Tours and activities now make up the third-largest market in the international travel industry. And indeed, in order to overcome the coronavirus crisis, many tourism organisations are focusing on selling their attractions to the domestic travel market. What’s more, modern technology has set a new standard for contact-free booking of tours and activities at holiday destinations.

At ITB Berlin NOW, the Technology, Tours & Activities (TTA) segment powered by ARIVAL and Bookingkit is examining the key trends and developments in this fast-growing market. Participants can find out about the innovations, channels and platforms that have contributed to the success of the tours and activities market and the changes taking place due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis. At the ITB Berlin NOW Convention informative panel discussions and lectures by leading figures will provide important insights and an outlook for the future of this market.

Together with its partner, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show will also take a look at how Adventure Travel is developing and what impact it is having on the climate. At the Adventure Travel and TTA-themed virtual cafés, participants in the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show can discuss ideas and plans at all times of day.

Now that the coronavirus pandemic has brought city tourism and leisure attractions to a standstill in many countries, at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention leading providers will be highlighting the potential of smart technologies. At the TTA Forum on Tuesday, 9 March 2021, Lukas C.C. Hempel, CEO and co-founder of Bookingkit, Luuc Elzinga, founder and president of Tiqets, Claudio Bellinzona, founder and COO of Musement, Illaria D’Uva, CEO of D’Uva, and Christian Gross, director of Sales and Incoming at Convention Bureau and Operations Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH, will discuss what the new normal after Covid will be like for travel sales and how revenues can be increased. Manuel Hilty, CEO of Nezasa, will take a look at the growing popularity of touring for several days and what that means for tour operators and sales. Afterwards, at an event moderated by Charlotte Lamp Davis, founder of A Bright Approach, Brian Young, managing director of G Adventures, and Travis Pittman, CEO and co-founder of TouRradar, will discuss the findings.

Focus on customer and employee satisfaction

By examining best practices, Nanna Ebert, head of Communications of Kongernes Samling (The Kings Collection), Dominique Exmann, managing director of Gardens & Visiting, Candide Gardening, and Jaume Vidal, regional manager for Spain, Portugal & Greece at Tiqets, will discuss how domestic tourism can assist the economic recovery from the pandemic and how attractions can meet the challenges of the future. Making people central to one’s business model: the pandemic has raised awareness for safety and health among customers and employees. Milena Nikolova, chief behaviour officer of Behavior Smart, will illustrate how even minor changes can lead to greater satisfaction and profitability. On the Show Floor Anja Dominick, project officer for the PROWAD LINK Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, will highlight the benefits of sustainably developing natural landscapes.

Based on his Coronavirus & Recovery Pulse Survey, Douglas Quinby, CEO and co-founder of ARIVAL, will provide an insight into the future of the market for tours, activities and attractions. The results of polling more than 1,500 organisers around the world reveal the trends of the future, which are broken down by region and tourism market: “Travel’s third-largest sector – tours, activities and attractions – has been one of the hardest-hit as international travel has come to all but a standstill. Despite this, opportunity, optimism and determination about its future abound”, said Douglas Quinby, CEO of ARIVAL. ”It’s great to see ITB Berlin devote so much attention to this important travel sector, and we’re thrilled to share new insights on the outlook for tours and attractions and the opportunity for global travel and tourism.” At the discussion round to follow, Dominique Sidley, Global Trade Strategy director of Merlin Entertainments, Brad Weber, president and CEO of Gray Line Worldwide and David King, senior director of Global Sales and Account Management, Viator, will look at the most important developments.

Afterwards, in an interview Stephen Kaufer, CEO of Tripadvisor, will examine future travel trends and for the first time in Europe will present Tripadvisor Plus, a direct-to-consumer subscription scheme unique to the travel industry. Being able to distance oneself has increased the popularity of self-organised tours. At the Startup NOW Panel in the afternoon, Jan Dolezal, founder of SmartGuide, and Merja Taipaleenmäki, CEO of Citynomadi, will discuss the role of digital technology and how operators can benefit from these kinds of tours.

Sustainable solutions for adventure travel

Companies marketing adventure travel have also suffered from the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, the signs point toward change. At ITB Berlin NOW numerous exhibitors are presenting new products. They include Africa Amini Life, Albatros Adventure, China Adventure, Evaneos, Forum Anders Reisen, Intrepid, Nationalpark Wattenmeer, Oceanwide Expeditions, and The Blue Yonder. Destinations such as Guatemala, Namibia, Panama and Visit Greenland will highlight the adventures that await travellers to their countries.

On Thursday, 11 March 2021, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) will share their COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines with attendees at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention. Timo Gustavo, Destination Development director, and Gergana Nikolova, regional director for Europe & Central Asia, ATTA, will also present a new risk assessment tool. Christina Beckmann, founder of Tomorrow’s Air, will illustrate how specific effects caused by travelling such as greenhouse gases can be reduced. The company makes use of an innovative approach for cleaning up carbon emissions.

Georgia, the Digital Adventure and Sustainability Partner of ITB Berlin NOW, will be highlighting the adventures that a lively culture, biodiversity and pristine nature can offer.  The land of “supras” and “tamadas”, famed for its hospitality, is also sponsoring the Responsible Tourism Café. Adventure-hungry visitors to ITB Berlin NOW can also meet at the Adventure Café, which is sponsored by Tourism Ireland.

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