ITB Berlin and Nepal

ITB Berlin, one of the premier travel trade events in the world, is celebrating 50 years of excellence this March. ITB, a comprehensive industry market place, has established itself as one of the world’s leading travel trade show by showcasing travel products and services from around the world. It is a global platform for the worldwide travel trade professionals to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business. It gives a sense of globalization of tourism market where people get to understand each other’s products well and learn the marketing gimmick.
Launched with mere nine  exhibitors from five countries in 1966, ITB Berlin received 10,096 exhibitors from 186 countries in 2015. The event that started with 580 square meters display area in the launching year, occupied 4,700 square meters in the following year. In the third exhibition in 1969, ITB created a Supervisory Board consisting high ranking members of the tourism fraternity. In 1971, for the first time the travel agencies organized their own supporting programme. ITB tripled its display area in 1972. In 1975, PATA Day was launched by the Pacific Asia Travel Association.
ITB Berlin launched the ITB Convention Mart in 1982. It was the first time that the conference organizers met with the business partners. The year 1985 marked the debut for tours for the disabled event. In 1991, ITB stood as a platform for establishing contacts and events with information on ways to starting a company, targeting trade visitors from the new federal states in the east). Similarly ITB 1994 made a new record with 5000 exhibitors from 167 countries.
The event continued to grow by expanding grounds to 160,000 square meters with over 7000 exhibitors from 188 countries in 2000. Cultural tourism was introduced in ITB Berlin in 2001. Similarly, 2006 was a debut year for book sales, ITB supplies, ITB Hospitality Day, Marketing and Distribution Day.
Similarly, ITB Asia, the world’s leading B2B show for the Asian travel market, was launched in in Singapore in 2008. Similarly, world debut for the Emirates multi-storey trade fair stand was also done in the same year. In 2010, the mega travel event launched LGBT section. Three years later, it introduced travel sales on the weekend for the general public.  Growing with every passing year, ITB 2015 had overall 175,000 attendance with 10,096 exhibitors from 186 countries, 115000 trade visitors, among which 40 percent were from abroad. First ITB MOOC (massive open online course) was also conducted in 2015 on ‘Social Media in Tourism’.
Nepal has been participating in ITB Berlin on a regular basis for the past 25 years. Before Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) came into existence, the tourism ministry itself used to lead Nepal’s participation in the event. NTB has been leading Nepali delegations to ITB Berlin ever since its formation. Nepal was among thousands of exhibitors from around 190 countries in ITB. Altogether 21 Nepali companies, including tour operators, trekking agencies, hotels and airlines, participated in the event last year.
Image Nepal Travel Magazine, which is in your hand, has also been participating in ITB Berlin on a regular basis since 1996. Last year, the magazine received International Trade Press Media Partner recognition for the event. This year also, Image Nepal is participating in ITB Berlin to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Image Nepal is the only media representative from the country participating in ITB Berlin 2016.
Commenting on Nepal’s participation in ITB Berlin, Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), said NTB has been participating in the event from its very beginning. “ITB is a very encouraging and biggest platform for destinations like Nepal in terms of communication with world trade fraternity,” he said, adding, “ITB being one of the biggest travel trade events of the world, we have observed positive outcomes. ITB being a quality event, we have seen huge impact for Nepal’s tourism.”
According to Joshi, a large contingent of Nepali tourism enterprises are participating in this event this year as well. “Nepal can benefit from ITB and events like this, especially in these times when we are facing crisis, by disseminating proper information about our country to the world,” he added.
Yeti Travels, one of the pioneering tour operators in the country, has been participating in ITB ever since the company came into operation. Manohar Rana, CEO of Yeti travels said: “Compared to the past experiences, scenario is different now. In past we had good response from the world trade fraternity in terms of business and relation, but since few years, it has only become a platform for relation build-ups.” He further added that only a few Nepali companies used to participate in the event in the initial years. “We used to have a very cordial environment while being there. But now there is huge participation. It’s good, but everyone should be concerned about quality rather than quantity. Healthy competition should be prioritized rather than only focusing in quantity,” he said, adding, “Today we have challenges in convincing our agents and partners on our products and services. We should look upon better ways of publicity and promotion.”
Rana further said events like ITB, WTM and FITUR are good in terms of building public relations.

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