Disruptive Travel was the key topic from ITB Berlin 2017. In his speech to open the Convention, UNWTO Secretary-General Dr Taleb Rifai gave his perspective on the world and how it is changing faster than ever before. With many disruptors and growing threats such as the lack of order, peace and tolerance impacting on the global travel and tourism industry, “the power of tourism continues to shine though the darkness” said Dr Rifai.

Onto the business of the day, it was good to see Botswana as the official partner country for ITB 2017 putting the Southern Africa region in the spotlight. Apart from safety and security, themes of sustainability, technology, investment and travel experiences (among others) were resonating on the show floors. Here is our take on some notable highlights from ITB:

ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/17
As is customary, the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/17 was presented at the show. Some notable trends identified in the report are:

  • Tourism on growth path despite terror
  • Europeans play safe by switching destinations
  • Asia travel boom to continue in 2017
  • Chinese will mature into Western-style tourists
  • The trump effect on travel
  • How does Airbnb impact cities?
  • Are Millennials different – or just young?

National Geographic Traveller World Legacy Awards 2017
Africa had its time to shine in the World Legacy Awards 2017. In five categories, the Awards recognize outstanding support for the preservation of nature, restoring natural habitat and protecting rare and endangered species. The winners of each category are:

  • Conserving the Natural World :North Island Resort, Seychelles
    (Finalist – Mark Thornton Safaris, Tanzania)
  • Destination Leadership :Slovenian Tourist Board
    (Finalist – Segra Retreat, Kenya)
  • Earth Changers :Cayuga Collection – Costa Rica and Nicaragua
  • Engaging Communities :The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize
  • Sense of Place :City of Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA

ITB Hospitality Day
This prestigious Think Tank has established itself as one of the top segments to watch on the ITB programme in recent times. Movers and Shakers of the hotel industry gave their perspectives on a number of issues, notably the digitization of the industry, the technology impact on culinary art, and safety and security (how a City like Paris can win back a tourist’s trust).

ITB Destination Day 2
The three destination days at ITB are dedicated to the challenges and perspectives of international destination management. A major part of Destination Day 2 saw the Botswana Forum for Conservation and Sustainable Tourism take place. As one of the global leaders in conservation, Botswana shared three secrets to their success as a pristine wildlife, sustainable and conservation-focused destination. They are:

  1. Good governance and lack of corruption
  2. Community involvement and empowerment in wildlife areas
  3. Zero tolerance for illegal wildlife trade and mismanagement of natural resources.      

The ITB CSR Day takes up the latest sustainability issues and provides suggestions for dealing with the biggest challenges of our time. Topics on the day included Sustainable Food & Beverages in hotels and tourism destinations, Climate Change, and Effective, Sustainable travel marketing measures.  

Click here to view more interesting highlights from the ITB Berlin 2017 newsroom.

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