Rethinking Tourism at ITB Berlin Now Convention

Rethinking Tourism at ITB Berlin Now Convention

Berlin, Germany, March 1, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / More than 200 leading international speakers representing airlines, the hotel and cruise industries as well as organisers will talk about the future of the tourism industry – Focus on marketing, destinations and sustainable travel at the global travel industry’s largest think tank – ITB CSR DAY is now a Sustainable Tourism Track – Full programme details and tickets for the virtual show are available online now

The global travel industry’s largest think tank is also attracting leading opinion-formers and visionary minds to its virtual edition. In this challenging year, the programme of the ITB Berlin NOW Convention features experienced industry figures who will discuss their views on the industry’s future with participants in the event. From 9 to 12 March 2021, under this year’s heading ’Rethink, Regenerate, Restart – Tourism for a Better Normal’, more than 200 leading speakers from the international travel industry will be having their say. Among the more than 30 CEOs are Luuc Elzinga, CEO of Tiqets, Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines, Travis Pittmann, co-founder and CEO of TourRadar, Merja Taipaleenmäki, CEO of Citynomadi Ltd, Jan Sadowsky, CEO of Green Tiny Houses, and Brad Weber, president and CEO of Gray Line Wordwide, to name but a few. Speakers from around the world from not- so-familiar brands and backgrounds will offer food for thought and an alternative focus with their commitment and clever ideas. Visitors to the virtual edition can choose between sessions on key topics such as destinations, sustainable travel, marketing and travel sales and will benefit from wide-ranging and constructive input on the latest developments in the travel industry. For exhibitors, trade visitors and the media, participation in the ITB Berlin NOW Convention is included in the price of a ticket. Full details of the programme of the ITB Berlin NOW Convention are available online.

On 9 March 2021 the speakers at the ITB Future Track will be casting their eyes to the future. Interviews with leading CEOs from every walk of the industry – including a morning keynote interview with Richard Holden, vice president, Product Management, Google – will give an up-to-the-minute and qualified view of the challenges the tourism industry is having to confront during the coronavirus pandemic. High-ranking representatives of Emirates, Air France KLM and Ryanair will have their say on the situation in the airline industry. The CEOs of the TUI Group and DER Touristik Group will each explain how tour operators can successfully emerge the crisis. Leading figures representing Hyatt, Accor and Deutsche Hospitality will outline solutions for the hotel industry. The CEOs of MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and TUI Cruises will talk about the trends and challenges in the cruise market. Representatives of the Lufthansa Group will talk about aviation topics concerning the international tourism industry.

Liisa Kokkarinen, Sustainable Arctic Destination, Sustainable Travel Finland manager, Visit Finland, will talk about the comprhensive steps Finland is undertaking to become a carbon-neutral destination by 2035. Nick Careen, senior vice president, Airport Passenger Cargo and Security (APCS) IATA, Harry Sommer, CEO NCL, the Hon. Harry Theoharis, tourism minister of Greece, Virginia Messina, managing director of the WTTC, and Jose Filipe Torres, CEO of Bloom Consulting will discuss the political conditions, industry initiatives and health situation needed to help restart business after Covid-19.

Concepts and strategies for restarting business

On 10 March 2021 leading speakers at the ITB Marketing & Distribution Track will talk about the major shifts in the package tour market. In a keynote interview Nathan Blecharzyk, co-founder of Airbnb, CSO and chairman, Airbnb China, will talk about the future of his company in the face of current shifts in the tourism industry. Fabian Eberle, director of CZP Chalet Zermatt Peak, Dr. med. Jeffry Mc Cutchan, psychiatrist, psychotherapist and anxiety researcher, Erik Nissen Johansen, creative director and founder of Stylt Trampoli AB, and Jenny Southan, editor and founder of Globetrender, will examine changing attitudes in the luxury travel market and how hotel concepts can take the customer desire for attention and personal safety into account.

Together with Miguel Flecha, a VR expert from Accenture, Mateusz Mierzwinski, CEO and founder of LocalBini, Vladimir Varnavskii, founder and CEO of Vresorts, and Olaf Schlieper, innovation manager of the German National Tourism Board, will examine how VR applications can be used to promote destinations and attractions. In reply to three questions in nine minutes, Max C. Luscher, CEO Central & Northern Europe B&B Hotels will present an outlook for the budget hotel industy.

Also on 10 March 2021, a number of sessions in partnership with the German Business Travel Association (VDR) will examine how business travel can be restarted in these times of the Covid-19 pandemic. After a welcome speech by VDR general manager Hans-Ingo Biehl, the Business Travel programme will kick off with a discussion under the heading ’Business Travel: REthink, REbuild, RElevance – the Future of Meetings & Events’, which will look at the prospects for new business models, technology trends and their ramifications.

On 11 March 2021 at the ITB Destination Track, Matthias Beyer, managing director of mascontour GmbH, will explain why destination management must focus on resilience in the future. At the ITB Resilience Roundtable, Kenya’s Minister of Tourism and Wildlife the Hon. Najib Balala, Gloria Guevara Manzo, president and CEO of the WTTC, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations the Hon. Staša Košarac, and Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, will talk about measures that have already been introduced, those being planned as well as their potential impact. Norbert Kettner, managing director of the Vienna Tourist Board and Miguel Angel Sanz Castedo, director general of Tourspain, will explain what has to be done to make sure tourism at a prime incoming destination like Vienna can successfully get back into gear. Participants in the discussion round including Otar Berishvili, Collective Development director of the Adjara Group, Nick Erkomaishvili, director and CEO of Explore Georgia, and John Wurderman, director of the Winery ’Peasant’s Tears’, can find out more about Georgia’s vibrant culture, from the mountain peaks to the Black Sea coast. In an interview, Patrick Andrae, co-founder and CEO of HomeToGo, will explain why he expects the holiday apartment market will continue to boom this year. Laura Meyer, CEO of Hotelplan, will highlight new destination trends and the prospects for the major source markets.

On 12 March 2021 at the ITB Berlin MICE Track presented by the Association of Event Organisers (VDVO), leading MICE industry representatives will have their say. The focus of the MICE Track at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention will be on what the new normal will look like in the meetings and events industry. Bernd Fritzges, CEO of the VDVO and Daniel Steinbichler, CEO of weframe AG, will present the ’Push’21 initiative – the next step towards better meetings’. The project not only aims to help overcome the challenges facing the events industry due to massive pandemic-related turnover losses, but to also positively shape ongoing digitalisation and the accompanying changes in event formats, for the future benefit of everyone in the market.

On 12 March 2021 at the ITB Sustainability Track, which this year replaces the ITB CSR-in-Tourism Day, the agenda will focus entirely on sustainable travel, climate protection and social responsibility. Roger Dow, president & CEO of USTravel, will look at the potential future impact of the US government’s new climate policies and on the recovery and transformation of the travel industry. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has launched a comprehensive programme with the aim of creating a more resilient and sustainable tourism environment. The measures target 16 countries which have been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis and which represent important destinations for the German travel market. Following a welcome speech by Norbert Barthle, Parlamentiary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Anna Spenceley, an international tourism expert, Volker Adams, head of Policies/Foreign Tourism at the DRV, and Petra Thomas, managing director of forum anders reisen, will report on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in developing and threshold countries and the consequences for the German travel market.

In his keynote speech Jürgen May, managing director of 2bdifferent, will examine whether virtual events are generally more climate-friendly than in-person meetings and will explain the sustainability aspects that need to be taken into account. Euromonitor’s Sustainable Travel Index is the first sustainable travel and tourism ranking that lists 99 countries. Caroline Bremner, head of Travel Research Euromonitor, will present the leading destinations at an ITB Deep Dive Session. To obtain a list of the leading countries in the white paper directly after the lecture advance registration is required here. At an interactive panel discussion Prof. Dr. Harald Zeiss, chairman of Futouris, will invite visitors to the ITB Berlin NOW Convention to discuss what innovative strategies must be undertaken to make tourism more sustainable.

In addition to the ITB Sustainability Track, the Best Practice Responsible Tourism Track will also examine critical issues. A discussion will take place on the topic of racism and discrimination in the tourism industry with a view to finding solutions, as well as on how tourism concepts can be set up that actively involve local residents. In an interview, Portugal’s State Secretary for Tourism Rita Marques will talk about her country’s long-term recovery efforts and a climate event scheduled for May this year entitled ’A World for Travel – Evora Forum’. The panel discussion organised by ITC SheTrades will talk about female empowerment and gender equality when society rebuilds after the coronavirus crisis. Other track highlights include the launch of the 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Competition, the TO DO Award, including the Human Rights Award presented by Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung e.V., and the Celebrating Her Award of the International Institute for Peace (IIPT), which honours outstanding women in tourism.

About ITB Berlin NOW and the ITB Berlin NOW Convention
ITB Berlin NOW will take place from Tuesday, 9 to Friday, 12 March for trade visitors only and as an entirely virtual event. ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. As part of ITB Berlin NOW, the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, the largest travel industry event of its kind, will also take place as a virtual event. The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) is the co-host, Mascontour Track is the sponsor of the ITB Future Track, Google and Lufthansa are track sponsors of the ITB Marketing & Distribution Track, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the ITB Sustainability Track partner, SIO AG is the track sponsor of the eTravel DATA TALKS and Studiosus is the session sponsor. For exhibitors, trade visitors and the media, participation in the ITB Berlin NOW Convention is included in the price of a ticket.