I’ve visited the ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) plenty of times. This enormous tourism fair, held in Berlin, has been a source of news, industry developments, some infamous parties and loads of new inspiration. After I missed 2017’s episode, in 2018 I was present again. But what did I see? A small review.
Didn’t I tell you VR would be next thing in tourism promotion? Well, the ITB was full of VR goggles for all kinds of purposes; to watch a destination, to experience the onboard experience at Lufthansa and to see how the new hotel rooms at the Wyndham would look like. YES! I like (love!) it; VR is an amazing tool to create better awareness!
Organisations are already utilising it; its now time for the smaller organisations in the travel industry to pick up this development soon!
Very surprisingly and against my expectations, out of the big three airlines from the Middle-East, only Qatar Airways showcased their new Q-suites product. “I will build a super business class“. And Akbar al Baker, QR’s CEO was right; they developed by far the best airline hard product out there that matches many first class cabins when it comes to a hard product.
It’s disappointing that, after both Emirates and Etihad had to respectively post a profit warning and a loss (but not for the first time), there is no budget left for fancy promotions on overseas fairs. A pity as I do enjoy these kinds of showcases.
Shoutout to Skyteam as well; they had one stand for all of their 16+ members but didn’t show anything nor was any member airline product available. Only a few airlines had their own booths; very disappointing.
On the contrary, Lufthansa Group (LH, LX, OS & EW) had a huge booth available with multiple of their new and existing products including the new comfort class at Austrian and the famous Lufthansa First Class!
In terms of new destinations; nothing special or new but maybe that was because every thinkable country is present. Few exceptions were Somalia, Central African Republic and North Korea (and a few more of these kind of places).
I spotted a few North Koreans though, when they kicked me out of their embassy area in Berlin Mitte later in the day. They run a hostel to generate hard currency for the government and as curious as I am I wanted to check it out. They did not appreciate it (and probably kills my chances of ever getting a visa for the DPRK if they use facial recognition but I doubt this)). (click here for a silly photo taken at their embassy).
Interesting development to see are the African destinations; the growers; Gambia, Senegal, Togo, Ghana and notably Namibia (HUGE stand) while the known ones such as Zanzibar & Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana were obviously present.
Also good to see that Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt are doing all they can to prove they are a safe and nice destination. Especially Turkey that spanned two halls full of booths was amazing to see.
Overall, if you’re into tourism, travel technology or commercial aviation a visit to the ITB is an annual must. Next to that I’ve soaked up quite some energy from Berlin which is a lovely host city.