The largest travel exhibition in the world, ITB Berlin, opened today in Germany with a total of 11,163 exhibiting companies and organizations from 188 countries presenting their products and the latest travel trends. All available space at this 45th edition of ITB was once again fully booked up at the world’s leading travel trade show, which is expecting some 100,000 trade visitors and 60,000 members of the general public to attend. Visitors will be able to obtain details about the entire range of the value-added chain in tourism in 26 halls covering an area of 160,000 square meters.
Literally every country in the world is present, including Libya, to showcase their destination, hotels, airlines, and new technical development in the global tourism industry. For another year, however, one US state and tourism-driven destination was missing: Hawaii. After a walk-through of the venue, we did eventually find the Kona Village stand and asked them what about their first impression of ITB. They said they were very happy with the results from the first day.
There were other Pacific island destinations exhibiting in full force, including Samoa, Fiji, the Cook Islands, and Tahiti. The Indian Ocean’s Seychelles stand is hosting 72 exhibitors from that small island nation. The taste of Aloha was present though at ITB, in the form of Hainan, China, who likes to call itself, China’s Hawaii, just not the real Hawaii.
Alongside the opportunity to showcase one’s destination, ITB Berlin offers learning and training opportunities as well, and ITB’s convention is now firmly established as the leading think tank for the international travel industry. Hawaii will not be part of or privy to this think tank of valuable information and exchange.
Although Hawaii’s tourism roots are long and deep, over and over, this tourist state continually doesn’t show its presence at international tourism events where it can not only gain knowledge and contacts, but provide information and ideas as well to the global tourism community.