"Niche" is the buzzword in Berlin as the 49th edition of the world's largest travel show, the ITB, gets underway in the booming capital. German tour operators are looking ahead to brisk business once again.
Mongolia has been chosen as the partner country for this year's ITB travel fair in Berlin (March 4 – March 8) as operators around the world are trying to get more visitors to travel off the beaten path.
The world's largest get-together of the tourism industry is being attended by more than 10,000 exhibitors from 186 nations which all hope to do brisk business despite growing uncertainty in the wake of terrorist attacks and geopolitical conflicts in many parts of the world.
Last year, business concluded at the ITB amounted to 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) and operators are hoping for a repeat.
Another bumper year?
They'll be well-advised to woo the Germans, who have earned a reputation as the world's fondest travellers. The president of the German Tourism Industry, Michael Frenzel, said the domestic travel business was expected to rise by another 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent this year.
He cited favorable conditions such as relatively safe jobs, rising wages in many sectors of the economy and record-low interest rates, all enhancing people's willingness to spend more. Problems only occurred in the aviation sector, Frenzel noted, where a special environmental tax, bans on night flights and frequent strikes had put off potential clients.
For the first time in its history, the ITB fair will be honoring sustainable tourism projects and programs by presenting World Legacy Awards to the contest winners in cooperation with National Geographic.
hg/pad (dpa, ITB)