It’s business as usual at ITB Berlin

The announcement of the inaugural ITB India in 2020 in Mumbai got the better of travel trade at ITB Berlin 2019. India’s strong presence of around 355 exhibitors this year reinstates the importance of international fairs and the growing importance of the European market for India.

Karishma Khanna & Harshal Ashar from Berlin

Deepak Bhatnagar, Managing Director, Aamantran Travels

I think we really need to reconsider as there are no new buyers at all.  There are not too many people this year in ITB. The show looks relatively slow this time. About 80 per cent of my meetings are with partners working with us while the rest are the new ones. My main objective is to try and meet atleast 5 to 10 per cent of new clientele every year—whether we are able to convince them to sell India is secondary. There has to be more participation of the Indian travel trade at these exhibitions to receive better footfalls at the India stand.

Debasish Bhowmick, Senior Vice President, Hotel Clarks Shiraz

We attend ITB Berlin with a lot of expectations and everyone wants to have new accounts added. It looks like the representation everywhere is quite good. But I sincerely hope to see the participation of more state tourism boards at these platforms. That is exactly how destinations get marketed — through presence at international exhibitions and conducting roadshows. These shows are always more about relationship management where you meet a lot of people under one roof. Since these marts are attended by people coming from every nook and corner of the world, platforms such as these keep one updated on trends that are prevalent at a particular time.

Ankush Nijhawan, Managing Director, Nijhawan Group

ITB was at least 3x for us this year versus 2017 & 2018 for a simple reason of our expansion in Europe. Today we are covering countries starting right from Russia to the CIS and right up to the UK. This demonstrates our commitment to this market and our preoccupation with both our supply as well as our demand in this market. The footfall was far higher this year because I think we are gaining popularity here now. The brand is being known to people so they are looking for us now rather than us standing and waiting for people to come. ITB Berlin is a fabulous show. The weather has been kind and I hope the exhibition becomes bigger next year too.

Pranav Kapadia, Founder & Director, Global Destinations

I have been attending ITB every year since the past five years and it definitely is one of the best trade shows. Being in the PR, Marketing & Representation business, ITB is a show where you meet with current partners and make new international trade friends. The show gives one a lot of insights into new destinations through different educative forums. I need to point out that that events such as these are increasingly becoming an opportunity for networking. We do have certain objectives when we come here and we work towards it. Exciting times for ITB ahead with its inaugural
show in India in 2020!

Dileep Kumar P I, General Manager, The Leela Raviz Kovalam

Proper planning and right appointments are necessary to meet potential FTOs. The speed networking sessions are extremely useful. It totally depends on us on how to leverage the strength of ITB. It is like an elephant, so you have to train them how to lift the timber otherwise you will just stand. ITB has grown significantly over the years with technological advancements and several workshops. You can really listen to what is happening around the world. A lot of focus is laid on experience-based travel. We should have new stories to tell and differentiate our products from others. As a country, we have everything for every type of traveller.

Gaurav Bhatnagar, Co-Founder, TBO Group

ITB Berlin is a golden opportunity for us to meet our customers in the European market. Apart from that, several innovative companies mark their presence here to represent their solutions, thereby giving us an opportunity to explore the trends in travel technology. The meetings have been more productive this year. A lot of new exhibitors showcased their products at the exhibition. We are constantly adding new partners, new suppliers, new hotels as well as new customers, especially because Europe is a new market for us. It is a good opportunity to meet all of them at one place.

Satyajit Desai, Head—Inbound & Domestic, Kesari Tours

This year ITB Berlin took place just after the tragic Pulwama attack. Indian tourism bears the brunt of such attacks or unfortunate incidents in the country. Foreign tour operators who visited us on the first day enquired about safety and security concerns in India. All Indian exhibitors and supporting teams joined hands in showing solidarity in these challenging times and immediately spread a word of assurance whilst also addressing the local media. We recorded almost 37 per cent more visitors at our Kesari inbound stall as we launched new products and offbeat destinations for discerning travellers.

Gaurav Chiripal, Chief Executive Officer, Quadlabs

The show started off at a slow pace but we were successful in concluding our meetings during the show. New players in the market attract us towards this ITB Berlin but it’s more about meeting our existing partners who we get to meet here every year. Getting the right audience at such shows is extremely important. That is what is missing currently as a result of which it has become monotonous. A travel agent would find this platform a perfect opportunity but somebody who specialises in technology is looking for larger customers or customers who are real in the market to explore the field.

Karthik Venkatraman, Senior Vice President, Ezeego1  

The experience this year at ITB has been phenomenal. We received an excellent response for our content solutions and platform. We got customers and prospects from across the globe that was not just restricted to Europe. A lot of existing as well as new leads have been generated at this edition of ITB Berlin. We now aim to convert all the new prospects into good business from existing as well as new clients. Not only our current clients but also new prospects visiting us especially from APAC markets has been very encouraging.

Naresh Arora, Founder & CEO, Trulyy India Hotels & Resorts

The exhibition helps us to open doors to build new relationships and helps us to work on relationships that are already established. We had a good number of meetings at this year’s edition of ITB Berlin as well as interacted with a few new agents. In fact, they are coming through principal agents from Delhi only. We are here for creating awareness about our properties. One has to know the fair well to make the most of it. Next year I am planning to come up with my own stall. It’s good to work under the Rajasthan banner but you don’t really get an extensive exposure. ITB is one of the most important travel trde shows that we look forward to participating in every year.

Alexander Kharabadze, Director of Sales & Marketing, JA Manafaru

As a first-time attendee to ITB Berlin, I found the travel trade show well organised. Everything was thought of and prepared for which makes attendees at the event be at ease and be able to explore and experience the different showcases the event had to offer. As an exhibitor, I was glad to present JA Manafaru Maldives to not just the people of Berlin but to people from across the world. The exhibition also gave me an opportunity to meet with our existing partners with whom we have longstanding and fruitful relationships. I also had the chance to meet with new partners with whom I hope I can establish mutually beneficial partnerships in the future.

Savio Pereira, Director, Benchmark Travel Representations

ITB is without doubt the largest and most relevant international travel trade event. The main objective for me is always to meet with my existing partners and network with potential new ones not only from Germany and Western Europe but also for establishing relationships from eastern, Central European and other emerging markets. To that end, ITB this year delivered splendidly. I also believe there was wider participation from international companies this year, giving access to a larger audience and therefore justifying
our attendance.

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