Health travel @ ITB Berlin NOW
A leading international consultant gives feedback on this year’s event
Medical and wellness tourism are sectors that still have huge potential, and keeping up with current trends is essential to success in the industry. To do so, Irena Rapoport I. R. Agency (I.R.A.) – Health Travel International Consulting has been attending ITB Berlin for several years, and has thus had time to form an opinion about the show…
It was a great moment in my professional life to participate in the ITB Berlin Medical Pavilion (2018, 2019). The experience and the ideas I have had as a speaker, moderator and just as an attendee at other Medical Travel events, enable me to understand how crucial it is to find the proper business partners, this what I learnt, for example, at the European HTI Conference and got another proof at ITB as it is just the perfect event to discover new destinations and partners.
I think we can define ITB Berlin with 3 words: DISCOVERY, INSPIRATION, JOY.
Networking during such gigantic event contributes considerably to business development. The booths of so many exhibitors (destinations, hotels, clinics etc.) enable the access to new horizons, inspire and awaken our creativity. I think we can define ITB BERLIN with 3 words: DISCOVERY, INSPIRATION, JOY.
With no doubt, 2020 will be remembered as the most challenging year in our lives due to the pandemic. It is obvious that tourism is one of the industries that has been hurt the most. This is why the fact that ITB Berlin have not given up, and have created a virtual event in spite of the worldwide situation, is greatly appreciated. This will bring hope and optimism for the future of tourism and is a big step towards recovery until will meet in 2022.
Talking about my vision for the coming year, I am convinced that the needs for Wellness Travel will increase as the stress and burn out for all sectors (however especially for the medical staff) will greatly influence their decisions for this type of holidays as soon as borders will reopen. It seems that big hotels will have more difficulty in succeeding in the coming year. The demand for small boutique hotels will rise as the sanitation measures will be crucial as well as the country-wide Covid-19 protocols. The demand for Rejuvenation, stress release, immunity enhancing programs will increase.
How are your key choice criteria changing when selecting new “star” destinations or hotel partners now?
As an expert in Wellness Travel, understanding the modularity of eventual personalised programmes, I was always looking for destinations with clean environment, beautiful and diverse nature and the culture of service. The New era, “post- pandemic” is also influencing my new priorities and choices. Outdoor activities help to strengthen the immune system. The nature is therapeutic: forests, mountains, rivers, lakes. This is why I consider Croatia as one of “the healing countries” with amazing nature, perfect service and high-level medicine.
Irena Rapoport – the “take-away” from the Covid crisis
Over tourism should be banned. Sustainability should be in focus. International standards and protocols for epidemiological situations should be worked out, accepted worldwide and applied globally. Projects for the nature preservation should be developed, and the young generation should be educated accordingly from very young age including special programmes in schools. We all saw the “nature rejuvenation” during lockdowns. We all, as humans, are responsible for that.