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  • Taking as its slogan ’Hear out what others have to say’, ITB Berlin has now launched a new podcast series entitled ‘300 seconds with…’, part of ITB’s Travel Hero podcast series. With it, the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show aims to make global experts, trends, visions, strategies and measures accessible to interested consumers in these times.

    As the title of the audio series suggests, the focus is on tourism industry experts, who in five-minute interviews (300 seconds) will be under the spotlight answering questions on hot topics. Podcast subjects can range from tips for young entrepreneurs and post-coronavirus tourism concepts to sustainability in the cruise industry.

    Guests on the series will include founders, experts, visionaries, opinion-formers and many others. In addition to David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin, Caroline Bremner, head of Travel Research at Euromonitor, and Bastian Raschke, head of Industry FMCG & Travel at Facebook, will be among the first guests giving their voice to the industry. The audience that the podcast targets includes travel professionals, decision-makers from politics and business, journalists, as well as students of the international tourism industry.

    The atmosphere of the weekly guest contributions is deliberately informal – interview partners will be answering questions both in German and English. Episodes will be available from the podcast host Podigee, on the Spotify and iMusic platforms, and naturally from the global hub


    As a result of the crisis the tourism industry now has a better understanding of the risks, but has also recognised the potential for new opportunities. Travellers are displaying greater environmental and socially responsible awareness, for example. That was the takeaway from all the discussions on the Friday for B2B visitors at the virtual We Love Travel! event. Providing organisers, service providers and customers draw the right conclusions, the potential exists for a future with profits, highly satisfied customers and a long-term positive effect on source countries and destinations.

    1. The main problem is uncertainty

    From 1950 to 2019 overnights increased sixty-fold globally, said Peter Kautz from Statista. “But then the coronavirus arrived.” With tourism activities having suffered a 55 per cent loss in turnover worldwide (as things stood), the pandemic had eclipsed all other crises to date, he said. Roland Gassner from Travel Data & Analytics added that although the collapse was similar to 9/11 or the financial crisis, its duration and prospects for recovery were not. This would take longer and no one could say how long.

    2. The situation is not hopeless

    “Stop whining“, said many of those at the discussions. Pointing to the most recent surveys, Michael Buller from Verband Internet Reisevertrieb (VIR) said “people want to travel“, all the more so if they had been unable to for a long time. What was more they had “the money, time and desire to travel again”, said Ulf Sonntag, a market researcher at the Kieler Institut für Tourismusforschung. Even if they could not necessarily choose the destinations they wanted they were “booking trips like mad“, said Roland Gassner, director of Business Development, Travel Data + Analytics.


  • “I had finished university and broken up“ – was how Stefan Korn began his story about hitchhiking around the world. A 22-month trip followed which took in, among other destinations, Uruguay, Alaska, Hong Kong and New York. He covered 108,895 kilometres, the equivalent of rounding the globe more than two-and-a-half times. Most of the time he hitchhiked, but he also took a sailing boat across the Atlantic, cycled across the Cordillera, and hopped trains across the United States. One of the things that initially was at least as important as achieving deep insights and self-fulfilment was the urge to leave his stickers behind at places along the way. “I wanted to be the toughest hitchhiker on the planet“, he admits. Listeners conclude that he probably fulfilled that goal, in hindsight with self-irony. In the end he realised that “distances are relative and I can travel anywhere I want, something for which I am grateful.”

    The trip has also produced a book. Korn now no longer hitchhikes just for fun, but as a sport. There are even hitchhikers’ clubs and associations and, taking inspiration from Russia, he founded the German Sports Hitchhikers Association, whose members can be recognised by their yellow outfit.


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