Between March 5th and 9th, over 100,000 visitors congregated at this year’s ITB Berlin – the world’s largest travel trade show. Featuring displays from 189 countries, the number of international exhibitors at the event was higher than ever before – and this diversity means an unprecedented global overview of the niche markets and consumer trends that will shape the world of travel and tourism throughout the coming year. Members of the public enjoyed a sneak peek at cutting edge products and services, and had the opportunity to make purchases directly from exhibitors. For professionals involved in tourism and hospitality business management, ITB Berlin 2014 has provided essential insight into what’s driving industry growth right now.
LGBT tourism a featured trend
According to market research, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel segment has enormous growth potential. Gay pride-oriented events are increasing in size and popularity around the globe – ITB Berlin offered consultant services and hosted strategy seminars on the subject, along with several other LGBT-themed presentations over the course of the weekend. Most events took place at one of the trade show’s main attractions – the Gay & Lesbian Pavilion. And the number of international exhibitors grew this year to include India, Tel Aviv, Japan and China.
Socially responsible travel packages
This year, 130 presenters from 35 countries gathered in one of ITB Berlin’s exhibition halls to introduce new concepts in socially responsible tourism. The socially responsible tourist aims to support local environment and history while traveling, and is drawn toward culturally authentic experiences. ITB Berlin exhibitor, Jordan showcased ecologically responsible desert tours that include living in Bedouin tents, while Colombia presented a range of packages that focus on environmental preservation. Resort management representing the Indian luxury hotel chain, CGH Earth showcased the brand’s commitment to the environment, along with several other exhibitors eager to align themselves with the increasingly popular trend.
Expansion of Arab and Asian markets
Visitor waiting lists, extended display stands, and bursting exhibition halls were clear signs that the Arab and Asian markets are expanding at a rapid rate. For the first time, the two Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra both had their own stands. The number of Vietnamese displays increased so substantially from last year, they were awarded their own exhibition hall. Dubai also moved into a larger display area, and ITB Berlin welcomed representatives from Oman for the first time. In total, the trade show hosted more than a dozen new participants from the Far East and Southeast Asia – numbers that point to those regions as the next go-to travel destinations for 2014.
What is your must-see travel destination for this year?