ITB 2018

Tourism hits a new high

Records have been broken again but the rising visitor numbers also highlight the overtourism problem.

March 07, 2018
Travel is booming worldwide (like here in Rome) - but has it reached a critical mass?
Photo: Gettyimages

Global tourism is booming like never before as unprecedented numbers of international travellers propel the industry to new heights. Its phenomenal success has been reflected in the German market, which is on course for another record-breaking year in 2018 following a strong performance in 2017.

“Around the world, there is a growing desire for travel and globally we are on course for a record year in tourism again,” said Norbert Fiebig, president of German travel association DRV. He cited increased demand among German holidaymakers for Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, all of which are enjoying a comeback this year.

“Germans are the world champions of travel,” said German Tourism Industry Federation president Michael Frenzel. Such optimism is providing a buoyant backdrop to this year’s ITB, opened last night by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose constituency falls within the region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the ITB partner region for 2018.

However, one problem threatening to take the shine off the travel success story is growing concern about overtourism, a key focus of this year’s ITB Berlin Convention. “As an industry, we must take care that mass tourism does not strain people’s goodwill,” said Fiebig. “It is mainly up to destinations to exert a controlling influence ... and many are already pointing the way.”

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