Besides escalating overtourism conflicts and the impending climate catastrophe, changing transportation systems and the shift in customer demands will be the key topics at the ITB Berlin Convention from 6 to 9 March 2019. This year, the leading think tank of the global travel industry is presenting an outstanding program again. More than 400 leading speakers representing tourism, business and politics will be taking part in discussions at a total of 200 events. They include First Lady of Iceland and United Nations Special Ambassador for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals Eliza Jean Reid, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism the Hon. María Amalia Revelo Raventós, Member of the German Bundestag and Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and Federal Government Tourism Officer Thomas Bareiß, President of the ifo Institute Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Clemens Fuest, President of Homes Airbnb Greg W. Greeley, CEO Expedia Mark Okerstrom, Head of Alibaba Europe Terry von Bibra, and President of the Alibaba Global Business Group and Alibaba Fliggy Group Angel Zhao.
Mobility: a new era has arrived
Transportation systems are an essential part of the tourism industry. But can today’s systems take on the future? On Wednesday, 6 March 2019, day one of the ITB Destination Days, movers from the world of innovative transport will examine this topic at the ’Future Ground Mobility Panel’. Wolfram Auer, Deputy Director International Business Development Doppelmayr Seilbahnen GmbH, Stephan Pfeiffer, head of Strategic Partnerships & Public Affairs, ioki (Deutsche Bahn), and Christoph Weigler, director general of Uber Germany, will discuss the major changes taking place in transportation with a view to concepts such as driverless vehicles, ride-sharing business models, mobility platforms, electric powertrains, minibuses, bikes for hire, cable cars and other modes of transport. They will also highlight measures for promoting tourist attractions which cities and rural areas could implement now in order to meet the challenges of the future.
’Future Ground Mobility’ will be the focus of the ITB Ministers’ Roundtable as well. Tourism ministers from leading travel destinations, such as Egypt, Costa Rica, Greece, Kenya, Namibia or Sambia will talk about the major transport problems increasingly affecting countries and ways to improve the travel experience.
Shift in customer demands in the luxury travel market
A paradigm shift is taking place in the tourism industry. Customers in the luxury market are now less interested in material wealth and more in non-material values. Nowadays, space, time, seclusion and self-expression are important to them, as well as experience instead of adventure. Today’s luxury market customers are looking for meaning and sense. On 7 March 2019 on Marketing & Distribution Day at the ITB New Luxury Panel, together with Prof. Dr. Monika Imschloß, an expert on sensory marketing, Universität zu Köln, and the starred chef David Kikillus, Marc Aeberhard, the proprietor of Luxury Hotel & Spa Management Ltd., will discuss how changing customer demands are influencing hotel and tourism services and the shape that luxury products will take in the future.
Afterwards, the internationally renowned travel correspondent Doug Lansky will reveal an insider’s view of global concierge and butler services. In his introductory speech on the ’Personality profiles of luxury customers’ he will reveal the travel needs of high-end luxury customers, the experiences they ultimately desire, and how to communicate with them.
On 7 March 2019 the ITB Hospitality Tech Forum will also be discussing the shift in customer demands. In his lecture entitled ’Beyond Unconventional: Keeping up with the Tent Next Door’, Adam Harris, CEO of Cloudbeds, will talk about how the market is changing. More and more tourists will be attracted to unusual forms of accommodation rather than luxury hotels.
Rediscovering the art of travel is the subject of a speech that Ilija Trojanow will hold. On 8 March 2019, day two of the ITB Destination Days, the renowned writer, bestselling author and ITB Book Award winner 2019 will hold a keynote on ’How to travel. A user’s guide’, and offer answers to these questions: ”What do we look for when we travel to other countries?”, “How many new things do we want to discover?”, and “How much are we willing to change?”
Results of the exclusive Overtourism Report by Travelzoo and ITB Berlin
As in every year the results of the market survey carried out by Travelzoo and ITB Berlin will be presented at the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. The international portal for exclusive travel deals was commissioned by ITB Berlin to examine perceptions of overtourism, a topic which to date has received little attention. The report looked at which tourist groups and nationalities thought overcrowded destinations gave a particularly negative impression, what they would do to avoid the problem, and what action they expected travel operators and destinations to take. The global survey provides in-depth information and is an important decision-making tool for industry managers in order to confront one of the biggest challenges facing the international tourism industry, now and in the future. Sharry Sun, Global Head of Brand, Travelzoo, will present the exclusive report at the Deep Dive Session 1 at the City Cube Club on 6 March 2019 at 1 p.m.
On Thursday 7 March, on the eve of International Women’s Day, an ITB Berlin Convention seminar on gender equality in tourism will take place at the Palais am Funkturm at 1 p.m., which will also present the second Global Report on Women in Tourism by UNWTO. This will be followed by the presentation of the Celebrating Her Awards by the International Institute for Peace in Tourism, which honours outstanding achievements by women. International Women’s Day is not the only occasion on which prominent women will be having their say at ITB Berlin. On 7 March at the ITB Tourism for Sustainable Development Day, Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, a member of the German Bundestag and Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety, will talk about ’German Outbound Travel has Impact! What Responsibilities is the German Government bearing?’ On 8 March, which is CSR Day, at a discussion round under the heading ’A tidal wave of plastic – Ocean pollution and the UN Sustainable Development Goals’, three women will host the debate: Dr. Frauke Fischer, founder of Agentur auf! and an author, consultant and technical expert on sustainability; Dr. Monika Griefahn, senior sustainability advisor, Costa Group, a founding member of Greenpeace and former minister; and Joanne Hendricks, formerly global sustainable destinations manager, Thomas Cook Group and founder of Travel Without Plastic.