World heading for a decade of travel and tourism – UNWTO Chief

Thursday, 10 March 2011 00:19 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The next 10 years look set to be “the decade of travel and tourism,” said UNWTO Secretary-General opening the ITB Travel Trade Show (Berlin, Germany, 9-13 March).

“The first decade of the twenty first century was a decade of extraordinary tourism growth, but also of severe shocks: a decade that began with September 11 and ended with global economic crisis,” said Taleb Rifai. “Now – with recovery underway and international tourist arrivals up by 7% in 2010 – is the time to look forward and ask what the next 10 years hold for our sector.”


Meeting at ITB against a “background of a recovering economy and significant geopolitical shifts,” the world is faced with the diverse and complex challenges of unbalanced economic growth, high unemployment, rising oil prices and the environmental imperative.

As world leaders face up to these challenges, tourism can lead “a new decade of fairer, stronger and more sustainable growth,” said Rifai, “and be one of the most effective agents of development”.

“As traditional economic sectors lose dynamism, it is clear that a second wave of service sectors, including tourism, is emerging. These are the industries that have exhibited particularly strong growth over the past few years. And these will be some of the most dynamic and economically significant industries and development agents of this decade,” he added.

Fully booked ITB Berlin opens

A FULLY booked five-day 45th ITB Berlin opened yesterday with a total of 11,163 exhibiting companies and organisations (2010: 11,127) from 188 countries (2010: 187).

Organisers said all available space has again been booked up at the world’s leading travel trade show, which is expecting some 100,000 trade visitors and 60,000 members of the general public to attend.

They will be able to obtain details about the entire range of the value-added chain in tourism in 26 halls covering an area of 160,000 square metres.

Egypt and Tunisia will also be present at ITB Berlin, to enable their own tourism industries to make their preparations following the recent political turmoil. The consequences for tourism of the political unrest in the Arab world will also be discussed at the ITB Berlin Convention.

Dr. Christian Göke, Chief Operating Officer of Messe Berlin: “Once again the demand from exhibitors has exceeded the area available at ITB Berlin. All the leading market contributors are meeting on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. The international travel industry is expecting some record figures at 2011. The driving force comes from emerging markets in Asia, Central America and Eastern Europe, whose exhibitors will be using ITB Berlin to draw attention to themselves.”