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ITB Berlin Convention: Well prepared for turbulent times

At the ITB Berlin Convention, which takes place from 8 to 11 March 2017, one of the key up-to-the-minute topics will be ’Disruptive Travel: The End of the World as We Know It’.
Leading international experts will show how tourism professionals are successfully taking on controversial issues and current challenges such as geopolitical crises, travel safety risks and the use of artificial intelligence.


On 8 March 2017 the ITB Future Day will kick off events together with this year’s Convention & Culture Partner Slovenia. The programme includes lectures on a new age defined by a lack of order and tourism in times of global political uncertainty. An exclusive global market survey conducted by Travelzoo and commissioned by ITB Berlin will provide information on how crises and disasters influence tourists.

Last year’s key topic on the service provided by humanoid robots will be continued in 2017 with a focus on artificial intelligence. At the ITB Future Day the following topics will be discussed: what is the status quo and what prospects can artificial intelligence offer for business, society and humankind? On 9 March 2017 the ITB Hospitality Day will also have information on artificial intelligence in the service sector. For example, robots mix cocktails at the bar on board the Royal Caribbean cruise liner Harmony of the Seas, and they also welcome guests at InterContinental hotels.

On Friday, 10 March 2017 the ITB Marketing and Distribution Day will look at how artificial intelligence can be usefully employed in tourism. A panel discussion under the heading of The Next Big Thing: Artificial Intelligence – Disrupting Travel Choices and Bookings?’ will highlight the impact of artificial intelligence on business processes and report on experiences with chatbots, virtual assistants and big data analysis etc.

At the ITB Destination Days, which will take place on every day of the Convention, the focus will be on Botswana, the partner country of ITB Berlin. On 8 March 2017, day one of the ITB Destination Days, following an introduction the Botswana Forum will examine the country’s prospects for tourism.

On 9 March 2017, day two of this event, four panel discussions at the convention will examine the highly topical issue of ’Safety & Security’. At a keynote session under the heading of ’The Status Quo and the Future of Security Policy and Technology’ experts will provide information on regions where risk levels are especially high, on suitable strategic and technical measures for improving safety and security, and offer advice for destinations on how to increase safety for travellers. Afterwards, a panel discussion under the heading of ’The New Order of Tourism Destinations’ will confront the pressing issue of changing travel patterns and what solutions can be found in order to stabilise tourism demand. On Friday, 10 March 2017, the last day of the event will address controversial topics, for example ’Overtourism at Destinations’. Pioneers in this field from affected tourism regions will reveal their successful strategies and present examples of best practices ranging from hi-tech solutions to limiting tourism numbers.

On Friday, 10 March 2017 the ITB CSR Day will examine important aspects of sustainable tourism. The sessions will discuss ’Cimate – Customers – Communication: How Can Sustainable Travel be Marketed Sucessfully?’ and ’Sustainable Tourism Destinations – The Status Quo and Lessons Learned’, topics that form part of a practical handbook introduced by the German Tourism Association (DTV) with the support of the Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMUB) and the Federal Nature Conservation Bureau (BfN).

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