Hello and welcome everyone to the second day of ITB Berlin. Today is International Women’s Day and a great opportunity for us to celebrate all of the amazing women who are working across the travel and tourism sector. With the majority of the tourism workforce being female, they have a critical role to play in shaping its future and mastering its transformation.
The world is back in Berlin and we could not be happier. We have 400 leading speakers across the four ITB Berlin Convention stages in Halls 7.1a, 7.1b, 6.1 and 3.1, who are sharing their expert knowledge on the latest tasks and challenges facing the tourism industry. There are also fascinating keynote speeches, CEO interviews, panels, pitches, discussion rounds and award presentations taking place throughout the day.
Of course, we are here to make sure business happens. This year, we received an exceptionally high number of registrations for the Buyers Circle and approved 1,300 handpicked buyers, which is nearly a third more than before the pandemic, a testament to the growing appetite for face-to-face meetings.
This year we also have plenty of innovations, including the Business+ Lounge, the ITB Innovation Radar and bookable meeting tables, as well as the new HOME OF LUXURY by ITB, the “destination hotspot” hub27, the hybrid studio in Hall 5.3 and the ITB Lighthouse Stage in Hall 4.1b, all completed by the online platform ITBxplore.
As I’m sure those of you who were here yesterday already know, Georgia is our wonderful Official Host Country of ITB Berlin 2023. They are presenting their wide-ranging tourism attractions with comprehensive displays in the large multi-purpose hall hub27 as well as in Hall 4.1
I encourage all visitors to explore the different segments of the global travel and tourism industry on show. In total, we have around 5,500 exhibiting companies from 161 countries who are here to showcase the very best of what each destination has to offer.
This year we are highlighting the medical and health tourism segment which for the first time, will be represented in their own hall (26c). Turkey is among the countries strongly represented with specialist clinics, health and spa hotels, associations and destinations.
We also have the world’s most international range of tourism products in the LGBTQ+ Tourism segment at the LGBTQ+ Tourism Pavilion in Hall 4.1. Taking part for the first time are Visit Malta, where this year’s EuroPride will be presented and Comunitat Valenciana, which is presenting Benidorm and the Gay Games 2026 in Valencia.
Thank you all for being here and making this possible. I look forward to seeing you on the trade show floor.