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6 NEWS © Pierre

6 NEWS © Pierre Rouchaléou Moosa Zameer Maldives Minister for Tourism The Power Behind Travel and Tourism ITB Berlin provides strong economic boost to calm fears The official ITB Berlin opening press conference took place on Tuesday 8 th March on a highly positive note despite the occasional “dark clouds” that have been hanging over the industry over the past year. Over the past half-century, ITB Berlin has had a decisive impact on tourism, and on the eve of its fiftieth anniversary it enjoys exceptional standing. From 9 to 13 March 2016 around 10,000 exhibitors from 187 countries and territories are exhibiting the latest products and trends of the global tourism industry on 1,069 stands. Over twothirds of the exhibitors are from abroad. The organisers expect around 100,000 international trade visitors who will gain an overview of the industry’s wide range of products in 26 halls. In his opening presentation, Messe Berlin CEO, Dr Christian Göke said he was highly satisfied with the prospects of ITB Berlin this year: “We are delighted with the consistently high numbers of exhibitors, particularly from abroad, at the anniversary edition of ITB Berlin, which once again will provide outstanding opportunities for global business. In the face of terrorist attacks at popular travel destinations and palpable consumer fears the industry needs a strong boost to kick-start the travel season. ITB Berlin is the industry’s leading marketplace and as the meeting place of the global travel industry can set the tone for change.” Dr Göke stated that all was in place for another great ITB Berlin: “50 years of ITB! Who would have been expecting that we would be celebrating this? The weather is nice, and it’s a nice coincidence that we can look back with joy but also ahead with joy. We will celebrate in style with the gala tonight!” Dr Göke looked back at last 50 years, and also looked ahead at the show to be and the coming years. “In 1966 there were 9 exhibitors from 5 countries. In 2016 there are 187 countries and 10000 exhibitors!” He described his organisation’s work as being like a compass - shaping the direction of the industry: “Our success is based on the fact that we are not running behind trends, but are active pioneers.” The Messe Berlin CEO cited the first computerbased reservation systems that were launched at the show in the 1980s. The idea of space tourism was even founded here: “We see ourselves modestly as the most inspiring force of the industry.” ITB CHINA ANNOUNCED “This week, we are officially able to sign the agreement for our new event in China,” stated Dr Göke. “After ITB Asia in Singapore, we want to be present in the vibrant metropolis of Shanghai. Tourism companies from China covering a large part of the market will be our strategic partners for our premiere there in 2017. We would like to congratulate our team in raising ITB to a new level.” MALDIVES – ITB BERLIN PARTNER COUNTRY 2016 The Maldives is the official partner country of ITB Berlin 2016. With its glistening white beaches, turquoise lagoons and unrivalled diving opportunities, this island nation is a natural paradise, one of the last on the planet. Situated in the IT’S AN HONOUR AND A GREAT PLEASURE TO BE HERE TO CELEBRATE TWO IMPORTANT EVENTS – 50 YEARS OF ITB BERLIN AND VISIT MALDIVES YEAR (Moosa Zameer) ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 9 th March 2016

NEWS 7 NOT TO BE MISSED! Today, Wednesday March 9th is ITB Future Day - traditionally the most important day of the ITB Berlin Convention. This is where the megatrends in economy and society and key topics of the global travel and tourism industry are discussed. Exclusive empirical study results and examples of Best Demonstrated Practices from market and innovation leaders offer valuable insights and concrete decisionmaking support for entrepreneurial strategies and measures. For the first time, the ITB Ministers’ Roundtable will be part of ITB Future Day. The World Legacy Awards Ceremony with National Geographic will be preceded by an introductory speech delivered by a prominent celebrity – both promise to be exciting. Left to Right: Dr Christian Göke, CEO Messe Berlin; Moosa Zameer, Maldives Minister for Tourism; Norbert Fiebig has been President of the German Travel Association (DRV); Dr Michael Frenzel, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry and Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Indian Ocean, the Maldives has been exhibiting at ITB Berlin since 1984 and is a model of eco-friendly and carefully controlled tourism development. The country is host to the spectacular reception at the opening ceremony on the eve of the show. During the show around 260 exhibitors are presenting the many products and services of this year-round sunshine destination on an enlarged stand in Hall 5.2. Present at the official opening media event on the eve of the show, Moosa Zameer, Minister of Tourism, Maldives told journalists his country was very proud to be associated with the world’s premier travel and tourism event here in Berlin. “2016 is Visit Maldives Year and we have a number of exciting programmes planned. Over 55 programmes will be undertaken throughout the year, said Mr Zameer. “As partner country of ITB Berlin, we are planning a number of events, including of course the opening ceremony. Many resorts from the Maldives are here at ITB Berlin to meet people from all around the world, and we will be leveraging the show to promote events that will be taking place afterwards. Our presence at ITB Berlin is the biggest element of our promotion.” “It’s an honour and a great pleasure to be here to celebrate two important events – 50 years of ITB Berlin and Visit Maldives Year”, stated the Minister. The Minister announced a strategic plan for the construction of new marinas in order to boost the cruising market. “Tourism in the Maldives is based on our pristine marine environment,” said the Minister. “We are supporting the private sector in developing more environmentally friendly techniques of energy production, waste disposal, and so on, promoting sustainable development and tourism.” TRAVEL TRENDS OUTLINED BY DR MICHAEL FRENZEL Third to speak on the podium was Dr Michael Frenzel, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry and Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) While much of Dr Frenzel’s presentation centred OUR SUCCESS IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOT RUNNING BEHIND TRENDS, BUT ARE ACTIVE PIONEERS (Dr Göke) specifically on Germany and its place in the global tourism market, he did not hesitate to address the serious issues affecting the industry in 2016 - namely the refugee crisis, security and the uneven application of airline taxes. “These are turbulent times,” he said, “which present challenges and opportunities.” Highlighting the influx of refugees into Europe as an important topic he spoke about “the opportunity to integrate these new citizens through training, linguistics and employment - and also helping the social problems in the regions from where the migration is happening, improving the perception of those areas.” He quantified the positive impact of tourism to troubled destinations with a statistic that for every fifteen visiting German tourists, one new job is created. Dr Frenzel also stressed that freedom to travel must not be curtailed: “The Schengen area and its disappearing borders is an economic boon, and we must continue to make borders disappear. No new borders or obstacles - these are detrimental to tourism!” he said. He was insistent that security fears were not hampering business too greatly, saying “People might not be sitting on their packed suitcases ready to go right now, but I know they are definitely going to be packing their cases soon. Nobody can guarantee 100% security either at home or away; the figures show that people are still willing to travel” Insisting that the balance struck between opportunity and risk is important, Dr Frenzel flagged up “Sharing Economy” as a buzzword. “As tourism is a job-motor, we need a level playing field internationally” he said. The World Legacy Awards ceremony, an initiative of the National Geographic Society, will take place at 3:15pm. More than 150 Awards entries were received, representing 51 countries and six continents. PARTNER COUNTRY SIGNING CEREMONY At 4:10 pm, the official signing ceremony will take place for the 2017 ITB Berlin partner country. Dr Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin and the “mystery” tourism minister of the new partner country will participate in the ceremony… ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 9 th March 2016

ITB Berlin News