ITB is full once again for 2019. The number of countries and regions exhibiting at the show has dipped from 186 last year to 181, but this slight fall has been more than offset by many of the 10,000 exhibitors increasing their floor space. Among destinations which have upped their presence are Oman (named yesterday as the ITB partner country for 2020), Saudi Arabia, Dubai, India, China, Egypt and Namibia.
Also growing is eTravelWorld, the section of the show dedicated to travel technology. eTravelWorld has expanded by 20 per cent this year and is now spread across three halls. Payment technology providers in particular are exhibiting in much greater numbers.
Staying in the digital world, 2019 sees the debut of ITB VR Lab, covering innovations in virtual and augmented reality. Visitors will have the opportunity to see how virtual reality is set to transform tourism marketing. Examples include virtual travel brochures, 360-degree views of hotel rooms and virtual tours around city centres and cruise ships.
Another major growth area is medical tourism, a market now estimated to be worth $100 billion. The medical tourism pavilion has been expanded to reflect rising interest in this sector. The related topic of wellness holidays, meanwhile, features heavily in the 2019 ITB Berlin Convention, which runs throughout the show. More than 400 speakers will take to the stage during the convention, covering topics as diverse as overtourism, luxury travel and Brexit.