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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Numerous panel discussions highlight new trends at ITB Berlin Convention 2012

Numerous panel discussions highlight new trends at ITB Berlin Convention 2012As the tourism industry’s main think tank the ITB Berlin Convention 2012 has again been able to secure the attendance of prominent speakers. From 7 to 9 March, at the ITB Berlin Convention, part of the world’s leading travel trade show, leading speakers from the tourism industry and other sectors will be highlighting the latest trends and discussing the opportunities and challenges facing the global travel industry in the future. Admission is free for trade visitors with tickets to ITB Berlin.

Each of the three days features a special topic. Day one is devoted to the major trends in tourism, business and society at the ITB Future Day. The high-ranking members of the Executive Cruise Panel will be examining the current and future fortunes of the international cruise industry. Larry Pimentel, President & CEO Azamara Club Cruises; Peter Shanks, President & Managing Director Cunard Line; Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman Costa Cruise Lines; Michael Bayley, Executive VP International Operations Royal Caribbean International and Enzo Visone, CEO, Silversea Cruises will be discussing the latest growth in demand as well as challenges in the context of environmental protection and social responsibility. Dr. Bernd Fauser, Head of Global Top Accounts Travel Google, will deliver a keynote on innovations such as the Google Hotel Finder and Google Offers, and how in the future revolutionary technologies can help to sell tours. Another speech will deal with a survey by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and on future tourism prospects in the Mediterranean, with a look towards 2030. Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO, is expected to guest on the panel. In the light of recent events the programme will also include discussion rounds on the current financial debt crisis.

Day two features the ITB Hospitality Day, which will focus on the challenges facing the hotel market. In view of the growing number of brands in this market segment one of the papers is entitled “Brands everywhere: how many brands make sense?". On day two speakers will also be talking about how booking portals are undergoing a consolidation process, the consequences for sales, the “war for talent“, and about how to interest young academics in hotel industry careers. In an age of unrest and natural disasters, another item on the agenda will include information on how hotels can protect their guests in the future. hospitalityInside.com, the interactive information network for journalists and senior executives of the international hotel industry, is the media partner of the ITB Hospitality Day

Thursday, 8 March 2012, also features the ITB CSR Day. At a keynote panel participants will be examining the issue of barrier-free travel. At the Studiosus discussion the focus will be on human rights in the tourism industry. Peter-Mario Kubsch, managing director of Studiosus Reisen; Jurgen Buchy, president of the DRV, and Klaus Brahmig, a member of German Parliament, will be discussing what can be done to safeguard human rights at travel destinations.

On Friday, 9 March 2012, the ITB Marketing and Distribution Day will be taking place. Delegates attending the events will be shown practical examples of past marketing campaigns which were not ideally worth copying, as well as those which are highly praiseworthy. Travel journalist and world traveller Doug Lansky will have thought-provoking ideas for innovative marketing strategies and measures. Dr. Daniel P. Glasner, CEO Groupon Central Europe, will be examining how Groupon can be used to market tourism products. There will also be a paper discussing the impact of user ratings on travel review portals and whether some are faked. An exclusive survey by ITB and FH Worms highlights areas in which this problem frequently occurs and how ratings are faked. Other topics include social media channels and trends such as collaborative consumption. Arne Bleckwenn, the managing director of Wimdu, will be talking about sharing one’s possessions, a growing trend, and about booking private holiday lodgings and sharing trips to destinations.

On Friday, 9 March 2012, the focus of the Innovator Panel at the ITB Mobility Day will be on sustainable fuels such as gas from wind and solar energy production. On the subject of air transport, the debate will examine the burdens resulting from the air travel levy and the proposed EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Another topic will be the European coach travel market, which is facing massive change. The opening up of the long-distance coach travel market as well as the popular new combination of air travel and local coach tours will also be on the agenda.

Parallel with the afore-mentioned events the ITB Destination Days will also be taking place for the entire duration of the ITB Berlin Convention 2012. These will be dealing mainly with the challenges facing destination management. In addition to the burgeoning Asian markets the focus will also be on types of travel with high growth potential, such as health and cultural tourism. The internationally acclaimed health expert Keith Pollard will be talking about the opportunities presented by this major tourism trend, particularly against the backdrop of demographic change. Other sessions will dwell on the Arab Spring and its impact on the travel industry as well as the expanding gay and lesbian travel market.

The newly introduced ITB Young Professional Day, which includes topics such as vocational training and university courses for tourism, the Business Travel Days and the Travel Technology Conference PhoCusWright@ITB, will round of the programme of the ITB Berlin Convention 2012.

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