at

sales.wpib@warwickhotels.

com.

A member of the sales

department will conduct the

training and provide to the

agent a personalised form

to log all bookings with a

minimum of three nights.

Incentives can be redeemed

upon validation of each

booking or by accumulating

them within a year time.

Travel agents working at tour

operators, tour operator

subsidiaries and affiliates

and any Warwick Hotels and

Resorts affiliated company are

however not eligible for the

WPIB Travel Agents Incentive

Program

Warwick Paradise Island, Bahamas

34 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I REGION I OCEANIA I

Cook Islands

OCEANIA

Facts & figures

+2.6% in inbound visitor arrivals for Oceania in 2019

Australia saw 9.4 million

visitor arrivals for year

ending September 2019, an

increase of 2.7% relative to

the previous year. Provisional

data from the UNWTO for

2019 indicate an increase of

2.6% in international tourist

arrivals to the region of

Oceania.

After years of strong growth,

international arrivals to New Zealand

have indeed been softening. New

Zealand’s arrivals are expected to

remain relatively flat in the near

future, but are expected to pick

up again in the coming years. The

Ministry of Business, Innovation and

Employment’s (MBIE) 2019-2025

international tourism forecasts

predicts visitor volumes are estimated

to grow to 5.1 million in 2025, up from

3.9 million in 2018.

In the year ending July 2019, total

arrivals growth was up 2.8% and

holiday arrivals fell flat at 0%.

Tourism New Zealand expected that

holiday arrival growth would remain

low or maybe soften further for the

remainder of the 2019 calendar year

(still not reported at time of writing),

before potentially improving in the

second half of 2020.

TOURISM 2020 –

AUSTRALIA SET TO

SURPASS TARGET OF

€71BN

Tourism 2020 is a whole-ofgovernment

and industry longterm

strategy to build the resilience

and competitiveness of Australia’s

tourism industry and grow its

economic contribution.

Tourism 2020 focuses on improving

the industry’s performance and

competitiveness by pursuing

new opportunities for growth and

addressing supply-side factors. The

Tourism 2020 goal is to achieve more

than AU$115bn (€71bn) in overnight

spend by 2020 (up from €43.4bn in

2009).

Australia’s Tourism 2020 project

has been focusing on improving the

industry’s performance by pursuing

opportunities to increase consumer

spending and address supply-side

factors.

The strategy has been implemented

in three phases; the nation is nearing

the end of the “seeing the results”

phase. In 2017/18, Tourism Australia

continued to champion Tourism

2020. They also began planning for

the years beyond 2020, working with

Austrade and state and territory

governments as part of an industryled

committee.

AIR TRANSPORT

TO RECEIVE BOOST

FROM NEW AIRPORT

Construction of Western Sydney

International (Nancy-Bird Walton)

Airport is underway and on track

to begin operations in 2026. The

airport is a transformational

infrastructure project

that will generate

economic activity, provide

employment opportunities

closer to home for people in

the Western Sydney region,

and meet Sydney's growing

aviation needs.

The Australian Government

is investing up to AU$5.3bn

(€3.3bn) in equity to

deliver the airport through

a government-owned

company, 'Western Sydney Airport'.

The airport will be a full-service

airport operating curfew free,

delivering international, domestic and

freight services

International

tourist arrivals

to Australia

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 35


I REGION I OCEANIA I

Australasia

and environs...

Australia highlights key assets

as Oceania sees slow tourism

growth in 2019

According to UNWTO figures released in January,

growth in Oceania (+3%) was rather slow, with modest

performance by larger destinations Australia and

New Zealand, partly due to the softening of Chinese

visitors. The slowdown in Chinese tourism to Australia

occurred despite a weaker Australian dollar which has

turned the destination cheaper. By contrast, smaller

island destinations Guam, French Polynesia and Samoa

recorded solid growth.

At the end of 2019, and well into

2020, Australia was hard hit

by bushfires – the worst in the

nation’s history.

Phillipa Harrison, Managing

Director, Tourism Australia, in an

official statement, said, “It is more

important than ever that we rally

around our communities and the

tourism sector who may have

been impacted (eds: by the fires).”

Above and beyond the sad news

of the fires, the distinct and

defining character of Australia

and of Australians was celebrated

in a new campaign unveiled by

Tourism Australia on 30 October

2019, inviting the world Down

Under to experience first-hand the

Australian way of life.

It’s a new three-year global

campaign, entitled “Come Live

our Philausophy”, elevating some

of Australia’s greatest assets

- its people and personality.

A deliberately Australian play

on words, Philausophy aims

WE KNOW FROM

OUR RESEARCH

THAT 70% OF

INTERNATIONAL

TRAVELLERS

BELIEVE THAT

AUSTRALIANS

HAVE A

DIFFERENT

PERSPECTIVE ON

LIFE

to capture the philosophy of

Australians and their informal

approach to living, which research

shows is highly appealing amongst

visitors.

Federal Tourism Minister Simon

Birmingham said Tourism

Australia’s global campaign

strategy is part of an AU$38 million

Australia's iconic animal, the kangaroo taking in the sunset in Queensland

investment that will be rolled out

in 15 key tourism markets over the

next three years to attract more

international tourists Down Under.

A suite of new creative assets

has been developed for

the Philausophy campaign,

including over 5,000 new images

captured across every state and

territory, a series of industry

videos, bespoke social content,

a refresh of australia.com and

Australia.cn, and a book featuring

well-known Aussie icons who

will have provided their own

personal perspectives and

experiences that help explain

our unique Australian way of

life. Tourism Australia Managing

Director Phillipa Harrison said

that Philausophy was all about

elevating one of Australia’s

greatest assets and something

that we know people from around

the world will travel to experience

first-hand - its people.

“We know from our research that

70% of international travellers

believe that Australians have

a different perspective on life;

79% believe that the Australian

people are an important part of

the Australian lifestyle; and 82%

would like to travel to Australia

to experience our lifestyle,” Ms

Harrison said

VANUATU

WORKS ON

ATTRACTING

MORE TOURISTS

TO OUTER

ISLANDS

With over 18% of GDP and 14% of

employment gained directly from

tourism, Vanuatu has seen more

tourists travelling by air to its outer

islands in recent years. Available

data shows that annual international

arrivals who have travelled to outer

islands have grown in the past few

years.

Historically, tourism in Vanuatu

has been focused on the “rest and

relaxation” market – those who

stay in larger hotels or resorts and

lie by the pool sipping cocktails.

However, a 2016 International

Visitors’ Survey suggested that

there was an opportunity to increase

growth in niche markets such as soft

adventure, eco-tourism and cultural

experiences, run by smaller local

operators, based mainly in villages

and towns in the outer islands.

According to the most recent

statistics, 82% of those visiting

Vanuatu claimed they would return

to the destination, claiming to be

satisfied with environment, activities,

attractions, and the local people

The Island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific

© PhilliP Capper

36 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com


I REGION I OCEANIA I

© Jason Blair / Katabatic

The natural environment on the West Coast’s new Great Walk is an incredible setting

22%

OF ALL VISITORS

CITE WALKING

AND HIKING

AS A FACTOR

INFLUENCING

CONSIDERATION

OF NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand opens

Paparoa Track: a new

international drawcard

The first purpose built dual walking and mountain bike track on

the Great Walk network, the Paparoa Track is now open, stirring a

great deal of excitement on New Zealand’s West Coast.

The small towns that make up the region

are now ready to welcome visitors from

all over the world, as the track is set

to become one of the region’s biggest

drawcard for New Zealanders and

overseas visitors.

Locals, or “Coasters” as they are

colloquially known, are famous for their

hospitality and extremely passionate

about their home and the new track is

of significant meaning to everyone from

the area.

The three-day, 55km walk (or twoday

bike ride) explores some of the

most rugged, diverse and untouched

environments in the country. The tenth

Great Walk and first to be constructed

in 25 years will take in stone cliffs, beech

forest and glades of subtropical nikau

palms at one end, while climbing to

a unique alpine setting with incredible

views out to the Tasman Sea.

The winding coastal road from

Greymouth to Punakaiki is the perfect

example of the untamed West Coast

wilderness.

Signage can be found along the way

emblazoned with local hapu (subtribe)

Ngati Waewae’s designs. Rauhine

Coakley, iwi representative on track

interpretation, says eventually there will

be carved gateways at both ends and a

Pou (pole) whenua erected at one of the

highest points of the track: “Given that

the track is in a national park, there was

a lot of planning and prescription around

the environmental impact. I don’t think

any other track in the country has had

such a high focus on minimising impact

and then remediating around the track.

This environmental focus is now rubbing

off on other trail projects around the

country.”

The Paparoa Track is bound to make

hikers around world bucket lists. With

an eager community waiting to welcome

visitors and an environment that is one

of New Zealand’s most beautiful but also

untouched, the reward will be great for

those that take up the challenge

KEY STATISTICS

New Zealand's walking and hiking offering includes three

large world heritage sites - Tongariro National Park, Te

Wahipounamu and the Subantarctic Islands - and ten

Great Walks across the North and South Islands, as well as

many one-day options.

© Neil Silverwood

As at September 2019 80% of all visitors to

New Zealand said they Walked, Hiked, Trekked or

Tramped while they were here.

22% of all visitors cite walking and hiking as a factor

influencing consideration of New Zealand

3% completed a Great Walk, 23% did a walk over

three hours and 58% completed a walk between 30

minutes and 3 hours.

Between 2012 and 2019 there has been a 38%

increase in people using the Great Walk network.

Between 2012 and 2019 there has been a 20%

increase in international visitors using the Great

Walk network.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) is

New Zealand's largest tourism provider.

The Ces Clark Hut on the Parapoa track - seen from above

ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 37


I SPOTLIGHT ON GERMAN REGION I SAXONY I

Wolfgang

Gaertner

Head of International

Marketing,

TMGS Tourismus

Marketing Gesellschaft

Sachsen mbH

Saxony keen to further

develop presence at all

ITB shows

Where arts and culture have the wow effect:

Saxony is Germany’s number one cultural

destination

DRESDEN: DREAM

DESTINATION FOR CULTURE

Dresden is well known for its

baroque skyline but also for

its extraordinary museum

landscape.

Dresden’s Royal Residence

is home to some of Europe’s

most amazing art collections.

Treasures from Saxony’s royal

house are on display, including

jewels, regalia, renaissance

armour, Ottoman collections

and court costumes. Since

September, Stately Apartments

show also historical furniture.

The Zwinger is known for its

collection of chinaware but also

its Old Masters’ paintings. A new

attraction is Dresden fortress,

an interactive edutainment

program taking visitors back to

Renaissance times.

Dresden Museum of Military History

But Dresden has also unusual

museums. The Museum of

Military History, located 15

minutes away from the centre,

is also an amazing discovery not

only for its external architecture

but also for its unique

collections. It tells all about the

influence of military in daily

life, from music to technology

or costumes and of course

its influence on the course of

German history without hiding

its dark sides. The top floor is

dedicated to destruction with

poignant rests of ruins and a

view over town. And to finish,

how about visiting Semper Oper

with its incredible architecture?

Royal State apartments, Dresden Castle

Over the coming years, Saxony plans to actively promote

its assets at all Global ITB shows. Wolfgang Gaertner, Head

of International Marketing, TMGS Tourismus Marketing

Gesellschaft Sachsen mbH, explains why it is increasingly

important to promote to long-haul feeder markets.

In 2018, Asia, for example, generated

almost 220,000 overnight stays. More

than half of these overnights were

generated by our two largest inbound

market sources from Asia, China and

Japan. Our positioning in the heart of

Europe, halfway between Berlin and

Prague, can of course

be considered as an

asset but it can also

be a weakness. This

is why we need to

communicate more.

Why do you think that

being in the centre of

Europe is an asset and

weakness together?

Our geographical

position is an asset

as Saxony is easily

accessible from

anywhere. However,

to be located between

OUR

GEOGRAPHICAL

POSITION

IS AN ASSET

AS SAXONY

IS EASILY

ACCESSIBLE

FROM

ANYWHERE.

two popular destinations such as

Berlin and Prague turn Saxony into

an “add-on” destination for foreigners

who often stay a day or two. We need,

for example, to convince Indian tour

operators that Saxony is worth a few

days.

What are the best

assets of Saxony as a

destination for non-

European tourists?

Our landscapes

and our culture are

our biggest assets.

However, we need

more creativity to

make our cultural

highlights more

entertaining and more

like “storytelling”… in

particular for Asian

millennials

NEW: MICE IN VOLKSWAGEN

TRANSPARENT FACTORY IN

DRESDEN

A transparent structure made

of glass and wood: this is

Volkswagen’s most advanced

factory, where e-Golf vehicles are

produced. Open to visitors, the

factory is a trip to the future with

robots bringing material and

assembling some of the cars’

elements.

The Transparent Factory

The Transparent Factory is

then a perfect place for a

MICE event. Guided tours, a

restaurant but also meeting

spaces are available for groups.

The Visitors Forum can even be

privatised for a special event

such as presentations and even

concerts…

38 • ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020

www.itb-berlin-news.com



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