Around 50 journalists were eager to learn more about current themes and developments before the official start of the ITB (Internationale Tourismus Börse) in Berlin. The overall feedback was resoundingly positive, meaning that the event will be held again in 2015 in Berlin and, for the first time, in Hamburg as well.
Around the world in 8 x 5 minutes: This year’s speed-dating event took participants around the world. Mohamed Gamal, Director of the Egyptian Tourism Authority, gave an overview of the current situation in Egypt and measures being implemented by the Egyptian government to get tourism back on track. Iran, on the other hand, is almost uncharted and veteran travel expert Peter Kerber’s presentation generated much interest. Martina Klöckner-Scherfeld introduced Quebec, which also garnered strong interest: whale watching, stunning natural landscape and rich cultural heritage were just a few reasons mentioned (from a range of different options) for visiting this Canadian province.
While it takes slightly longer to fly to the above-mentioned destinations, northern Europe is much closer. Daniel S. Menzel gave a presentation on unusual musical techniques practiced in Swedish Lapland, amongst which were instruments made of ice that resonate at sub-zero temperatures. Pia de Grahl in turn talked about encounters along the Baltic and North Sea coast: for instance, at its northernmost point, Denmark is the only place where one can be present in both countries at the same time. To the west of Germany is Flanders, which in 2014 will be focussing on the anniversary of the First World War. Christopher Philipp also gave a presentation on the Rubens exhibition in Brussels and Antwerp.
Germany is also full of surprises: Susanne Renk shared a few secrets surrounding the Saarland and Heike Drewes gave a presentation on the Ruhr region. Apart from current trends, “young people’s travel“ was definitely a hot topic at this year’s event, with Bernd Seidl’s talk about the activities of Reisenetz – Deutscher Fachverband für Jugendreisen e.V. (the German Association for Young People’s Travel) and Inese Egle’s presentation on the success of Gastgeber A&O Hotel und Hostels.
There was plenty of time for in-depth conversations and networking during the second half of the evening.