eTurboNews asked travel industry readers about the upcoming ITB trade show in Berlin scheduled for March 4-8 and to take place during a global scare of an epidemic.
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ITB and German authorities are convinced it will be safe to travel to Berlin and do business at ITB Berlin 2020. Almost 77% of readers responding disagree.
The Berlin Senate, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Germany did not respond to phone calls and emails.
ITB responded promptly saying everything is done for ITB to be a safe and welcoming sold-out event.
Here are non-edited comments received by eTurboNews by travel industry leaders from around the world that registered for ITB Berlin 2020:
Kayle Ashton, Marriott Hotel Group, UK: It’s not the safety of Germany against the virus, but the fact that thousands of people with varying degrees of personal hygiene and health issues will be gathered together. I think it’s a better time to postpone. The industry is not rigid so they can show how they can adapt to the changes by re-organizing it.
Alice, Sydney Australia: Given the spread of the virus in new countries and them not able to find patient zero in Iran, Italy and Korea, it’s better to postpone / cancel for now because we don’t know how this virus really transmit and it will be a gathering of masses from all across the globe. It’s not about showing that we are not scared of the virus having the show to go on, but just that we exercise common sense and money is not everything in our business. Our business is about caring for people.
Indonesia: Voting to not attend is above 50% or at least 40%
as a visitor is not recommended to attend. e will also lose our chance to meet business partners
U.K.: Coronavirus will enter many new countries and flush their GDP through forced lockdowns. This will be declared a pandemic in 3-4 days by WHO. They may have to forcefully cancel or postpone the event.
UK: Scared of contracting coronavirus. Too many people from different countries with no way of containing the spread of the virus if someone was contaminated.
Thailand: This is not just about the tourism business. It’s about a responsibility to global citizens.
Glenn Jackson, Canberra Australia: ITB Berlin organizers are extremely irresponsible in continuing to insist that the show will go ahead. It’s not too late to cancel but the responsible thing would be to do so ASAP.
The event should have been canceled weeks earlier and, in the face of clear evidence of asymptomatic transmission, this is a risk that can and must be avoided. They are putting the German population and the German health system at totally unnecessary risk. They are putting the people and health systems of the rest of the world at risk. Remember that the health systems of most of the world are not as well equipped as Germany to handle an epidemic of this nature. Why gamble with this? They are setting an extremely bad example for the rest of the world, which tarnishes the ITB and German brands.
The RKI has not made clear the risks the event poses (the elevated to risks to the public from a close gathering of so many people from all over the world under conditions of proven asymptomatic transmission). Yet they have allowed their press release to be used by the ITB organizers in a very misleading way. Perhaps they are not aware of this.
Also, the AUMA appears to be putting business interests ahead of the welfare of especially the poor, the unwell and the elderly people of all countries of the world. I hope a grown-up will put a stop to this mess.
Andi Schwarz, Germany: Not feeling comfortable at all.
Maybe during the fair nothing happens, but the 2 weeks after, as it needs time to come out ( incubation).
Munich, Germany: To visit the ITB will help to share the virus over the world and bring it to the touristic destinations.My concern about Africa. They will die in silence.
Carol from Krakow, Poland: It is not very smart to put money over people’s health and life. Some of the visitors simply have to go on their boss’ demand. What if there will be only one person infected? The virus surely will spread onto other people in a matter of minutes. Disinfection is NOT enough. We know nothing about viruses, about the cure, why risk it all?
Tessa from Germany: It is a threat to our partners and friend originating from countries with less modern health care. We should not put this threat on them, Please cancel the Show!
Munich, Germany: It seems that the media hype is also affecting events like ITB; sad to see how little people understand. Winter 2017/18 we had 25.000 people dying in Germany from ordinary flu – no one was even thinking to cancel events like ITB etc. The mortality rate is very similar.
Palma de Mallorca, Spain: The risk is too high. If even 1 case is detected among 100 000 people visiting, everyone would need to quarantine in Germany. It is just not viable and the cost would be enormous.
Hannover, Germany: Messe Berlin does not follow the suggestions of BERLIN HOSPITAL CHARITÉ, the hospitals in Berlin can not serve more than 40-60 patients for isolation rooms… they are warning. Italy separated several towns totally! Austria stopped ALL train connection to Italy! GERMANS ARE SLEEPING.
Hotels had charged money in advance and give no return if ITB canceled ! !
If attending, masks and gloves should be worn, and a 99% bugs disinfection and destroying fluid, as used in airports in Africa and Germany already by travelers!!!
NO HAND SHAKES, NO HUGS, NO KISSES, NO SNEEZING, NO COUGH, NO USE OF RESTROOMS
China, S Korea, Italy, and others from Asia in halls 25/26 may not see many visitors!!! ITB could be the curse for the GLOBE killing ALL TOURISM.
No visiting of Restaurants, more safe with packed frozen food from supermarkets or cans.
Saurabh D, India: Chinese travelers are not major attendees at ITB. There are several restrictions already in place worldwide to isolate visitors from areas affected by Coronavirus. One should always take abundant precautions, and if an attendee is from the high-risk groups, they should perhaps avoid traveling (for that matter, they should not even visit a supermarket, railway station, cinema, airport etc.). But if you are not from a high-risk group, and if you regularly visit crowded public places, you will not be at a greater risk at ITB.
Maldives: With many exhibitors and participants canceling their participation at ITB 2020, the effectiveness of the Trade Fair will be significantly reduced.
Jamaica: I believe it is too dangerous to be at ITB or any large gathering for that matter at this time.
London, UK: I think we need to watch what happens in Italy and South Korea very carefully this week as there could be real risks for people but also the wider world if someone attends with it and could infect anyone from anywhere and it spread globally. That’s a big responsibility for the event to have.
This has become a serious consideration now. Previously I felt ITB was right to continue- now I’m not so sure.
Malaysia: ITB should NOT be canceled. The main reason is that the world economy cannot be stopped. Stopping travel to unaffected countries is not a solution and could only mean travel businesses could become collateral damage in the fight against coronavirus. The World Health Organization always said, “do not stop travel and commerce.”, even after WHO declared a global epidemic emergency. It is not a pandemic yet as WHO felt that it is still in a Control Situation.