BY A CORRESPONDENT
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
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
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
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.