Published on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel opens ITB Berlin 2018

Overcrowding, tourism sustainability and tourism's opportunity for peace on the agenda

A festive opening gala with leading figures from politics and tourism - A spectacular programme of shows by Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the partner region of ITB Berlin, kicked off the World's Leading Travel Trade Show®

Numerous celebrities attended the World's Largest Travel Trade Show, with Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel holding a jolly speech that marked her opening of ITB Berlin.

Politicians attending included Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) Dr. Michael Frenzel, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili, and Minister President of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig. Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH will represent ITB Berlin.

Dr Merkel and all of the other attending politicians stressed the necessity for tourism sustainability, the problems of tourism overcrowding and the opportunity that tourism offered the world in the losing of prejudices. Dr Merkel even quoted from Oscar Wilde - "Travel improves the mind wonderfully,and does away with all one's prejudices."

For the first time the event, which is by special invitation only, will leave a zero carbon footprint. The following will welcome the guests with speeches: The evening's hosts will be the well-known TV presenter Judith Rakers and Tobias Woitendorf, deputy managing director and marketing and communications director of the tourism association of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Taking as its slogan 'The Spirit of Nature', Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the official partner region of ITB Berlin and home state of Dr Merkel, then fascinated guests with an impressive programme of shows, where tradition will inspire modernity and vice versa.

80 performing artists from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern who are directly associated with the federal state that is Germany's most popular holiday destination will be taking part. In the 'Modern Beach Life' show a historical beach armchair, surfboards and a beach volleyball will meet each other. 'The Sound of Silence' highlighted the unique landscape of the Mecklenburg Lakeland region to the musical accompaniment of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic Ensemble. In 'Fascinating Palaces and Gardens - The Special MV Edition', models and the ballerina Lia performed with fashion collections from Designschule Schwerin.

Appearing directly from Shanghai via a Skype video link, Kristjan Järvi will direct 'Groovin' Boat Engines', a special percussion performance by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic Ensemble, and at the show's grand finale the world-renowned DJ and music producer Felix Jaehn ("Cheerleader") created a party atmosphere on stage. His songs have topped the charts in around 70 countries and he has just released his first record.

As part of its commitment to the environment the opening ceremony was carbon neutral.  This move underlines ITB Berlin's support for a sustainability project launched ten years ago in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern which offsets visitors' carbon emissions.

ITB Berlin is the World's Leading Travel Trade Show. In 2017 a total of 10,000 companies and organizations from 184 countries exhibited their products and services to around 169,000 visitors, who included 109,000 trade visitors. Parallel with the show the ITB Berlin Convention, the largest event of its kind, will be held from Wednesday, 7 to Saturday, 10 March. Admission to the ITB Berlin Convention is free for trade visitors and exhibitors.

More info:  http://www.itb-berlin.com, http://www.itb-convention.com

Valere Tjolle

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