Will ITB Berlin 2020 take place as scheduled from March 4-8, 2020? Messe Berlin is showing tourism resilience and says: The Show must go on!
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According to a quick survey by eTurboNews , a majority of travel industry professionals that had responded had canceled or are planning to cancel their participation at ITB Berlin.
Messe Berlin, the organizer of ITB Berlin, assured eTurboNews, the show will go on. Chinese exhibitors are mostly represented by German-based staff was one of the arguments by an ITB spokesperson.
With inofficial reports coming from inside sources in China, the estimated number of sick people maybe 10 times more than what is officially recorded. It would mean more than 1/2 million people may fight coronavirus. Even the official number of 60,376 cases currently is worrisome. It is true the virus seems to be contained to China except for approximately 500 cases. Germany has 16 cases of coronavirus at this time.
In Spain, today MWC, the world’s largest mobile trade show with 100,000 visitors expected from 200 countries decided to cancel MWC scheduled in the Catalonian city from February 24-27. Spain has no case of coronavirus at this time.
Many events throughout Asia had been canceled as well, but MWC brings the wave of coronavirus fear to Europe’s MICE industry.
Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group AG has canceled plans for an annual trade event in Zurich in early March, which it uses to present new luxury-watch models.
Cancelling ITB would be a major and expensive blow to the world tourism industry, and also to the city of Berlin. Hundreds of hotels are booked, taxis, trains, and airlines, restaurants, night clubs, and attractions rely on ITB revenue. The loss for the city and for global exhibitors would be tremendous. At this time most visitors already booked and paid for their trip. According to Messe Berlin, ITB 2020 is sold out at this time.
Last year ITB had 160,000 visitors, including 113,500 trade professionals participating. ITB 2019 had more than 10,000 exhibitors from 181 countries.
“We are looking forward to welcoming you to this year’s ITB Berlin from 4 to 8 March 2020. ITB Berlin will take place as scheduled.”, is the message by Dr. Christian Goke, head of Messe Berlin.
A statement released by ITB explains:
“As you are aware, cases of the coronavirus have also been identified in Europe, including here in Germany. Indeed, the authorities in Berlin have already issued a statement to the effect that Berlin is very well prepared to deal with any cases.
The safety and health of our exhibitors, visitors, and partners is our number one priority. At present, we do not foresee any impacts for the upcoming ITB Berlin, but as a precaution, we are introducing new measures to increase the safety of all attendees at ITB Berlin
- We will have a number of rapid response English speaking medical teams and other health professionals located here onsite to deal with any situations that may arise;
- Hand disinfectors will now be provided at all entrances of the exhibition in addition to hand sanitation already installed in all toilets and washrooms at the event;
- We are increasing the frequency with which our sanitary facilities are disinfected;
- Please notice these simple, common-sense actions to avoid close contact with other people like you would do with other flu viruses.
Please be assured that we are monitoring the situation very closely and are in regular contact with the health authorities of the State of Berlin. Should there be any changes to the current status, we will take account of any recommendations from the relevant federal and state authorities, and the municipal health authorities, and implement all appropriate instructions.”
According to safertourism hand disinfectors should be installed at every booth and should be e used before and after a handshake and before and after eating food. Having disinfectors only at entrances or in the toilets may not be enough. Every visitor should sign a simple instruction sheet before admitted.
ITB is a high profile event, canceling such an event would mean huge loss and a first for ITB. German authorities hopefully will not take a risk for the 160,000 visitors streaming to the German Capital to talk travel and tourism.