ITB Berlin Convention 2020 will focus on sustainability and “Smart Tourism for Future”

Friday, December 13, 2019


Sustainability, digitalisation, shifting customer demands and luxury travel are the key topics at the ITB Berlin Convention 2020. Groundbreaking changes lie in store for the global tourism industry. The big themes are sustainability, digitalisation, shifting customer demands and luxury travel. These will be the focus of discussions, lectures and deep dive sessions at the ITB Berlin Convention, where experts, researchers and leading representatives of the industry will present their ideas and offer inspiration to visitors for new approaches, projects and products. They will be substantiated by the latest market analyses, examples of best practices and exclusive surveys by the global tourism industry.


Sustainability, climate change and environmental protection are aspects of major concern to the tourism industry, and not just since the Fridays for Future movement began. The topics of rising CO2 levels and over-consumption of resources and their effects on eco-systems and nature dominate everyday life worldwide. Many tourism companies are focusing more and more on intelligent and sustainable systems for managing tourism flows and including them in their strategies and products. The ITB Berlin Convention has comprehensive information on the current situation, the progress being made, but also on deficits and mistakes.


Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is director (emeritus) at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the world’s leading climate scientists. In his keynote speech on ’Climate change, global warming, weather extremes’ at the ITB CSR Day on 6 March he will outline the status quo and need for action (11 -11.45 a.m., CityCube, Hall A1).


Afterwards, at a Hotseat event, Fridays for Future activists will confront tourism professionals on the subject of ‘Flight shame’ (12 -12.45 p.m.). With sustainability now such an important topic, on 4 March the ITB Responsible Destination Day will be part of the convention programme for the first time (10.45 a.m. – 5.45 p.m., CityCube, Hall A1).


In addition to ecology and sustainability, digitalisation has become one of the factors that will dominate tomorrow’s tourism industry. Customers want information about their trip everywhere and at all times. Comprehensive digitalisation can make their wishes come true. This topic runs through the entire convention – on every day of the event participants will discuss a variety of issues and present new ideas. On 4 March at the ITB Future Day, Dr. Michaela Lenzen, a science journalist and researcher, will highlight the opportunities and risks of AI, big data and robotics for both the industry and customers (2 – 2.45 p.m., CityCube, Halls A4 + A5).


At the ITB Destination Day on 6 March the focus of the panel discussion will be the development and use of algorithms to create personal travel experiences (11 – 11.45 a.m., CityCube, Hall A4 + A5). A further discussion round will highlight the opportunities for destinations created by influencers and Instagram users as well as the accompanying challenges, which are often underestimated (4 – 4.45 p.m., CityCube, Halls A4 + A5).


The events at the eTravel World will provide a practical context with even more background information on technical innovations and the digital transformation in the industry. More than 50 presentations, panel discussions and workshops featuring practitioners and visionaries from the technology sector will take place in Halls 7.1b (eTravel Lab) and 6.1 (eTravel Stage).


It is not only digitalisation that is responsible for major change in the travel sector– shifting customer demands and expectations are leading to a complete restructuring of the industry. Travellers want products that fulfil their desires in every way. Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, will present the relevant findings of the ITB Travel Monitor, the most wide-ranging travel survey worldwide, to visitors at the ITB Future Day on 4 March (3 – 3.45 p.m., CityCube, Halls A4 + A5).


Travellers want experiences and adventure. Mass-market products have lost their appeal, most recently after Thomas Cook became insolvent. At the ITB Marketing & Distribution Day on 5 March, in his keynote speech on ‘The future of travel marketing: personalisation, retailing, platforms’, Sabre CEO Sean Menke will outline and analyse the challenges ahead (11 – 11.45 a.m., CityCube, Halls A4 + A5).


Afterwards, Friedrich Joussen, CEO of TUI Group, will take questions on ’Operating in unprecedented times’ and industry developments around the world (12 -12.45 p.m., CityCube, Halls A4 + A5). Visitors can also gain an insight into the forward-looking strategies of TUI Group.


Taking part in the ‘ITB Executive Interview: Amazon + Travel’ will be David Peller, Global Head, Travel and Hospitality, Amazon Web Services (2 -2.45 p.m., City Cube, Halls A4 + A5). At the ITB Deep Dive Sessions on 6 March the SEO expert Kaspar Szymanski, formerly a member of Google’s search quality team, will explain the difference between Google’s manual and algorithmic penalties (11 -11.45 a.m., CityCube Cube Club).


Shifting customer demands, desires and expectations are also influencing booking behaviour in the luxury travel market. At the ITB New Luxury Travel Forum on Marketing & Distribution Day on 5 March a new exclusive survey by ITB Berlin and Travelzoo will provide visitors with new data on travellers’ attitudes towards sustainability in the global luxury travel market. This will also be the main topic for discussion at the ITB Hospitality Executive Panel. A panel discussion on ’The future of luxury travel in the post-hedonistic age’ will examine the dominant global trends and their impact on tomorrow’s luxury travel market (5 -5.45 p.m., CityCube Halls A4 + A5).



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