Cape Town courts the German market at ITB Berlin

ITB Berlin, one of the largest travel trade and consumer shows in Europe, kicked off on March 10, 2010, with Turkey as official partner country. Cape Town Tourism took a healthy dose of sunshine with, as Lianne Burton and Inge Dykman departed from a scorching Cape Town for an icy cold Berlin to represent the Mother City at the 44th annual expo. ITB Berlin takes place on the fairgrounds of Messe Berlin, with March 10 to12 reserved for trade visitors and March 13 to 14 open to all.

South Africa, along with Italy, England and Malaysia, sported brand-new stands at this year’s expo.

Further new additions to the ITB Berlin programme included a mobile travel services area and a Social Media Lounge, in response to an increased emphasis internationally on using social media as a marketing platform. A special section has been dedicated to Gay and Lesbian Travel – on March 12 – focusing on best practice examples from market leaders. Cape Town Tourism is hoping to load the results of a study on gay and lesbian travel onto our industry site. The information is bound to be useful to our members, especially as Cape Town caters very well for this particular travel market.

Adventure travel has proven its longevity, with more than 30 countries showcasing their adventure and natural travel attractions.  In line with consumers who are more conscious of their role as responsible travellers, there was a strong demand for experiences with a sustainable focus.  (Source: ITB kicks off with slight growth, SA Tourism Update Online)

Inge Dykman, marketing services co-ordinator of Cape Town Tourism says, “Golf, food and wine remain strong travel motivators for German visitors to Cape Town. There is also a healthy interest in township tours and the cultural offerings of Cape Town.” According to Inge, Cape Town Tourism, in partnership with our German representative KpRN, who is also the appointed PR representative for South African Tourism in Germany, are addressing issues of safety and security, which remain the biggest concern for this market. 

European travel is expected to remain fairly flat throughout 2010 due to the global economic recession, but this provides us with the ideal opportunity to pitch our products and skills to appeal to a lucrative market; still one of Cape Town’s four biggest international source markets.  A mood of cautious optimism, however, reigns in the business travel sector, with key players indicating a belief in an upturn in the business travel market towards the end of the year. 

“Theme Days” at this year’s event allowed the organisers to profile themes in line with international travel trends. There is an increased emphasis on corporate social responsibility, looking at climate change and sustainable tourism and examining the impact of major industries like cruise ship travel on the environment – it’s bound to lead to hot debate. 

ITB Berlin is now active on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube and will also publish the ITB World Travel Trends Report online. 

Says David Ruetz, senior manager, ITB Berlin, “We have taken on this growing market with online communities at just the right time and regard the social web as an appropriate way to actively observe the travel market and openly discuss business trends.”

Cape Town Tourism has had a strong presence on Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for some time now, with our most recent Facebook statistics attesting to the fact that the online audience is a dynamic one. Cape Town Tourism takes great pride in its healthy record of 2 000 interactions per week with the 52 000 fans of the “I love Cape Town” fan page.

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