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ITB Berlin celebrates 50th anniversary

The 50th anniversary of the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Berlin will be held from Wednesday to Sunday, 9 to 13 March, on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds ICC.

When it was first launched in 1966, the event hosted only nine exhibitors from five countries and was attended by only 250 trade visitors. ITB quickly became the world’s leading travel trade show. In 2015, a total of 10,096 companies and organisations from 186 countries exhibited their products and services to 175,000 visitors, who included 115,000 trade visitors.

Taking as its slogan ‘From Berlin with Love’, ITB Berlin has launched a major anniversary campaign in co-operation with the airline air berlin. Fifty Berliners are travelling to 50 destinations around the world where, as ambassadors of ITB Berlin, they are meeting a total of 50 representatives to deliver a personal “thank you” message for their support over the years for the tourism fair.

ITB Berlin Convention, a conference accompanying the fair, features leading international speakers – discussions and lectures on the latest topics, including digitalisation, the refugee crisis and climate change. For the past year the refugee situation has been the focus of debate not only in political circles and media, but in the travel industry as well. This year, a number of discussion rounds and lectures will examine the various aspects of this issue. Scholars and experts will provide in-depth accounts and tourism professionals will relate their practical experiences, for example, of integrating refugees at the workplace.

The Africa Forum, the fair’s special event devoted to Africa, will focus, among others, on Community Based Tourism. Practitioners will examine the success and challenges of the practice in Botswana. The Forum will deliberate upon strategies already adopted, look at possibilities for the future and provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas and experiences. Also, a session will be held on the ‘Uniqueness, Transformational Dimensions and Future prospects’ of Africa’s Spa & Wellness Industry.

Vivian Asamoah

For more information on ITB Berlin 2016, visit: www.itb-berlin.com

[Photo: The Gambia at the ITB 2014; © Stephen Puni/TAC]

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