Global tourism bosses express optimism for post-pandemic rebound
Updated 01:40, 10-Mar-2023
Trent Murray in Berlin

More than 5,500 exhibitors from 161 different countries have descended on Berlin for the world's largest travel trade show.

The International Tourism Trade Fair (ITB) is being held in person for the first time since 2019, after Covid-19 pandemic restrictions caused the event to be cancelled and most tourism ground to a halt.

Many across the travel sector have expressed optimism that the industry could be on the cusp of a multibillion dollar revival, in large part due to what's being called 'revenge travel' - a term that means traveling as a way of making up for lost time during the pandemic.

Vietnam Airlines' Sales and Marketing Director for Germany, Nguyen Thanh Tung, told CGTN Europe the carrier was confident.

"We are ready to come back and to receive customers and promote our services, especially in Germany. The German people like to travel to Vietnam a lot and all around to North East Asia. We have a lot competition with Chinese airlines, However, I think that in future we can get greater frequency and bring them to Vietnam Airlines in Europe," he said.

Visitors at the International Tourism Trade Fair in Berlin. /John MacDougall/AFP
Visitors at the International Tourism Trade Fair in Berlin. /John MacDougall/AFP

Visitors at the International Tourism Trade Fair in Berlin. /John MacDougall/AFP

Countries coming together

At the event's opening press conference, President of the German Travel Industry Norbert Fiebig, said tourism and foreign visitors can bridge international divides.

According to Fiebig: "Travel is the unifying bond between nations. Travel is mobility initiated by the longing for far away places."

Innovation and growth

Travel represents big business for many countries - the market size of the global tourism industry, measured in revenue, is expected to hit 2.3 trillion dollars in 2023 and employ upwards of 300 million people.

The value of the industry also means it's ripe for innovation and experimenting with new technologies.

German start-up Spherie says its VR technology could revolutionize the way tourists can take in the sights of popular landmarks - giving virtual visitors a bird's eye view without leaving the ground, or in some cases, their own home.

"We fly above a destination and capture it in all its beauty and make it available afterwards virtually. We capture the reality and make it accessible through VR technology," Nicolas Chibac, Spherie's co-founder and CEO told CGTN.

"We've filmed all over Germany and now we've just done Namibia. It's not just about Namibia, it's a lot about the wildlife and nature, African animals, like a virtual safari. Our plans are to capture the world and make it accessible," he added.

ITB Berlin ran from March 7-9, with additional conferences planned later in the year, including the return of an in-person gathering for Shanghai's ITB China event which runs September 12-14 .

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