ITB Berlin 2020, the world’s leading travel trade show scheduled to run between the 4th and 8th March 2020 has been cancelled due to the increasing spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Economics and organisers decided on this evening.
The local health authority of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in Berlin had demanded increases to the requirements for the event to take place early this evening. Among other things, the authority would of required every trade fair participant to prove to organisers Messe Berlin that they do not come from the defined risk areas or have had contact with a person from the risk areas. Messe Berlin is unable to implement all these requirements, additionally before a decision had been made, several anchor exhibitors had decided to pull out and understandably the organisers had no option but to cancel.
Messe Berlin has been pointing out for weeks that the decision to hold or cancel major events can only be made on the basis of the recommendation or instruction of the relevant authorities. Only these authorities have all the necessary information and expertise to draw the right conclusions.
Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH, said: “With more than 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries, ITB Berlin is of outstanding importance for the global tourism industry. We take our responsibility for the health and safety of our guests, exhibitors and employees very seriously. It is with a heavy heart that we look forward to the cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020, which has now become necessary“.
The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Berlin Wolf-Dieter Wolf explains: “In their now 54-year history ITB Berlin and Messe Berlin have never before experienced a comparable situation. We would like to thank all exhibitors and partners around the world who have supported ITB Berlin in the past days and weeks, and look forward to continuing our trusting cooperation with our partners in the market“.
There would of been a large presence of Irish Travel technology startups on the ground and exhibiting at ITB Berlin alongside and supported by Enterprise Ireland. TravelTech is a super strong and fast growing space for the Irish technology ecosystem and it is a shame that many of these startups are now unable to use the event as a platform to grow, so I hope that many of their scheduled meetings can be quickly altered to take place digitally instead.
ITB being cancelled is yet another blow to the travel industry with weeks of negative headlines whipping up panic and frenzy around Coronavirus. Let’s hope with the arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere the scaremongering and damaging impacts start to reduce.
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