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ITB Berlin News 2020 - #4

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I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW IDr Martin BuckSenior Vice PresidentTravel & Logistics,Messe BerlinITB.COM IS WHEREWE CAN LET THEWORLD’S TRAVELINDUSTRY COMETOGETHER – NOTJUST DURING THESHOW, BUT 365DAYS A YEARITB: more vitalto the industry than everExclusive interview: Dr Martin Buck, Senior VicePresident, Travel & Logistics, Messe BerlinDR BUCK’SPERSONALMESSAGETO THE “ITBCOMMUNITY”A few weeks now since the cancellation of ITB Berlin,people better understand the decision, given the globalamplitude of the crisis. We asked Dr Martin Buck, SeniorVice President, Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin what thefeedback has been like been since the original difficultdecision was made.The cancellation was a severe blowfor visitors and particularly forthe exhibitors. Despite this, therewas widespread sympathy fromeveryone concerned and we evenreceived a lot of support. We realisedimmediately that the tourismindustry needs ITB more than ever inthese difficult times. In order to givethe industry a platform independentof ITB Berlin we made every effortto promote our global brand withitb.com. This brand new platform iswhere we can let the world’s travelindustry come together – not justduring the show, but 365 days a year.How successful has the “virtualconvention” been?The ITB Virtual Convention was andis an all-round success. Viewers wereable to follow more than 35 sessionsoriginally scheduled for the ITBBerlin Convention both in real timeand in replays on itb.com. They arenow available as videos on demand.The response was overwhelming.Up to now around 1,000 viewershave watched the live streams persession and several hundred haverequested videos.What are some of the highlightsof this year's convention? Whatdo you recommend for people towatch in replay mode?The highlights of the ITB VirtualConvention were sessions onsustainability, climate change,digitalisation, overtourism and thefuture of the travel industry, withthree attracting particularly keeninterest. There was the keynotelecture on ’Overtourism’ by EricLa Bonnardiere, the co-founder ofEvaneos, who explained how localtour operators can overcome thechallenges caused by overtourismat destinations. The latest findingsof an exclusive international travelsurvey by Travelzoo and ITB Berlinentitled "Global Luxury Customersand Sustainability", presented bySharry Sun, Global Head of Brand,Travelzoo, also attracted greatinterest. The survey examined theshift in customer expectations anddemands in the luxury travel marketand the relationship between risingdemand and sustainable travel.Sessions on the coronavirus, whichwill continue to impact not just thetourism industry for a long time,also attracted a wide audience.In his lecture on "The CoronavirusOutbreak: Effects on Global Tourismand Successful Recovery andResilience Measures" Eran Ketter(PhD), researcher, consultantand crisis management advisor,described the effects of the virusand what measures destinations cantakeDespite its cancellation, ITBmaintains a continuous presencein the digital sphere. As mentionedbefore, the launch of itb.combrings the world’s travel industrytogether 365 days a year. The AIbasedTravel Network is a workin progress and aims to offertourism industry users a platformwhere they can conduct business,network and find exclusive contentwhenever required. This is whereexhibitors and customers cancommunicate and do business allyear round. A start has been made,and the next steps will graduallyfollow.However, a digital platform canonly complement a trade showlike ITB. It can never replaceit. Trade shows are unique fortheir concentrated gatheringsof international industrycommunities and take place onthe spot. More than any othersector, the travel industry dependson face-to-face meetings.We therefore look forward towelcoming all our exhibitors,visitors and media to ITB Berlinagain from 10 to 14 March 2021ITB BERLIN NEWS • THURSDAY 26 TH MARCH 2020 • 15

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