With the global economy expected to recover in the years to come the world’s travel industry has begun 2014 confident of good tourism business.

itb-berlin-verticleFollowing a recent period of relatively sluggish growth, particularly in many recession-hit countries, the global travel industry is once again on course for rapid growth.

Last week’s ITB Berlin sent out very positive signals for the international travel industry.

In Germany consumers have ensured that the mood in the travel industry is positive. Backed by a stable employment market, good wage agreements and positive forecasts for economic growth, German citizens aim to spend more money on their holidays than in previous years.

This year’s ITB Berlin reported a four per cent rise in trade visitors and an increase in business volume, which Messe Berlin estimates reached 6.5 billion euros. The focus of the world’s leading travel trade fair, which came to an end on Sunday, was on travel bookings via smartphones and tablets and on sustainable practices in the travel industry.

Among the countries on the Mediterranean Greece and Spain reported particularly high growth. In 2013, numbers visiting Spain reached a new record. Germany and Europe have become increasingly popular with travellers from Asia. At this year’s ITB Berlin numerous hotels and holiday resorts not only exhibited on the stands of the various countries and regions but also hosted their own displays in the halls.

From 5 to 9 March 2014, 10,147 exhibitors from 189 countries – more than two-thirds of whom came from abroad – were represented in 26 halls which were booked to capacity. Overall, some 114,000 trade visitors (2013: 109,616) travelled to Berlin. This year there was a slight increase again in buyers from the USA and the Middle East.

The ITB Berlin Convention registered record levels of attendance. A total of 22,000 took part in around 200 lectures, discussions and workshops, over 5 percent more than in 2013. Social Media and Mobile Travel Services proved to be major visitor attractions. Once again, the matchmaking event for bloggers and exhibitors met with an extremely positive response. Over a period of two days 2,000 events took place attended by 120 exhibitors and bloggers from 25 countries.

Despite the warm weather for this time of year more than 60,000 members of the general public came to find out about the wide-ranging information on offer from exhibitors and providers of niche market products. As in 2013, visitors at the weekend were able to book their tours directly at ITB Berlin. A poll among visitors revealed that around 50 per cent intended to book a trip. On average, each visitor spent around 2,000 euros on a holiday trip. Close to one-third of the companies exhibiting sold travel products to the end consumer.

Mexico, this year’s partner country, fascinated its visitors on the eve of ITB Berlin with a dazzling programme of entertainment and a fascinating multimedia show which highlighted its cultural treasures. Inside the display halls Mexico put on a show of traditional music and dance performances, served authentic Mexican dishes, exhibited colourful handicrafts from the various regions and whetted visitors’ appetites for holidaying in a country with so many different attractions. Using interactive media visitors were able to go on a virtual trip to Mexico and take their experiences back home.

Taleb Rifai, General Secretary of UNWTO said, "I must congratulate ITB on another great success. ITB 2014 reflected the vitality of the tourism sector extremely well and I must particularly commend ITB for its Corporate Social Responsibility Programme which, year after year, reminds us all that with the continuous growth of tourism comes a great responsibility.”

Around 5,700 accredited journalists from 81 countries and some 300 bloggers from 25 countries reported on events at ITB Berlin. Politicians and diplomats from Germany and abroad were present at the show.