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UPDATED: 2020 ITB Berlin Cancelled

The annual ITB Berlin, set to get underway next week, has been cancelled.

A spokesperson for ITB told Press Today — which broke the story in Canada — that: “Due to the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health has decided to cancel the ITB Berlin. “

The ITB spokesperson explained that: “In addition, the responsible public health department of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf of Berlin has greatly increased the requirements for holding the event on Friday evening. Among other things, the authority ordered: 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. These conditions cannot be implemented by Messe Berlin.”

Rumours about the cancellation began circulating earlier this week when Messe Berlin GmbH indicated in a terse statement that it was “currently coordinating with the public authorities at federal and state level on how to proceed with regard to ITB Berlin 2020 and COVID-19.”

Organizers had also confirmed earlier that “due to the current spread of the coronavirus in Europe, the organizer expects lower visitor numbers at ITB Berlin. Please understand that due to the dynamic situation, we are currently unable to make any statements about concrete visitor numbers.”

Commenting on the cancellation, 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 explained: “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.”

And visitBerlin CEO Burkhard Kieker commented on the cancellation announcement, observing: “Messe Berlin has decided to cancel this year’s ITB. The decision has been taken against the background of the public health department stepping up measures to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. In cancelling the ITB 2020, those responsible are reacting to current concerns among parts of the general public and in the travel industry.”

Kieker continued: “This is the first time the ITB has ever been cancelled – and it is indicative of the challenges which the coronavirus poses for the travel sector. Berlin and its hosts regret the cancellation, but understand the necessity even though as yet there have been no COVID-19 cases confirmed in Berlin. We are hopeful the situation will improve as soon as possible.”

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