TTME MARCH 2019-PAGE 6

In-destination services @ITB

ITB Berlin, from March 6-10, 2019, will lay emphasis on promoting and selling in-destination services, as a result of which tours, technology and activities will remain a key focus, shares Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice President—Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin.

Shehara Rizly

What new can visitors expect at ITB Berlin 2019?
The Technology, Tours & Activities (TTA) segment is new at ITB Berlin 2019 with an emphasis on promoting and selling in-destination services. Both major players and small start-ups will be able to present their products at the new meeting area in Adventure Travel Hall. The TTA marketplace will be the place to head for providers of tours, tour guides, technology and apps, resellers, intermediaries and destinations. Exhibitors and trade visitors can also establish new contacts and exchange experiences at networking events. This year, ITB Berlin Convention will take place at CityCube, the new multi-purpose congress and trade fair venue.
The eTravel World continues to expand with the travel technology segment gaining more space. Visitors interested in new technologies, digital marketing and social media have a short distance to reach the exclusive displays. Besides indestination services, another focus at TTA Forum is the topic of payment solutions. Related events will include sessions with Amazon Pay, Paypal and Wirecard. Last but not least, we will launch an ITB Virtual Reality Lab where top-speakers will give exciting insights into the importance of augmented and virtual reality for the travel industry.

What are the key areas of focus this year?
Malaysia, as the official partner country, is organising a big spectacle during the event. The ITB Berlin convention will address key topics on overtourism, global warming, sustainability, new customer expectations in the luxury travel market and future mobility along with a special emphasis on adventure travel and sustainable tourism. We are seeing a trend towards seclusion and exclusiveness in the luxury travel segment. Customers want to experience something that is out of the ordinary that can range from an underwater hotel to an exclusive treehouse.

Who will be exhibiting from the Middle East this year?
Demand from the Middle East has been especially high this year. Dubai itself has increased its participation at ITB Berlin. Oman, the partner country of ITB Berlin 2020, will be represented in larger numbers, as will Fujairah, the last country to join the Emirates. Egypt, Palestine, Jordan and Qatar will also present their tourism highlights at the exhibition. The United Arab Emirates can also be found in the hotel hall, alongside Lebanon and Iraq. New exhibitors include the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and Expo 2020 Dubai.

What role does the Middle East play at ITB Berlin?
Countries from the Middle Eastern region are fast-growing tourism destinations and the demand for exhibition space at ITB Berlin is particularly high this year. In the Middle East markets, there is a thriving middle class with a growing buying power and new consumer behaviour.

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