Travel Agent was on hand at the opening of the 46th annual ITB Berlin, which takes place from March 7 to 11, as the show addressed hot-button political issues affecting the travel industry.
Presenters will cover the European debt crisis, turmoil in the Middle East, climate change and sustainability and the EU’s emissions trading scheme. Additionaly, the UNWTO Silk Road Minister’s Summit will take place for the second time at the show.
Dr. Christian Göke, chief operating officer of Messe Berlin, said, “At the start of the ITB Berlin Convention Hans-Werner Sinn, President of the Munich-based ifo Institute, will be analyzing economic developments in Europe and around the world. The future development of tourism in Arab countries will be discussed by the tourism ministers of Egypt, Morocco and Jordan in conversations with political and business representatives. Safety and sustainability in the cruise industry is the subject being dealt with by the CEO Cruise Panel.”
Panel discussions and papers presented by travel and tourism experts will provide useful information and suggestions for action.
The current economic situation and its impact on tourism will be discussed by the economist and President of the ifo Institute in Munich Prof. Dr. Dres. H.c. Hans-Werner Sinn, in his keynote address entitled “Global economic developments and the situation in Germany and Europe“.
The first day will conclude with “The Arab rebellion: an Arab Spring or tourism ice age?” in which experts on the Arab world will discuss the changes that can be expected in the tourism industry and the possibilities that are being offered.
Leading figures in the cruise industry will be providing information about on-board safety and about the environmental protection aspects of cruising in an Executive Panel. Among the speakers will be Michael Bayley, executive vice president international, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Enzo Visone, CEO, Silverseas Cruises.
Markus Barnikel, CEO, carpooling.com, will give a talk entitled “Ride Sharing – the smart transport alternative of the Future”.
Technical progress and its benefits for the travel industry will be another topic covered by the Convention. Arne Bleckwenn, Chief Executive of Wimdu.de, will be using this internet platform, which acts as an agency for private accommodation, to show how the internet makes shared ownership possible. A similar objective is being pursued by Markus Barnikel, CEO, carpooling.com, with the subject of “Ride Sharing – the smart transport alternative of the Future”. Arne Bleckwenn will be speaking on 9 March at 4.15 in Hall 7.1b, London Room, and Markus Barnikel at 1.45 p.m. in Hall 7.1a, New York Room 3.
In cooperation with visitBerlin, nine companies and destinations will be presenting their concepts in four-minute slots at the “ITB Health Tourism Battle”. By pressing a button the audience will be able to decide on the best concept, and the creator will be rewarded by a city tour of Berlin.