The ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade fair, has recovered after a three-year health crisis. Some 10,000 exhibitors and 160,000 visitors – mostly professionals – are expected to attend until Thursday 9th March, determined to do business and turn the page on a crisis that has shaken the tourism market.
“The travel industry has proven to be resilient and adaptable,” said Deborah Rother, the Exhibition Director. “We see already that the travel industry is increasing, bookings are increasing a lot, especially in outbound trips and we are seeing an increase in international travel as well, as domestic travel. ” She adds that “sustainability is now one of the major topics”.
‘Open for change’ is the slogan of this year’s show with many travellers keen to reduce the climate impact of their trips. Among the trends are technology and less polluting means of transport, such as the train.
“The rail industry in Europe recovered very well,” said Björn Bender, President & CEO of Rail Europe. “If you compare the 2022 to 2019 figures, it’s already almost 10% more higher than pre-Covid. I would say the next years and decades will be the time for train travel because countries in Europe are investing billions of euros in new infrastructure.”
Others are banking on authenticity, such as Georgia, the host country of this 2023 edition. According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), international travel reached 63% of its pre-pandemic levels worldwide last year.
And 2023 could mark the return of tourism to pre-Covid levels in Europe, according to the UNWTO. But this depends, it says, on the economic slowdown, the travel situation in Asia-Pacific and the evolution of the war in Ukraine.