ITB Berlin 2023: the return of one of the most important tourism fairs
From March 7th to March 9th, takes place the ITB Berlin 2023, one of the most important tourism convention in Europe. What's coming?
When Norberto Sica, Founder and Editor- in-Chief of CONOCEDORES.com®, encouraged me to travel to Germany to attend ITB Berlin 2023, I was excited. I miss the stimulus and the camaraderie of these trade events since the two years of COVID lockdowns.
This trip means our travel trade industry professionals, innovators, and knowledge leaders, who gather in ITB annually can meet and network in person again after an absence of more than two years.
Prior to the trip, I started interviewing avid travelers and expatriates based in Asia, to gain further insights into how their travel landscape has changed since international borders opened, post-pandemic in early 2022.
In my conversation with a Tokyo-based international business consultant, Serge Edongo I note some of his observations, from his vantage point in Tokyo, Japan.
Since the post-pandemic reopening of the travel and tourism industry, Asian airlines and low-cost budget carriers report a marked increase in bookings.
Quoting the publication “Aviation Today “ commercial air traffic is on track to meet pre-pandemic levels.
There was a 70% increase in commercial air travel in 2022, driven by increased passenger demand in North America and Europe (quoted Angela Myers-2023 in Aviation Today).
From conversations with Asian industry stakeholders, the travel demand from both domestic and international markets is almost back to pre-pandemic levels despite increasing higher-cost airfares and accommodations.
After the prolonged Covid lockdowns, accommodation suppliers are trying to cope with the pent-up demand in both domestic and international markets.
Asia, a very diverse market of travelers from a rising middle class and higher disposable income are looking to travel to exotic destinations and off the beaten tracks in search of unique experiences.
Moreover, wealthy Asian travelers are willing to pay a premium for accommodation, travel experiences and luxury goods.
Some tourism operators are struggling to satisfy the new demands of travelers, ie. high standards of hygiene and sanitation in the post-Covid era, cultural experiences and affordable rooms.
Also, Serge commented on a trend of three-generation Asian travelers making up for the lost time during the covid lockdowns. Serge added that his son, Umberto, who boarded a flight from Sao Paulo to Tokyo, noticed there were more young Argentinians, Europeans and Columbians in Economy class.
On his tours in Japan, they both encountered many Spanish speaking tourists on the tour coaches. This is a good indication that travelers from Latin America are seeking new destinations and long haul travel.
Interviewee David Sing, a young Malaysian avid traveler, added that Millennials travelers are leading the travel industry in 2023. He commented that young travelers have different needs, i.e. seek to cover many destinations in short periods to capture photo visuals for their Social Media postings.
Having read the programs that ITB Berlin 2023 has organized, we notice a lot of focus on travel technologies and innovations i.e. hotel mapping, Artificial Intelligence, analyzing data performances, updating hotel inventories and new travel products from innovative exhibitors.
Barring a new pandemic in the future, most stakeholders are optimistic about a rebound in the industry. So we are on a countdown to our Journey of Learning and Adventure to ITB Messe Berlin 2023.
[Assisted by Darryl Kee Research & Tech Assistant]