BERLIN: Travel bans, terror threats and political unrest haven’t deterred holidaymakers, so the world tourism is booming. A festive opening gala with leading figures from politics and tourism – A spectacular programme of shows by Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the partner region of ITB Berlin, kicked off the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show.
Numerous celebrities attended the World’s Largest Travel Trade Show, with Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel holding a jolly speech that marked her opening of ITB Berlin.Politicians attending included Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) Dr. Michael Frenzel, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili, and Minister President of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig. Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH will represent ITB Berlin
Exhibitors from 186 countries and regions have descended on the German capital. 80 percent of the 10,000 tourism companies exhibited at the ITB come from abroad. Last year’s trade fair drew in approximately 170,000 visitors, the majority from the tourism industry, and organizers expect similar numbers this year.
High turnout from Arabic, Asian and South American exhibitors reflect emerging holiday destinations and a conscious effort to promote tourism in the Global South.
Part of the buzz surrounding the ITB comes from a boom in the tourism industry. The number of travelers worldwide is expected to increase by 4.5 percent, according to Michael Frenzel, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry.
Not all regions see this as good news. Popular destinations have been increasingly plagued by ‘overtourism’, throngs of tourists who clash with locals and, in many cases, take away some of the magic. Activists in some cities have called for total bans on visitors.
“The attractiveness of a destination also depends on its hospitality,” said Norbert Fiebig, president of the German Travel Association. “It is important to find a good balance between the economic interests and the potential loss of activities for many guests. Mutual solutions are required.”
Local governments are considering creative solutions, such as capping visitor numbers, promoting tourist activities away from the main sights, and introducing ticketing systems for tourists entering a city. Speakers from Barcelona, Amsterdam and Dubrovnik are set to share measures to counter overtourism in the coming days.
Mr. Khawaja Jahn Zeb Chief Executive Zeb Travel, His Excellency Jauhar Saleem, Ambassador of Pakistan in Germany, Mir of Hunza, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan Governor Gilgit Baltistan Mr. Mario Hardy CEO PATA