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India shines at International Tourism Bourse in Berlin


March 15, 2007: The 2007 edition of the International Tourism Bourse (ITB), the world’s largest travel fair, attracted record number of visitors and sales amounting to billions of euros. The ITB concluded in Berlin, Germany, on March 11, 2007.

About 177,000 people attended the five-day display of the worldwide tourism business. Nearly 11,000 exhibitors from 184 countries took part in the giant travel fair.

Sales at the ITB totalled over 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion), with 97% of the exhibitors reporting good to very good business – 5% more than in 2006.

‘Environment-friendly’ tourism was a key selling point this year, following allegations that holiday travel is a cause of increasing carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.

The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) says worldwide tourist arrivals grew by over 20% in the past three years to 842 million and would increase at an annual rate of about 4%.

India, a ‘partner-country’ of the International Tourism Bourse this year, also played host to a series of seminars on eco-tourism and the effects of low-cost airlines on travel habits.

A spokesperson for Indian exhibitors, who booked an entire hall to showcase their cultural and tourism attractions, said business was better than in 2006.

Having moved to the forefront of international tourism in recent years, India took the centrestage at the ITB. The Indian team had arrived in Berlin in a big way, with promotion experts talking of a 78% increase in tourism volume over the past five years, and a 15% growth in in-bound travel since 2002.

As ITB’s partner-country, India was given the honour of hosting the show’s spectacular opening ceremony, parading the nation’s rich textile craft heritage in contemporary terms. Ritu Kumar, one of India‘s leading fashion designers, masterminded the show, complete with classical and folk-dance performances.

India’s choice as the ITB partner-country was hailed in Berlin by Tourism Minister Ambika Soni, saying it was a reflection of the “rising interest of global travellers towards India.”

India’s diversity of regional destinations is attracting more and more visitors, the chief among them being Taj Mahal, Rajasthan, Goa, Himalayan treks, wellness breaks and beach holidays.

In 2005, India attracted 3.9 million international visitors. The figure jumped to a record 4.4 million in 2006, making the World Travel and Tourism Council to describe India as “the world’s fastest- growing destination.”

With 130,000 visitors, Germany has become an increasingly important source market for India. Germany now ranks sixth after the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France and Sri Lanka.

India is also an increasingly important outbound market.

A recent study by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) showed that Indian residents made 8.3 million international trips and 430 million domestic trips in 2006. About three million of them were within the Asia-Pacific region – making India the region’s fourth largest source market behind China, Japan and Korea.




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