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ITB Berlin News 2021 - Review Edition

  • Text
  • Destination
  • Dental
  • Sweden
  • Virtual
  • Global
  • Luxury
  • Pandemic
  • Sustainable
  • Tourism
  • Berlin

I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I

I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I The success story explained David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin NOW, looks back at the 2021 edition of the show The highest expectations of the organisers have been fulfilled, with excellent results for all aspects of ITB Berlin NOW 2021. We asked David Ruetz to tell us more. During the five-day event, 65,716 users visited the online platform, of whom around two-thirds (64.5%) came from abroad. As far as our exhibitors go, there were 3,513 companies and organisations from around 120 countries, plus 1,050 media representatives and bloggers who covered ITB Berlin NOW. The ITB Berlin NOW events were also very well received with a total of 265 hours of event programme and around 52,600 participants. Some 700 speakers took part in more than 400 discussion rounds at the convention, held lectures, interviews and exhibitor presentations and press conferences. What has the feedback been like? The feedback from users is extremely positive. After a year of bad news, around the world, the industry expressed a heartfelt desire to get together again at a show. The response was excellent from both exhibitors and users. They made good use of our digital smart-matching tools to find and maintain contacts. These included the Discovery Graph, a tool for suggesting potentially relevant contacts, and our Lead Finder, which brings buyers and sellers together with products of common interest. However, ITB Berlin NOW is not over yet: Until 31 May 2021 the content and many other functions remain online, so participants can find important information and contacts, network with each other, evaluate their results and access programme items. For those who could not take part during the live event phase, there is the possibility to purchase an afterevent ticket for 29 euros. ITB BERLIN NOW IS NOT OVER YET: UNTIL 31 MAY 2021 THE CONTENT AND MANY OTHER FUNCTIONS REMAIN ONLINE Tell us a little bit about the build-up to this event and the work that was required. The workload for the digital trade show was actually “the same but also different” compared to an in-person event. As a team, we naturally faced completely new challenges organising a virtual show for the first time, especially during a pandemic when most of our team had to work from home. We missed the direct, personal exchange before the event, which would have made communication often faster or easier. Logistics included two streaming video studios, a Corona Test Centre in the CityCube, and more than 300 employees - from cleaning and security to the Corona Test Team from the German Red Cross and the technical crew to the trade show management. They all contributed to the success of ITB Berlin NOW. One thing that was really helpful was that having organised the smaller We Love Travel! event together with the Berlin Travel Festival last autumn, we had already completed a sort of test run several months earlier. Thus, the live studio set-up in Berlin was not new to us – nor were the broadcasts. The test run was therefore invaluable for our team and for working together with the technical service provider. What can we expect next year? Ultimately, the team at ITB Berlin would like to welcome visitors in large numbers again on the exhibition grounds. In conversations over the last few days, what I clearly heard was that the industry is deeply longing to meet and talk again in person. I am therefore looking forward all the more to a live event in Berlin in 2022 that will combine the best elements of an in-person and virtual show KEY FIGURES 5 days – length of event 65,716 people visited the online platform 64.5% of visitors came from abroad 3,513 exhibiting companies and organisations 120 countries participating 1,050 media representatives and bloggers 700 speakers @ ITB Berlin NOW Convention 265 hours of conferences 12 ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 17 TH MARCH 2021 www.itb-berlin-news.com

I EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW I Face-to-face with Dr Martin Buck - SVP, Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin With its launch of ITB.com in March 2020, ITB underlined its role as the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show and created a comprehensive virtual platform. We asked Dr Martin Buck - SVP, Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin to further explain the concept. The aim was to ensure the industry could access a permanent information forum and constant supply of industry news and to give users the opportunity to network with each other, regardless of their location, 365 days a year and despite the show’s cancellation last year. It is also a central platform and meeting place for all editions of the entire ITB family. Interested parties can find everything they need to know there about ITB Berlin, ITB India, ITB China and ITB Asia and can get information on formats being planned as well as key topics, details of user and exhibitor numbers and the various convention themes. Coming up very soon, we have the ITB India show - in virtual form. Can you tell us more about this? The first ITB India will take place from 7 to 9 April 2021 as a virtual event. The trade show will feature more than 80 leading speakers as well as 200 international exhibitors and 400 buyers from India and South- East Asia. Segments include Leisure, Corporate and MICE. Among the exhibitors will be tourism organisations such as the German National Tourism Board, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, the Korean Tourism Organization, the Sarawak Tourism Board, Visit Portugal and many more. Taking as its slogan “Rebuilding Travel“, the parallel ITB India Conference will focus on the tourism industry’s recovery. A little further out, ITB China and ITB Asia may be a little different. What are the plans for these shows as they stand today? Following a successful number of industry meet-ups in several Chinese cities last year, we are looking forward to the next regular edition of ITB China (24 -16 Nov) this autumn. In October we are looking forward among other things to the next edition of ITB Asia in Singapore, set to take place from 27-29 October. This is scheduled as a hybrid event, and will therefore offer fascinating content and business meetings for virtual and in-person visitors. What feedback have you had for ITB Berlin NOW? What made you particularly proud of this show? The feedback from both exhibitors and participants has been very good. I heard from all sides that industry colleagues had been longing to come together on a central travel industry platform. Now and again I Dr Martin Buck SVP, Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin GmbH had heard talk of a family or school reunion. There is quite a bit of truth in that. We are all social beings. Even if we were unable to gather in person this year, a virtual meeting was still miles better than nothing at all. The fact that so many users felt the same was EVEN IF WE WERE UNABLE TO GATHER IN PERSON THIS YEAR, A VIRTUAL MEETING WAS STILL MILES BETTER THAN NOTHING AT ALL quite touching. At the same time, of course, we also heard many attendees saying quite clearly that a digital ITB can never replace the "real" one in Berlin. And if we're honest, that's exactly where we all want to be again: Hosting the world at the fair grounds of Messe Berlin in 2022! ITB BERLIN NEWS • WEDNESDAY 17 TH MARCH 2021 13

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