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Next week the world’s largest travel trade fair, ITB, should have taken place in Berlin, but due to the outbreak of coronavirus has now been cancelled.
Over the past few weeks, ITB organisers have tried in vain to answer whether the world’s largest travel fair should take place or be cancelled completely, due to the increased spread of coronavirus. Last night it was finally announced that the ITB travel fair in Berlin will not be taking place:
“Due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Economics have stated their opinion that ITB Berlin be cancelled. This evening at 1827 hrs, the responsible health authority of the district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in Berlin imposed significantly tighter restrictions on holding the event. Among its requirements the authority stipulated that each participant would need to prove to Messe Berlin that they were not from a designated risk area or had not been in contact with a person or persons from a risk area. It is not possible for Messe Berlin to satisfy these requirements overall.
Messe Berlin had for weeks made it known that a decision on holding or cancelling large-scale events would only be taken based on the recommendations or instructions of the relevant specialist authorities. Only they possess the necessary information and specialist knowledge in order to draw the right conclusions.
Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH, said: ”With more than 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries ITB Berlin is extremely important for the world’s tourism industry. We take our responsibility for the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors and employees very seriously. It is with a heavy heart that we must now come to terms with the cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020.”
ITB has been held in Berlin since 1966 and for the first time ever in the history of the travel fair a cancellation has taken place. In recent weeks, more and more exhibitors had cancelled their participation due to concerns about coronavirus. Cancellations had come not only from China but also from other countries around the world.
The ITB fair is held 4 times a year in different parts of the world: Berlin, Singapore, Mumbai, and Shanghai. It is not yet known if the travel fairs besides Berlin will also be affected.