ITB Berlin 2020 has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the event organizers report. The annual travel industry event, which was expected to draw more than 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries this year, was originally scheduled to take place March 4 – 8.
“Due to the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Economics have decided to cancel ITB Berlin,” the event organizers wrote in a statement announcing the decision.
The health authority responsible for Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf of Berlin increased the requirements for the event to take place; among other things, the new requirements would have required all event attendees to prove that they have not come from defined coronavirus risk areas or have had contact with a person from the risk areas. The event organizers said that they would not be able to implement these requirements.
“We take our responsibility for the health and safety of our guests, exhibitors and employees very seriously,” said Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of event organizers Messe Berlin GmbH, in a written statement. “It is with a heavy heart that we look forward to the cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020, which has now become necessary.”
“In their now 54-year history ITB Berlin and Messe Berlin have never before experienced a comparable situation,” The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Berlin Wolf-Dieter Wolf said. “We would like to thank all exhibitors and partners around the world who have supported ITB Berlin in the past days and weeks, and look forward to continuing our trusting cooperation with our partners in the market.”
The cancellation marks the latest ITB event to be affected by the outbreak. Earlier this week, organizers had postponed ITB China, which had been scheduled for May 13 – 15 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center. The new date for that event has not yet been announced.
Another Berlin-based event, the International Hospitality and Investment Forum (IHIF), has also been postponed from March 2- 4 to May 4 -6. (The event is owned by Travel Agent's parent company, Questex.) The IHIF, along with its co-located event Adjacent [email protected], will now take place on those dates at the InterContinental Hotel and Pullman hotel, respectively.
According to the latest situation report from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 21 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Germany, as compared to over 82,000 worldwide. There have been no deaths in Germany from the illness thus far.