messe berlinFrom 9 to 11 March 2016 around 400 leading experts and international entrepreneurs will be gathering at the ITB Berlin Convention to examine new trends and highlight best practices.

On Wednesday, 9 March, ITB Destination Day 1 will kick off with a welcome by the Hon. Moosa Zameer, the tourism minister of the Maldives. The island nation in the Indian Ocean is this year’s partner country of ITB Berlin.
On the same day, General Secretary of UNWTO Dr. Taleb Rifai will discuss ’Authenticity and sustainability in tourism in booming Asian regions: the best practice example of Kayah State, Myanmar’ with international representatives.
Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Gerd Müller will conclude day one of the ITB Destination Days with an introductory paper on ’Travel for ONE WORLD – sustainable tourism, a success factor in developing and emerging countries’, which afterwards will be the subject of a debate. Discussion points will include the tasks facing politics and the travel industry and how to successfully coordinate the work of state-sponsored development and the tourism industry.

Also on 9 March, at the ITB Future Day, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger will deliver a keynote speech on the mega trend of digitalization. Topics include shaping overall conditions at political and technological level in the EU in order to ensure the success of the digital transition in society, the economy and the tourism industry, and supporting innovative developments so as to guarantee the industry remains competitive.
Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Sinn, president, ifo Institut – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Universität München e. V., will present the latest data on global economic developments. In his World Economic Outlook 2016 he will explain the consequences of a weak Chinese economy, the growth outlook of the other BRIC countries, how Europe’s economy can be strengthened, and the impact on consumer demand and tourism.

Afterwards, in an ITB CEO Interview Darren Huston, president and CEO of The Priceline Group and, will offer an insight into ‘Formulas for success in times of complex markets and rapid global expansion’ and present some fascinating ideas for the tourism markets of tomorrow.
Prof. Dr. Roland Conrady, science head of the ITB Berlin Convention, Hochschule Worms, will conduct a keynote interview with Dr. Oliver Heckmann, vice president, Travel and Shopping, Google Inc. The subject is ‘From micro moments to a seamless travel planning and booking process’. Oliver Heckmann, who is in charge of the global travel market at Google, will give his view of the future of travel search and booking processes, explain how in the future inspiration for trips and planning and booking them will be interlinked, and will provide an insight into Google‘s new Destination Mobile Interface.

On 9 March at the Young Professionals Day, the keynote interview will look at ‘The future of work in the tourism industry: will humanoid robots make us defunct?’ Keynote speaker Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey, co-director and Oxford Martin Citi Fellow, Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment, University of Oxford, will talk about employing artificial intelligence and humanoid robots in the service sector, the current situation in the international tourism industry, and how our jobs will change in the future.

On 11 March at the ITB Marketing and Distribution Day, the future will have already begun. Visitors to the convention can make up their own minds at two live demonstrations of Toshiba’s humanoid robot. ChihiraKanae speaks Japanese, Chinese and English, gestures with his arms and hands, changes his expression, recognises faces and shows emotions. Hitoshi Tokuda, chief specialist, Marketing Strategic Office, Research & Development Division, Toshiba Corporation will be taking questions from the audience. Afterwards, the internationally acclaimed tourism industry opinion-formers Doug Lansky, a travel journalist, and Ted Sullivan, vice president of Tourism and Resort Analytics, ADARA, will be talking about the topics that will impact on digital tourism in the future. Listeners can look forward to a challenging and witty exchange.

On 11 March at the ITB CSR Day, the multiple award-winning, highly regarded keynote speaker and tour operator Aziz Abu Sarah, will take a look at the topic of 'Travelling for peace'. The founder of Mejdi Tours will look at how tourism can help to prevent violent conflicts and illustrate how peace initiatives and business success can be combined in the travel industry.