The coronavirus pandemic has plunged the global tourism industry into a deep existential crisis. The entire industry is undergoing fundamental change, while the ITB Berlin NOW Convention offers orientation in these difficult times. All sessions will take place from 9 to 12 March 2021, with two parallel video streams broadcasting a full programme of events on the virtual ITB Berlin NOW platform. As always, the ITB Berlin NOW Convention will deal with highly topical issues. Taking as its slogan’Rethink, Regenerate, Restart – Tourism for a Better Normal’, the international travel industry’s largest think tank will present innovative strategies and fascinating business models again this year. During the four-day event, visionary pioneers and leading figures, including more than 25 CEOs from around the world, will be having their say and sharing their ideas on the future of the international tourism industry. Exhibitors and trade visitors can already register for ITB Berlin NOW here.
On day one, 9 March 2021, the focus of the ITB Berlin Future Track will be entirely on tomorrow. In interviews, leading CEOs representing the aviation, hotel and cruise industries will offer their views on future developments in the travel market. Kicking off events, three recognised industry experts – Friedrich Joussen, CEO of TUI Group, Soren Hartmann, CEO of DER Touristik Group, and Eddie Wilson, CEO of Ryanair – will talk about the future of Europe’s tourism and aviation industries. Afterwards, in ITB CEO Interviews, Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, Tim Clark, president of Emirates, and Ben Smith, CEO of Air France KLM, will give their views on the future of the global aviation industry. Mark S. Hoplamazian, CEO of Hyatt, Patrick Mendes, CCO of Accor, and Marcus Bernhardt, CEO of Deutsche Hospitality, will look at tomorrow’s hotel industry. In other interviews, Pierfrancesco Vago, chairman of MSC Cruises, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO of Celebrity Cruises, and Wybcke Meier, CEO of bUI Cruises, will outline what plans the global cruise industry has for the future. In an interview with Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, the focus will be on the future of mobility. Claudia Cramer, head of Market Research Statista, will provide an overview of the global travel market based on current data. Stephan Kaufer, CEO of TripAdvisor, will share valuable information on innovations and travel trends with the participants in the virtual ITB Berlin NOW Convention. Attendees can find out more about the industry’s third-largest market and about Technology, Tours & Activities at the TTA Forum, where on 9 March, together with companies marketing attractions and sightseeing, providers including Bookingkit, Tourradar and Tiqets will present and discuss strategies and new ideas on how the market can recover. Lukas Hempel, CEO of Bookingkit, will talk about the future role of smart booking systems.
Taking place at the same time, on day one of the convention at 1 p.m., will be the Responsible Tourism Track, where the focus will be on climate change, indigenous tourism, sustainable recovery strategies and female empowerment. There will also be discussions on racism and gender inequality in tourism with a view to finding solutions. ITB Berlin will have information on the launch of this year’s Social Entrepreneurship competition. The presentation of the IIPT Celebrating Her Award 2021 will be taking place, as will that of the TO DO Award by Studienkreis fur Tourismus und Entwicklung e.V., which ITB Berlin has been supporting for many years.
Recognised experts present new ideas and practical examples
At the ITB Marketing and Distribution Track on 10 March 2021, topics will include digitalisation, the future of travel sales and the latest developments in the luxury tourism market. David Peller, global head of Travel and Hospitality, Amazon Web Services, will present fascinating innovations in marketing and travel sales. The ITB CEO Interviews with Glenn Fogel, president and CEO of Booking Holdings Inc., Damian Scokin, CEO of Despegar, and Deep Kalra, founder and group executive chairman of MakeMyTrip, will offer valuable insights into the future of travel sales. In an exclusive global survey, the ITB Berlin NOW Convention and Travelzoo examined customer confidence trends. Cat Jordan, communications director of Travelzoo, will present the findings.
The HTI Roundtable will gather global experts on medical tourism to discuss the future of this sector. Following the presentation of the HTI Medical Tourism Destination Awards and a lecture by the European Spas Association on the prospects for medical tourism while taking post-Covid recovery concepts into account, international trend analyses will round off the programme of events.
At the ITB Destination Track on 11 March the focus will be on how destinations can recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and restart their economy. Regional tourism managers will be able to gain valuable tips, including from the convention co-host WTCF, on how the badly hit urban tourism market can start up again. At a masterclass presented by Google, participants can get valuable information on destination marketing and the changing face of tourism from Iva Kutle Skrlec, global destination marketing partner at Google, and Patrick Haller, industry manager at Google.
At the eTravel DATA TALKS on 11 March, the impact on the travel industry by the current surge in digitalisation will be examined – players including Amadeus, Sixt, BD4Travel and Shiji will debate the opportunities and risks and provide insights into the latest trends. On the same day the LGBT+ travel market will be represented with a seminar on the LGBT+ Global Leadership Summit. Numerous lectures and discussion forums will discuss how resilient this market is and when it can expect to recover from the current crisis.
On 12 March on CSR Day at the ITB Sustainability Track, sustainability and climate protection will be on the agenda again. Madhu Rajesh, CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and Inge Huijbrechts, global senior vice president of Responsible Business and Safety & Security, Radisson Hotel Group, will provide an insight into the climate protection measures of the hospitality industry. At an ITB Deep Dive session, Caroline Bremner, head of Travel Research Euromonitor, will unveil Euromonitor’s new Sustainable Travel Index. In his keynote speech, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, emeritus director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), will outline the current situation regarding climate change. In the keynote speech to follow, Roger Dow, president and CEO of US Travel, will talk about the new US administration’s position on climate change.
On 12 March, at a panel discussion of the eTravel Hospitality Track, Ben Jost, CEO of TrustYou, and Georg Ziegler, director of Brand Content HolidayCheck, will examine the future role of customer confidence in the hotel industry.