BERLIN — The organizers of ITB Berlin say they have decided to cancel this year’s event due to the increasing spread of the coronavirus.
The travel industry tradeshow and conference draws thousands of buyers, suppliers and press to Berlin every year from countries around the world, including Canada.
Organizers had said they were deliberating whether or not to proceed with this year’s event, scheduled to take place March 10 – 14, and said that the earliest a decision would be handed down was today.
A statement posted at itb-berlin.com says: “Due to the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Economics have implied a cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020.
“The responsible health authority of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf of Berlin has increased the requirements for the event to take place early this evening (18:27). Among other things, the authority orders [that] every trade fair participant must prove to Messe Berlin that they do not come from the defined risk areas or have had contact with a person from the risk areas. Messe Berlin is unable to implement all these requirements.
“Messe Berlin has been pointing out for weeks that the decision to hold or cancel major events can only be made on the basis of the recommendation or instruction of the relevant authorities. Only these authorities have all the necessary information and expertise to draw the right conclusions.
“Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH, said: ‘With more than 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries, ITB Berlin is of outstanding importance for the global tourism industry. We take our responsibility for the health and safety of our guests, exhibitors and employees very seriously. It is with a heavy heart that we look forward to the cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020, which has now become necessary’.
“The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Berlin Wolf-Dieter Wolf explains: ‘In their now 54-year history ITB Berlin and Messe Berlin have never before experienced a comparable situation. We would like to thank all exhibitors and partners around the world who have supported ITB Berlin in the past days and weeks, and look forward to continuing our trusting cooperation with our partners in the market’.”