COVID-19-related travel restrictions continue to hit global tourism hard. The latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows a 70% decline in international arrivals for the first eight months of 2020.

According to the newest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international arrivals plunged 81% in July and 79% in August. These two months are traditionally the two busiest of the year. They represent the peak of the Northern Hemisphere summer season. The drop until August represents 700 million fewer arrivals compared to the same period in 2019. It translates into a loss of USD 730 billion in export revenues from international tourism. The loss is more than eight times that during the 2009 global economic and financial crisis.

“This unprecedented decline is having dramatic social and economic consequences, and puts millions of jobs and businesses at risk,” warned UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “This underlines the urgent need to restart tourism, in a timely and coordinated manner safely,” he added.

A Short-lived Recovery

All world regions recorded large declines in arrivals in the first eight months of the year. Asia and the Pacific, the first region to suffer from the impact of COVID-19, saw a 79% decrease in arrivals, followed by Africa and the Middle East (both – 69%), Europe (-68%) and the Americas (-65%).

It is in light of these developments and while COVID-19 looms that Messe Berlin has decided that ITB Berlin and ITB Berlin Convention will take place virtually. Starting from the 9th to the 12th of March 2021, it will be a purely B2B trade fair & conference. More detailed information on exhibitor packages, trade visitor tickets and sponsorship opportunities will become available on the ITB Berlin website from the 16th of November.

These changes, they say, will not water down the quality of the event. ITB Berlin will still be a top platform for networking, inspiration, knowledge exchange and new business. So come the 9th of March 2021, look forward to a thrilling virtual edition of ITB Berlin 2021 that brings the entire industry together in one (digital) place as usual.

What ITB Berlin 2021 Promises

  1. Four days of B2B throughout the four-day event, which is new.
  2. Content, Business, Networking.
  3. Customized digital exhibitor packages and sponsoring opportunities.