The opening of ITB Berlin 2009

BERLIN, 10.3.2009.

On Tuesday evening Germany’s Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Dr. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg opened this year’s ITB Berlin, one of the world’s largest tourist fairs. On that occasion zu Guttenberg invited all those involved in tourism to be more optimistic in these times of crisis.

‘The tourist sector has proven more than once that it is well capable of turning difficult times into great opportunities’ zu Guttenberg said. He expressed his strong believe that ITB would send a positive signal to all. That believe was also strongly supported by Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin.

President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) Klaus Laepple was more precautious regarding the current situation and said that this year should not be less successful than the previous one, but it was still too early to give a reliable prognosis for the tourist season 2009.

ITB Berlin, which is taking place for the 43rd time from 11 to 15 March 2009, has been fully booked since February and reports show that the number of exhibitors has remained stable compared to last year. A total of 11,098 exhibiting companies from 187 countries are occupying 26 halls. For the first time the official partner is a region, i.e. the Ruhr region. The Ruhr metropolis has been chosen as Europe's Capital of Culture 2010.

Croatia is attending the fair while being represented by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), Croatia Airlines and a list of the twenty most successful tourist companies (Arenaturist, Valamar, Maistra, Elite Travel, Generalturist and other) as well as numerous city and county tourist offices.

On Wednesday a press-conference will be organized and on that occasion the Croatian Minster of Tourism Damir Bajs as well as the Director of HTZ Niko Bulić will be presenting all novelties regarding Croatian tourism.