The most important event for the international travel industry worldwide is the annual ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) in Berlin’s convention centre. It is not just for people in the business, but for anyone who wants a quick and convenient taste of other lands, cultures, and adventures... and kilos of brochures and information with which to plan a dream vacation. The fair attracts visitors from all corners of the world: some 170,000 people attend every year, over half of them trade visitors. They have plenty to look at: 10,000 exhibitors from 180 countries and territories worldwide try to catch their attention. These figures make Berlin's travel fair the largest in the world. The official partner for 2018 was Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - for 2019 it will be Malaysia Tourism.
The ITB first started in 1966, with nine exhibitors (of which Iraq was one) and 250 trade visitors. Hungary and Romania joined ITB in 1968 during the temporary relaxation of travel restrictions in Eastern Europe. By 1980 the ITB had outclassed all other tourism fairs. Countries and tour operators hand out more than paper - they entertain, host shows and present food and drinks. The general public visiting the fair is ever more geared towards getting information about far-flung destinations, and in themed halls covering ecological travel, cruises, wellness, gay & lesbian travel, youth, adventure and more.
ITB International Tourism Fair, 6-10 March 2019, March 10-11 for the general public. Messegelände (Convention Center), Messedamm 22, S Messe Nord or Messe Süd, www.itb-berlin.com. Open 10:00-18:00. Admission €15, trade visitors €62 (online €12/42).