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Booking Levels High at The ITB Berlin 2008

The outlook is exceptionally good for the ITB Berlin as final preparations are under way for an event which between 5 and 9 March will be taking place for the 42nd time. The focus will be on the Dominican Republic, the partner country at this year's ITB, which is organising the opening ceremonies and will have exciting products and services to show both trade visitors and the general public.

Overall around 11,000 companies from 180 countries and territories will be exhibiting at the ITB Berlin 2008, and more than 100, 000 trade visitors are expected to attend. Last year close to 70,000 members of the general public thronged the 26 halls on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.

This year exhibitors showing everything the tourism industry has to offer will again be occupying a display area around 160,000 square metres in size. They will have products, services and information about eco-friendly travel on display in Hall 4.1, for example at the stands of the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the Tourism Watch, or Atmosfair at the Anders Reisen forum.

Holiday and business travel will again be a growth market in 2008, and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) anticipates a four to five per cent increase in growth over last year. The markets in Asia, the Arab countries and several Eastern European states are particularly dynamic. A substantial number of exhibitors from these regions will be present at the ITB Berlin this year. Thus Thailand, Vietnam and Macau will be occupying significantly larger stands (all exhibitors in Hall 26).

Langham Hotels, Ascott International Hotels and Ermitage Islands from Asia will also be represented in the same hall. For several years the Arab nations, in particular the United Arab Emirates, have been experiencing a genuine boom in demand. At the ITB Berlin 2008 the display area of Emirate Airlines will be double in size. They will be bringing with them a spectacular new stand in the shape of the globe that is three storeys high. The size of the Abu Dhabi stand will be 25 per cent bigger (all exhibitors in Hall 22b). Egypt will also be setting up a larger stand (Hall 21b).

Eastern European states such as Bulgaria, Armenia and Azerbaijan will also be prominently represented this year (all exhibitors in Hall 3.2). For the first time Montenegro will be occupying a display area extending over two storeys (Hall 1.2), and ever since 2005 the stand of the Czech Republic (Hall 11.1) has been getting larger, and that includes 2008. Russia is advancing into the market and will be occupying a 40 per cent larger display area in Hall 2.1.

The level of international participation in the Travel Technology section is higher than ever. Exhibitors from eleven countries, including several from India, will be offering a global overview of the market. Among those new to the fair are the booking portal venere.com from Italy and the hotel booking engine hotelbeds.com from Spain.

Due to high demand by the hotel trade Hall 9 is already booked up. Dorint Hotels & Resorts are returning, and will now be occupying their own stand. Sensible Hospitality and Arosa will be represented for the first time. Steigenberger and Concorde will have larger stands, having been represented under the Louvre name last year.



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