ITB: New horizons

Exclusive Interview: Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice President Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin

As ITB China grows in importance, we asked Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice President Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin what he sees as being the key reasons behind the show’s success.

This ongoing boom in Asian outbound travel, especially by the Chinese, is remarkable. Moreover, we can observe an important long- term trend. Asians are starting to go on fewer sightseeing trips taking in several countries. Instead, many of them dream of relaxing on sun and beach holidays. In other words, they are gradually becoming ‘typical holidaymakers’ like in Western countries. We are extremely delighted by the positive feedback on our new show from all over the world. It gives us great pleasure to see ITB China broadening its influence and scope with the participation of new exhibitors and partners this year, especially with the arrival of Italy as Official Partner Destination. The third edition has been characterised by three major topics: high-value innovations, a strong focus on content and the commitment and insights of industry partners of the ITB China Buyers Circle – a new nationwide community for China’s travel buyers.

ALMOST A THIRD OF ALL BUYERS AT ITB INDIA ARE EXPECTED TO HAVE A PURCHASING POWER OF MORE THAN US$1M

Messe Berlin has partnered with the World Travel Alliance in China. Why was this important?

The partnership will help strengthen the communication between the global and Chinese travel industry. Through deep cooperation and the support and commitment of the WTA, sustainable tourism growth from China can be fostered. The idea is that by combining competencies, with our expertise and experience, it will be possible to build a more competitive and responsible tourism industry for the benefit of all.

You have announced a new show in April 2020 in Mumbai, India, which was a decision that had been made very quickly. Can you please tell us more about this?

The idea had been there for a while, because it’s such a big market. In Asia, following the success of our show in China, this is the only big source market we had not been covering directly. Bringing the buyers to Singapore or Shanghai was not working for several reasons, and once again, the natural law of the trade show business has con rmed itself: the marketplace has to take place where the demand is. So, if the demand is in China, you have to be in China. If the demand is in India, you have to be in India. I am happy about the dynamics we are producing at the moment and the shows we are doing abroad. The big challenge that remains is the digital challenge – how well we will do with ITB.com.

Can you tell us more about the reasoning behind ITB India?

One of the fastest-growing major economies and with the second- largest population in the world, India has vast potential for both inbound and outbound travel. The Indian travel industry is expected to be valued at US$56bn by 2020 with UNWTO, the World Tourism Organization, predicting that there will 50 million outbound travellers by then. ITB India represents a major opportunity for National Tourism Organisations (NTOs), travel, and hospitality companies to be part of this dramatically expanding market opportunity. From a global and regional perspective, India is a vast source market for the travel industry with a huge growth potential. Of the buyers at ITB India, 50% are expected to focus on leisure travel, with MICE and corporate travel buyers making up the remainder with 25% respectively. Almost a third of all buyers at ITB India are expected to have a purchasing power of more than US$1m. C-suite level and key decision makers are expected to make the bulk of buyers present at ITB India with 70% of them from this segment.


Photo: Dr Martin Buck, Senior Vice President Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin