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This trip took place in March 2019.
As every year, I have been at the ITB again, the world’s largest and most famous tourism trade fair. It takes place in Berlin every year in the beginning of March. Tourism companies from most countries in the world are presenting themselves here, some countries are also represented by their national tourism agencies.
As the total area of the exhibition halls is about 180,000 m², you should plan a whole day if you want to explore all of them. Due to the arrangement of the fairgrounds, you can easily walk through almost all halls in a big circle. I did so, as I was interested in many countries, not only the ones we are already booked to, or planning to travel to, but also the ones I have on my list anyways. And possibly an additional country will have an interesting presentation here. Besides that, there also are many companies from other branches, like the IT, presenting interesting solutions for tourism based topics. For bloggers, the ITB has established a meeting area and different stage events with topics for the blogging community.
Here are some pictures from the fair today:
It took me about 5.5 hours until I was finished with the last hall. I roamed through every single one, checking out different booths, collected some brochures for future travel planning and had some short talks with the experts from different countries. The talks are usually very interesting, as many people at the booths are originally coming from the respective country so they can give you really good advice and insight in what to do there.
Interesting for me, as we’re planning future trips there, have been the booths of different states of the USA, some of German cities and regions, the Canadian booth and the ones of the South East Asian countries.
What surprises me year to year, is the amount of African countries represented. For sure it’s not all of them, some like Somalia are missing out, but even small or poor countries are represented, all in a professional way. Even if all countries are represented professionally, you can spot a difference in their priorities. Some booths are already looking really high class on the first look, while others are more designed for a young or backpacking audience.
At the booth of Mississippi, I had a really interesting conversation about how hard it is to plan a road trip in the not so famous parts of a country like the USA, as there is a lot to see and experience there as well, but getting information about it is not that easy.
Interesting also are airlines presenting their (new) cabin layouts. While traveling a lot, we also fly quite frequently, so that we’ve already been flying on many different airlines. Usually the price makes the difference, so we book the cheapest flights, but if the price difference isn’t too big, a higher standard of comfort and service can change our decision and make us book the flight which is a little more expensive but has a higher value to us. At the ITB you can sit in different airline seats, with the original pitch, some airlines even are presenting the whole cabin environment, this can definitely help you to maybe decide for another airline next time.
Also interesting are the presentations of not country bound operators but operators of quite specific branches of the tourism industry such as youth travel, camping holidays or LGBT travel. As all those branches have really specific needs, their presentations are differing from the usual appearance of the other booths.
The only let down for me every year are the prices for drinks and food on the fairgrounds. 0.5 liters of water for more than 4 EUR, a pretzel for 2.50 EUR and a small plate of fried noodles for 8-10 EURs is nothing but a rip off. And in the end they don’t even accept card payments. Cash only on possibly the most international trade fair in the world! They seem like they didn’t even arrive in the 2000s, but hey, maybe some day the Berlin Convention Center catches up with the present.
Nonetheless, the ITB has inspired me as every year. I took home a lot of new information and insights that I might not have gotten without visiting this trade fair. I will definitely come back next year, as you never know what happens, maybe our travel plans changes or we decide for other destination than those on our list right now, the ITB always is good to collect information, get inspired and exchange with fellow travelers.
How to get to Berlin:
From within Europe, you can easily get to Berlin by car and train, additionally to that, Berlin has two airports: Tegel (TXL) and Schönefeld (SXF). While Schönefeld is more an airport for low cost carriers (EasyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian and Wizzair are operating a lot of flights from all over Europe to SXF), Tegel offers a lot of national (mostly EasyJet and Eurowings) and international connections to all over the world.
Here are some examples of airlines flying via their Hubs to Berlin: Eurowings (TXL via different European Airports), Aer Lingus (TXL via Dublin), Aeroflot (SXF via Moscow), Air France (TXL via Paris), Austrian Airlines (TXL via Vienna), British Airways (TXL via Vienna), Brussels Airlines (TXL via Brussels), Delta (TXL via JFK), Egypt Air (SXF via Cairo), Finnair (TXL via Helsinki), Hainan Airways (TXL via Beijing), Iberia (TXL via Madrid), KLM (TXL via Amsterdam), Lufthansa (TXL via Frankfurt and Munich), Qatar Airways (TXL via Doha), Royal Air Maroc (TXL via Casablanca), Royal Jordanian (TXL via Amman), SAS (TXL via Copenhagen, Oslo or Stockholm), Scoot (TXL via Singapore), Swiss (TXL via Zurich), Turkish Airlines (TXL via Istanbul), Ukraine International Airlines (TXL via Kiev) and United Airlines (TXL via Newark). For sure this is only a choice of airlines going to Berlin, you can find even more.
Thank you for reading, we hope we were able to give you some interesting tips and inspiration for your own trip to the ITB.
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