How will exhibitors receive compensation by ITB Berlin, Messe Berlin for the ITB fair cancellation? Is there any compensation for visitors that bought non-refundable tickets and hotels?
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10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries invested substantially to showcase their travel products at ITB Berlin. Some planned additional events on the sideline, like Nepal Night, Uganda Night, Coronavirus Seminar and lots more.
ITB waited until after business hours Friday to cancel the event, when eTurboNews already reported on February 11 ITB may be forced to cancel. On February 24 this publication predicted a cancellation. This was strongly opposed by f ITB Berlin/ Exhibition Director at Messe Berlin, David Ruetz.
Instead of confronting eTurboNews, Mr. Ruetz went to numerous competing travel industry publications, discrediting eTN’s findings, but never confronted eTurboNews directly.
eTurboNews also suggested the terms of the contract ITB signed with exhibitors would call for a full refund of the amounts paid for stand rent.
17 days after the first eTN report ITB was officially canceled and no word about reimbursements was mentioned. Waiting until the last minute added enormous costs and inconvenience to every exhibitor and visitors. Many of them bought nonrefundable flight tickets or had already left for Berlin.
Many had non-refundable hotel arrangements and hired additional staff, shipped give-away material, printed brochures – the list goes on.
ITB had a weekend to come up with a response on how refunds and compensation will be handled.
The response an ITB spokesperson gave to the DPA news-agency is alarming for many exhibitors who put in the most substantial budget in a year to be at ITB.
The response by ITB: We have to look at each and every case and evaluate it. Such contracts are based on civil law between private businesses and may have different clauses.
Terms and conditions between exhibitors and ITB in Paragraph 9 states that in case the event is canceled for a reason beyond control by ITB Berlin or the exhibitor a full refund for the stand rent is due. However, the exhibition company may charge for work ordered in addition to the rent. It may be obvious such fees could be for mandatory contractors to set up and provide displays, catering and other often high priced items.
It also means ITB has no intention reimbursing for non-refundable airline and hotel costs for both exhibitors and visitors.
It’s expected attorneys in Berlin will be busy to argue both sides and include arguments of actions that could have prevented losses. The story will continue.