ITB Business Travel Days: business travel at a time of financial crisis


BERLIN – Business travel at a time of global financial and economic crisis is a new challenge facing an industry which, according to conservative estimates, guarantees employment for well over half a million people in Germany. According to the latest findings of the Association of German Travel Management (VDR e.V.) in its 2008 Business Travel Analysis, half of all the expenditure in German hotels is accounted for by business travelers.

Current issues concerning business travel will form the focus of attention at the ITB Business Travel Forum from March 11-13, 2009, which is expected to attract everyone from juniors to business travel managers to participate in the exchange of information at this advanced training event in Berlin. David Ruetz, senior manager ITB Berlin said: “This year, the Business Travel Days are undergoing a further qualitative improvement, because we are convinced of the importance of this sector. The business travel market remains a reliable indicator of the economic situation and also exercises a stabilizing effect. It is not seasonal in nature and remains largely immune to crises due to the fact that in an age of globalization, it is vital for staff to be able to travel.” It is a significant economic factor for the travel industry as a whole and, for the past four years, the ITB Berlin has been providing a dedicated platform where newcomers to the industry, as well as experienced travel managers, can obtain information and expand their professional knowledge.

Newcomers’ Day with an eminent speaker, Ekkehard Goetting
The Business Travel Forum will begin on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 with a Newcomers’ Day and two highly-topical subjects. In his opening speech, Dr. Friedrich Hubert Esser, professor and divisional director for vocational training with the Main Association of the German Skilled Trades in Berlin, will talk on the subject of “Training in Times of (Financial) Crisis.” Another prominent speaker, Ekkehard Goetting, chairman & CEO of the German Economic Delegation in Hong Kong, will address a contentious issue under the heading of “Farewell Germany? Learning, living and working abroad.” The amendments that have been made to careers in travel, and the creation of a new professional qualification for mobility management, are of major importance to anyone entering the industry. The Council of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) Berlin will be providing exclusive details about the current stage of discussions at the ITB Berlin.

Major topics: visas and MICE
In the keynote speech of the Business Travel Executive Day/MICE on Thursday at the ITB, Lutz I. Stammnitz, president of procurement, mobility and logistics, Siemens AG, Munich and Business Travel Manager of the Year 2008 (TIC), will provoke a debate as to whether business travel management constitutes a “black box.”

For the first time, MICE topics will form a separate component in the program of the Business Travel Forum. Under the heading of “Legal, illegal, or irrelevant? The problem of visas for business travel,” a panel of experts will discuss some frequently-neglected issues associated with visas. Decision-makers can learn about “Event Guidelines,” as well as taking part in the panel discussion “How good is Germany’s position as a MICE destination?”.

On Thursday and Friday, the VDR Academy is holding three practically-based workshops in which staff involved with the operational aspects of business travel can learn important details about contracts with airlines, fiscal aspects of business travel and events, and the fundamentals of planning business trips.

New: “Aktuelle Stunde” – main topic: ancillary air travel costs
The “Business Travel Practitioners’ Day” on Friday, March 13, will feature a number of highly-informative subjects. The “Aktuelle Stunde” (Topical Hour) is a new feature in which prominent speakers will report on a number of items, among them “Including aviation in EU emissions trading.” During the subsequent discussions, travel managers will investigate the “main factors in pushing up air ticket prices,” which include the surcharges for security and aviation fuel, for using credit cards and for baggage, and many other contributory aspects. And Verkehrsclub Deutschland e.V. will be using its “Guidelines for environmentally acceptable business travel” in order to show how business travel can be organized in ways that are both profitable and ecologically sound. This will be just one of many contributions to the subject of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in tourism. The CSR Day will be held for the first time at this year’s ITB.

The ITB Business Travel Forum will take place from March 11-13, 2009 in Hall 7.1a, New York 3, during the ITB Berlin Convention.

The ITB Berlin Convention
The ITB Berlin 2009 will take place from Wednesday, March 11 to Sunday, March 15 and will be open to trade visitors from Wednesday to Friday. Parallel with the trade fair, the ITB Berlin Convention will take place from Wednesday, March 11 to Saturday, March 14, 2009. The ITB Berlin Convention is the world’s largest travel industry convention. Last year some 100 events attracted more than 11,000 participants. For full program details click on .

Fachhochschule Worms and the US-based market research company PhoCusWright, Inc .are partners of the ITB Berlin Convention. Turkey is co-hosting this year’s ITB Berlin Convention. Other sponsors of the ITB Berlin Convention include Top Alliance, responsible for VIP service;, the media partner of the ITB Hospitality Days; Flug Revue, the media partner of the ITB Aviation Days; and the Planeterra Foundation, the sponsor of the ITB Corporate Social Responsibility Days. Partners cooperating with the ITB Business Travel Days are Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V. (VDR), HSMA Deutschland e.V., A&O Hotels and Hostels, Deutsche Bahn, geschaeftsreisekontakt,, IHK Organisation, and Intergerma.