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[ What's New In Thailand ] Posted by nattanich on 2012/1/4 9:50:00 (4075 reads)
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Imtiaz Muqbil

Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's travel program, offers new opportunities for travelers to fulfill their lifetime "must-see" destinations. This, and several other great stories in this dispatch.


Click on the headline to go directly to the story.

1. Smithsonian Journeys Lists Top 10 Destinations and Most Popular Vacation Packages for 2011
2. TripAdvisor Announces 2011 Travelers' Choice Beaches Awards
3. U.S. Consumers Rate Corporations They Trust in the "Reputation Economy"
4. Global Cyber Security Market to Reach $80.02 Billion by 2017
5. New Research Reveals How To Connect with Active and Healthy Consumers
6. Global Cooperatives Movement Gets Boost with International Year, New Logo
7. International Trade Union Movement Launches Worldwide Jobs Pact For Young People
8. UN Forms Partnership With Mediterranean Countries To Save Region's Forests
9. Development Aid Increases, But With Worrying Trends, OECD Report Shows


Smithsonian Journeys Lists Top 10 Destinations and Most Popular Vacation Packages for 2011


Washington, DC (Vocus/PRWEB) April 05, 2011 - Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's travel program, offers new opportunities for travelers to fulfill their lifetime "must-see" destinations. Trends show that more than ever, Americans seek greater cultural immersion when they travel, including a meaningful experience that comes with genuine insight into the culture and history of a destination. Smithsonian's focus on valuing world cultures translates into the Institution's travel program through travel experiences that feature special access and top leaders. Plus, the breadth of Smithsonian Journeys' travel collection can accommodate any style of travel, whether it is land, sea or rail, from luxury to value focus. Full details on all trips can be found at its website

Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast. The Adriatic became popular years ago due to its pristine coastline of charming towns and islands, plus significant World Heritage sites. Smithsonian features two small-ship cruises in this region: "Treasures of the Adriatic" (Sept. 12-24) an in-depth luxury experience aboard the 114-guest Corinthian II, and "Splendors of Italy and the Dalmatian Coast" (May 31-June 15), an all-inclusive value cruise aboard the 350-guest Aegean Odyssey.

Italy. Because it is on everyone's life list, Smithsonian Journeys offers a broad collection of tours and cruises to Italy, each with specific themes and styles of travel. Travelers can choose from 10 unique cruises, such as "Journey of Odysseus: A Voyage from Greece to Italy" (June 18-29). Five in-depth small-group tours focus on just one area (Florence, Venice, Siena, the Amalfi Coast or Sicily), while the comprehensive "Art Treasures of Italy" showcases the arts of Venice, Florence and Rome.

Athens. At the center of western civilization, Athens should be on everyone's life list. Smithsonian Journeys offers three choice ways to experience it, including two all-inclusive value cruises to the Mediterranean or "City Explorer: Athens" (Oct. 17-29), an in-depth yet leisurely experience.

Istanbul. The only city in the world situated on two continents, Istanbul features a fascinating history of both western and eastern cultures, as reflected by its monuments. Travelers interested in visiting Istanbul and Athens in one trip can choose from Smithsonian's all-inclusive Mediterranean cruises and its popular "Black Sea" luxury cruise (Aug. 5-16). "Legendary Turkey and the Turquoise Coast" and "Ancient Worlds of Anatolia" are two small-group, air-inclusive tours that travel to Istanbul before moving south to different regions of Turkey. Both have multiple departures in the spring and autumn.

France. Travelers who have not experienced French culture and history will enjoy the comprehensive themes and regions featured in the small-group, air-inclusive "France through the Ages" tour, which travels from Toulouse to Paris. "Sojourn in the Dordogne" provides a closer understanding of the Dordogne region, renowned for prehistoric cave paintings, charming medieval towns, gourmet cuisine and fine wines. Both tours feature multiple departures.

Canadian Rockies. Travelers are drawn worldwide to the magnificence of the Canadian Rockies, celebrated for the region's pristine alpine lakes, majestic snowcapped mountains and plentiful wildlife. During "A Canadian Rockies Adventure" (Aug. 5-12), Smithsonian travelers stay at top accommodations in Banff and Jasper as they explore the landscape, then enjoy panoramic vistas on a two-day train trip aboard the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer before arriving in Vancouver.

The Great Lakes. Situated between Canada and the United States, the Great Lakes are the largest inland lake system in the world and retain an important history and natural beauty. During "Canadian Splendors" (July 25-Aug. 3), travelers can take a cruise in Canada that features notable cities and charming towns, engineering marvels and the history and natural beauty of Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron.

Alaska. Alaska continues to be at the top of many life lists due to its dramatic natural wonders of calving glaciers, pods of humpback and orca whales and magnificent spruce forests. Travelers can experience it all up-close by kayak, Zodiac and hikes on "Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness" (July 30-Aug. 6), an adventure cruise to Southeast Alaska and the Inside Passage, which also features the comforts of a small-ship cruise.

Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is considered the most spectacular gorge in the world and consequently Grand Canyon National Park merits listing as a World Heritage site. Smithsonian Journeys has taken Americans to this breathtaking site for nearly 40 years. "Grand Canyon Weekend Adventure" (June 17-20 and July 15-18) offers an in-depth weekend experience of the park, which features an overnight rafting trip down the Colorado River and a day at a nearby ranch.

China. Travel to China continues to increase dramatically for many reasons and Smithsonian Journeys has helped Americans get there since the doors opened. Travelers can count on Smithsonian for an in-depth quality experience on two small-group, air-inclusive tours, "Imperial China and the Yangtze" and "Classic China and Tibet," both featuring multiple departures.

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There were approximately 30 million visits from around the world at the Smithsonian in 2009 with more than 188 million visits to the Smithsonian websites. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at 137 million.

TripAdvisor Announces 2011 Travelers' Choice Beaches Awards

NEWTON, Mass., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - TripAdvisor, which claims to be the world's largest travel site*, today announced the winners of its inaugural 2011 Travelers' Choice Beaches awards. Top beach spots were named in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Mexico, and Central and South America.

Award winners were determined based on the most highly rated beach destinations by travelers in TripAdvisor reviews. Unlike any other honors, TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice winners are based on millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions from travelers around the world.

According to a recent TripAdvisor survey of more than 2,100 U.S. respondents, 68 percent are planning a beach vacation in 2011. Fifty-four percent are planning a trip to a U.S. beach destination. Seventeen percent intend to visit the U.S. southeast coast, 13 percent expect to explore the northeast coast, 12 percent plan to go to the gulf coast and 10 percent plan to visit the west coast. Twenty-six percent are planning a beach trip to the Caribbean or Mexico in 2011.

"It's that time of year when travelers are dreaming of getaways to warm beach destinations. To provide inspiration on where to go, we've named some amazing hot spots around the world, based on millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers," said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. "In addition to the outstanding beaches, these destinations also feature top-rated options for hotels, vacation rentals, attractions, and restaurants."

Travelers' Choice Beaches Award-winning World Beach Destinations:

1. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
2. Boracay, Philippines
3. Palm/Eagle Beach, Aruba
4. Negril, Jamaica
5, Tulum, Mexico
6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
7. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman
8. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
9. Cape May, New Jersey
10. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Travelers' Choice Beaches Award-winning U.S. Beach Destinations:

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
2. Cape May, New Jersey
3. Panama City Beach, Florida
4. Miami Beach, Florida
5. Sanibel Island, Florida
6. Clearwater, Florida
7. Honolulu, Hawaii
8. Captiva Island, Florida
9. Poipu, Hawaii
10. Siesta Key, Florida

For the complete 2011 Travelers' Choice Beaches lists, go to

U.S. Consumers Rate Corporations They Trust in the "Reputation Economy"

NEW YORK, April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Since the global financial crisis of 2008-09, negative headlines of product recalls, government bailouts, insider-trading and CEO scandals have reinforced the importance of reputation and its ability to humble once-high flying market leaders. Despite this toxic operating environment, eight of the largest 150 companies in the U.S. were still able to earn excellent corporate reputations and drive value-creation with the general public in 2011, according to a new study by private consulting firm Reputation Institute, in partnership with Forbes Media.

For a complete list of the U.S. findings, visit:

How are companies able to gain the highest levels of trust, esteem, admiration and good feeling from consumers in such a challenging environment? Two common themes for building reputation resilience and a positive legacy with stakeholders stand out. First, companies with the strongest reputations have moved beyond products and services when communicating what the company stands for. Second, it is the CEO at these companies who is leading the reputation management strategy.

Reputation Institute's analysis of the seven dimensions of corporate reputation shows that perceptions of the enterprise (Workplace, Governance, Citizenship, Financial Performance and Leadership) trump product perceptions (Products & Services plus Innovation) when it comes to driving behaviors. The five enterprise dimensions drive 61% of purchase consideration and 58% of recommendation/advocacy behavior with consumers. This provides further proof of what Reputation Institute calls the "reputation economy" - a place where people increasingly choose among competing products and services based on their impressions of how the companies behind them behave.

"The reputation economy of 2011 is characterized by a heightened focus on three things: trust in companies and leaders rather than product brands, multiple stakeholders and their interactions, and building a connection between a company's reputation strategy and its business strategy," said Anthony Johndrow, Managing Partner at Reputation Institute. "Today's best ?'Chief Reputation Officers?' combine cognitive, analytical, process, communication and organizational skills to give voice to their companies and connect the enterprise to stakeholders."

In search of what separates weak from average and strong from excellent companies, Reputation Institute asked "Chief Reputation Officers" (either the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, or Chief Communications Officer) responsible for reputation management from these 150 companies about the challenges they face in their role. This second study found that companies who scored in the excellent range of reputation (80+) were:

2.5 times more likely to have the CEO set the strategy for their enterprise positioning

1.5 times more likely to include reputation metrics as part of their senior management "dashboard"

15 times more likely to manage corporate reputation across company functions

1.7 times more likely to use an outside partner to assist with corporate reputation management

2011 RepTrak TM Pulse Study Highlights

The Automotive (69.35/+5.75 points) and Banking (61.5/+2.03 points) industries' reputations began to rebound with the general public, while the Diversified Financial Services and Insurance industries continue to struggle in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The top three drivers of corporate reputation with the U.S. general public remain Products & Services (17.7%), Governance (15.8%), and Citizenship (14.3%).

Reputation Institute's U.S. RepTrak TM Pulse Study measures the 150 largest, by revenue, independent U.S. public and mutual companies that are at least somewhat familiar to the general public.

Global Cyber Security Market to Reach $80.02 Billion by 2017

San Jose, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) April 05, 2011 - The magnitude and latitude of cyber crime has skyrocketed in recent years and with advances in technology, the immersion factor has increased on a ridiculous scale. Today, cyber-crime costs more than $1.0 trillion to society, with billions of dollars being stolen from small, medium and large-sized enterprises, identity of millions of individuals compromised, and several governments across the world already been targets of cyber-warfare. Internet has become a primary conduit for cyber attack activities with hackers channeling threats through social-engineering attacks and legitimate websites, placing a higher risk to larger number of people than in the past. Financial fraud, phishing, pharming, malware, laptop theft, man-in-the-middle attacks and database breaches on information and identities have resulted in huge losses for consumers.

Cyber crime has witnessed a considerable rise during the economic recession, partly attributed to the decreased focus of enterprises on computer and cyber security coupled with the growing desperation of people to generate quick income. Resurgence of viruses, banker Trojans, and fake anti-virus software continue to drum up media headlines and industry concerns. Additionally, the rise of social-networking websites and smartphones has created new outlets for propagation of malware. Growing popularity of social networking sites, and increasing availability of company infrastructure 'in the cloud' have exposed global enterprises to higher levels of security threats.

As a response to customer fears, organizations are seeking various proactive strategies to prevent the brand damage resulting from data breaches and identity-related fraud. While the recent economic recession forced substantial cutbacks in IT spending across several developed nations, it has however intensified the focus of business enterprises on cyber security solutions in a bid to minimize cyber crime induced financial losses, avoid high cost of security breaches, and safeguard organization?s reputation. Concurrently, the need to comply with various industry standards and regulations has also driven organizations to invest heavily in cyber security solutions.

As stated by the new market research report, United States and Europe accounted for a major share of the global Cyber Security market. Today, the worldwide cyber security market has fast evolved into a high revenue generating industry due to the large-scale development and deployment of advanced cyber security solutions. The launch of new cyber security products and services demonstrates the overall confidence in the market, and more funds were made available for cyber security, with the landslide of recent breaches itself lending to a much improved 2010. The increased sophistication of cyber security solutions is another driver of market growth. The technology and software, which can rapidly identify anomalies and help with the prevention and detection of cyber crime, has encouraged enterprises that would otherwise not invest in cyber security to purchase systems, especially in the financial industry.

By segment, Network Security is the largest contributor to global market revenues for cyber security. Endpoint security software such as desktop anti-virus has been in the marketplace for longer than any other cyber security solution. However, in the race to win the corporate clients, the market participants are shifting away from antivirus-style products to software suites combining network access control, configuration control, anti-malware, patch management, and systems management capabilities. The ability of endpoint security vendors to offer a comprehensive endpoint security suite to protect an organization from insider threats through features such as Web filtering, DLP (data loss prevention), asset management, tracking and recovery and insider monitoring will be key to future growth. Global market revenues for Endpoint Security are expected to surpass $5.0 billion by 2017.

The research report titled "Cyber Security: A Global Strategic Business Report" announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of market trends, issues, drivers, company profiles, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report provides market estimates and projections (in US$ Millions) for major geographic markets including the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Rest of World. Product segments analyzed include: Application Security, Content Security, Data Security, Endpoint Security, Network Security, Identity & Access Management, Risk & Compliance Management, Consulting Services, and Security Operations.

For more details

New Research Reveals How To Connect with Active and Healthy Consumers

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) April 5, 2011 - Almost every day we hear stories about the obesity crisis. The New York Times recently published a piece on the "increase in (American) waistlines," while the Wall Street Journal ran a story proclaiming that "never have so many human mastodons bestridden the Earth." With such media focus on obesity, it can be easy to overlook the huge numbers of health-conscious, physically fit Americans.

A recent study by Williams-Helde Marketing Communications set out to uncover the attitudes and behaviors of healthy and fit Americans, dubbed Active Healthy Lifestyles (AHLs). The study showed that in addition to living an active lifestyle, AHLs are highly influential consumers, much more likely to share preferences with friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and even total strangers via blogs and social media. AHLs are active information seekers - heavily researching products online and in magazines before making purchasing decisions.

Key AHL Statistics

63% of AHLs are willing to pay slightly more for a product that is made by a brand they trust.

AHLs are 41% more likely to use Facebook than non-AHLs.

77% of AHLs say they buy the best.

AHLs are broken down into four key segments: Young Movers (18-25), Active Parents (25-55), Booming Boomers (45-65), and Senior Jocks (65+).

AHLs are willing to pay for the best, but only after their research has helped them define what the best is. They are not easily swayed by advertising and unsubstantiated brand promises, as they like to believe their decisions are uniquely their own. This report by Williams-Helde Marketing Communications will help marketers gain a deep understanding of the Active Healthy Lifestyle audience, which will enable brands to tailor their marketing to the unique motivators of this vast and influential group.

Click here to read the report:

Global Cooperatives Movement Gets Boost with International Year, New Logo

(UN News) - Leading up to the launch of the International Year of Cooperatives in October 2011, the United Nations has released the official logo of the year based on the slogan, "Cooperative enterprises build a better world".

Cooperatives are member-owned, autonomous, self-help organizations that offer a business model that contributes to socio-economic development. The cooperative sector, with nearly a billion members in 90 countries through the International Cooperative Alliance, a membership organization, is estimated to account for more than 100 million jobs worldwide.

The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 64/136, declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives, in recognition of the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, especially with regard to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The objectives of the Year are to expand public awareness of the role of cooperatives, particularly in relation to the fulfilment of internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals; encourage the growth of cooperatives worldwide; and establish a policy and legal environment conducive to the strength and stability of the cooperative movement.

The new logo, available for non-commercial use by civil society, Governments and private entities, features people who are central to the cooperative model working together to lift a large cube. The seven figures represent the seven principles of the cooperative movement: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.

The logo is available on the International Year of Cooperatives website at in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. To obtain permission to use the logo, please visit the website or contact the secretariat at After you have received authorization, you will be able to download the logo, free of charge.

Outbound Giant Germany Seeks Inbound Travel Glory, Too

[ Trade Release ] Posted by nattanich on 2011/7/20 14:09:00 (5359 reads)
Imtiaz Muqbil

ITB BERLIN - Germany, one of the world?s largest outbound travel markets, is on its way to becoming one of world's top inbound travel nations. The country crossed 60 million overnight stays in 2010 and is targetting 80 million by 2020, with arrivals from China and India expected to figure highly.

Speaking at the ITB Berlin, Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), said: "Germany has the potential to stake out a permanent place for itself as one of the world's most popular tourist destinations."

She added, "We believe that growth of between 2 and 4 per cent is entirely realistic for inbound tourism, and the domestic market is also expected to grow by up to 2 per cent."

German domestic travel totalled more than 320 million overnight stays in 2010 and is projected at 390 million overnight stays in 2011.

While most of the projected growth in inbound arrivals will continue to come from the euro zone, with Spain and Italy offering the greatest potential, the GNTB forecasts further growth from Central and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland and the Czech Republic. "Significant increases" are expected from the BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

Said Mrs Hedofer, "As the economies of these countries grow, so does the enthusiasm for travel of their people. The number of overnight stays by visitors from India could rise by an average of 13.5 per cent up to 2020. China is close behind with a projected increase of 9.3 per cent, followed by Brazil at 8.5 per cent and Russia at around 5 per cent.

"China and India are the most important future growth markets for Germany. The GNTB expects the number of overnight stays by Chinese travellers to double by 2020 from the current level of 1.1 million. The predicted figure from India by 2020 is 1.4 million."

(Download the German Tourism Board's market research reports on Brazil, China, India and Russia).

The German tourism industry is undergoing a major revamp with much help coming from political parties because benefits are now trickling down to the small and medium sized enterprises.

Klaus Laepple, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) said: "With its wide range of holiday destinations and products, Germany has managed to withstand the impact of the global economic and financial crisis, to rise to the challenge of tough times, such as those during the volcanic ash cloud, and to make 2010 a record year."

Rainer Bruuderle, Federal Minister for Economics and Technology, said: "Germany's travel industry, which largely consists of small and medium-sized companies, has played its part in enabling us to overcome the crisis so successfully."

Ernst Burgbacher, Member of the German Parliament, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology says: "The tourism industry is one of the most important sectors in the German economy. Our task is to remain supportive of the key role played by Germany's incoming tourism industry and the opportunities for our economy that it provides. SMEs benefit particularly strongly from high numbers of visitors travelling to Germany."

Of the 60.3 million overnight stays recorded in 2010, visitors from other European countries accounted for more than 76 per cent. Both holiday and business travel were up strongly.

Said Mrs Hedorfer: "Since 2004, Germany has continuously outperformed the rest of Europe in terms of growth, and on the popularity scale now ranks second, behind Spain and ahead of France. Italy and Austria are fourth and fifth."

This year, Germany is projecting another boom thanks to international events such as the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011 and the celebrations surrounding the 125th anniversary of the motor car.

Domestic travel is also booming. Said Mrs Hedorfer, "In 2010 the number of overnight stays by domestic travellers in hotels and guesthouses with more than nine beds and on campsites increased by 2 per cent year on year. In total, the German Federal Statistical Office registered more than 320 million overnight stays in Germany by domestic visitors - a record number.

According to EUROSTAT, this makes Germany the biggest internal tourism market in Europe, with an average of four overnight stays per head of population in their own country.

Another research company IPK International reports that major cities were the biggest winners, particularly Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. Germany's capital recorded an increase in overnight stays of 7.7 percent, while Hamburg managed a rise of 8.6 per cent. Munich did slightly better with growth of 8.7 per cent. Frankfurt also recorded a significant increase (12.2 per cent) in overnight stays by German visitors.

Several culturally and historically important cities with a population of less than 500,000, also recorded growth. Munster, for example, recorded more than 1.1 million overnight stays by domestic visitors in 2010 (+7.7 per cent). Heidelberg was up by just under 6 per cent to around 600,000 overnight stays.

The positive trend in the towns and cities also rippled out into the neighbouring regions, some of which recorded double-digit growth figures.

In 2013, the GNTB plans to target younger groups with its theme of 'Germany for young people - vibrant, fashionable, innovative'. It will also mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the music composer Richard Wagner by promoting Germany's classical music heritage in selected source markets.

ITB Berlin: "An Event With No Limit"

[ Trade Release ] Posted by nattanich on 2011/7/20 13:40:24 (6825 reads)
Imtiaz Muqbil

Prof Dr Manfred Busche, chairman of Messe Berlin, launched the ITB Berlin in 1966 and watched it grow into the world?s largest trade show. In this interview with Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil he indulges in a little nostalgia, discusses the secrets of ITB's success and his plans after retirement in June 1999.


A tribute to Prof Dr Manfred Busche, Chairman of the Board, Messe Berlin, home of ITB Berlin, the world?s largest trade show. Dr Busche will be retiring at the end of June after 33 years of close involvement with an exhibition that has had the greatest influence on the global Travel & Tourism industry. In this interview, he recounts the ITB's origins and the secrets of its success.

Born in 1934 in Aschersleben, eastern Germany, Dr Busche studied economics at Hamburg and Berlin Universities and completed his Ph.D. at Berlin university. Joining the Goethe Institute immediately after, he was posted as deputy director in Cairo between 1962-65.

In 1965, he joined Messe Berlin as deputy director and in 1966, drawing on the experience of his travels through the Middle East and North Africa, launched the ITB. In 1968, he was promoted to managing director and in 1977 to Chairman.

Like a sequoia tree, the ITB has grown from humble beginnings to a mammoth show that nearly anyone who is someone in the Travel & Tourism industry visits at least once in their professional lifetime. Now bursting at over 80 halls and rooms over 149,000 square metres, the 1999 ITB was attended by 7,434 companies and organisations from 190 countries and territories. Foreign exhibitors totalled 5,887 this year. About 7,000 journalists from more than 90 countries and territories registered.

Seeing this growth and the impact the ITB has had on global Travel & Tourism has been a source of some satisfaction. In this interview at the PATA conference in Nagoya, Dr Busche took a trip down memory lane with Travel Impact Newswire.


Imtiaz Muqbil: You are known as the father and founder of ITB.

Dr MB: Founder yes. Father I don't know, maybe grandfather might be better now.

Q: What is the secret of the success of the ITB?

A: Giving it a new dimension every year. No one ITB is the same as the other one. We have to create every ITB like a unique one each year. That is one of the secrets. Every year, an event like that has to be kept new, modern. We have to be close to the new developments which are coming up. Or even those developments that pretend to be 'new' - some are not as new as they pretend to be. But we have to follow developments like everyone and lead ITB to a new and successful dimension every year.

Q: You said that is 'one of the secrets.' Any others?

A: Its very simple. All success stories are very simple. The success story of the ITB is the same. We wanted to create a real international event, a real worldwide-accepted event for and by the industry. It's the only event in the world of tourism that is really international. It is not purely European, airline- or travel agent-dominated or government-dictated or under any other association or grouping. It is not a regional event. It is an event which has no limit. We are open for developments in Latin America, Pacific, and the US and everywhere. We have to serve the world of tourism, those who are part of the world of tourism.

We are really worldwide-orientated. And that is because we are independent. I wanted it to be independent from the very beginning, absolutely independent from the German government, from the European Commission (if it existed at the time), independent from national tourism offices. This is a very simple, primitive, basic idea of the ITB. To keep it open for everybody. This may sound very simple, but it can be sometimes difficult.

Many enterprises and companies have come to us and said they would like to be of assistance. We accepted offers of those kinds only partially, we said 'yes, okay, but we want to remain independent, and serve all parts of the tourism industry. We will not accept being dominated by anyone or any continent or any branch of the industry.'

Q. Do you think the mystique of Berlin had anything to do with it?

A. I don't think it had anything to do with it. On the contrary, one of the wonders is that we are successful inspite of being in Berlin. In the first decade, we had the communist bloc against us. I remember very well when we had to convince the tourism organisations (why they SHOULD participate even though) the event was in this divided city, in the fortress of the western world. The basic idea was not accepted. We had to convince the industry that it would be to their advantage in having a worldwide event dominated by no-one but the tourism industry itself, a totally neutral event. We had to convince even the Germans.

In the beginning they (the Germans) said, 'What are you doing? We do not understand!!' I remember one of the discussions I had with the founders of TUI (Touristik Union International, the giant German tour operator) about 1968 or 1969. He said, 'Give up. It's senseless, you are trying to establish a trade fair for an industry which has nothing to exhibit. A trade fair needs something to exhibit, some product, some machinery. You only have leaflets.' Nevertheless, I convinced him to buy a booth.

Q. How many halls was the first ITB?

A. (laughs) How many halls?!? It was more like how many square metres, only in one hall!! Probably just half of one hall today. Just recently, I discovered by chance a paper describing the aims and philosophies of ITB, which I had written for the second ITB. This was where I described what we should do next after the first ITB. I am very proud to see that until today, the principles of the ITB as it developed are 80-90% unchanged since I wrote that description of the second ITB.

Q.What did it say?

A. What it said - I have it in my home, I treasure it - is that one of the principles is that the trade visitor is the heart of the whole thing. We have to aim at the wishes of the trade visitor, not the travelling public. The general public is the final consumer of everything. But the key person is not the exhibitor, not the tourist, not the journalist, but the trade visitor.

Q. But the trade visitor will only come if the exhibitors are good?

A. Yes, but if you offer one side one thing, the other side will follow. If growth rates are equal on both sides, everybody will be happy. You have to take care of the equilibrium, to create the feeling that there is a strong representation by the important side, and if it is not sufficient, that it will grow to be sufficient. When we had first 10-15 visitors from India, we all knew that that this was not enough. But the fact was: We had 10-15 visitors from India - this was a surprise!! And we said, 'next year we will have 30.' And this was the attention we paid to it and this brought us greater acceptance, and gave hope both to us and to other participants who could now go back and tell their colleagues.

Q. You've had a great personal affinity with the Asia-Pacific. Why?

A. I really don't know. I've had a great respect for the culture and history of this great part of the world. I could imagine myself living in these countries someday. I have had the opportunity to visit nearly every country. I've also been to all the European countries and many other parts of the world, but there?s something special about Asia, about all the PATA countries.

Q: Messe Berlin never discloses financial figures on the performance of the ITB. How profitable is the show?

A: It has been profitable for about last 20 years. But we had to invest a lot of money in the first decade of the ITB. At that time we were small. We had to go to Australia, North America, and many other places to convince the tourism industry that they would need something like the ITB.

Q. How profitable is it compared to other shows at the Messe Berlin.

A. We have four shows which are equal standards - the other three are consumer electronics, green week (for the agricultural and food industry), and a building fair for the construction industry. There is also the Berlin Air show, but there is no profit it, which is now changing.

Q. How much support do you get from the Berlin government?

A. Today, I have no complaints about the acceptance of the ITB, including from the Berlin city government, but I remember going to see one of the senators (city councillors) and explaining to him how important it would be to bring the world to Berlin, and I showed him on a map where the various countries were and what I wanted to achieve. And he hummed and muttered and then remarked, 'Yes this ITB is a very interesting thing and I can see it has some importance but I am not listening and will listen only when it is the size of the Green Week.'

Q. What does he say today?

A. Unfortunately, he's not with us any more.

Q. Which of the profitable shows is the fastest growing?

A. The growth of ITB has been bigger as it started from zero. Consumer electronics and green week are traditional shows that started before ITB. Now we have two new trade fairs of that size.

Q. How much of a competitive threat do you expect the growing number of other travel trade shows to pose to the ITB?

A. I have nothing against all these other trade shows, and they have their aims and responsibilities, and they will exist. I think there is a need for a trade show in Latin America and for a trade fair of similar character in Asia, and perhaps there is a need for three or four of them, including a trade event in North America. These do not mean competition for ITB, but are kind of complementing the ITB. They are part of the bigger picture of the tourism industry. We have to recognise and respect that they are very specific developments in Latin America and North America and nobody within the ITB organisation has anything against it. However, there is a need for one global event, just as when we founded it.

Q. Will the other trade shows hurt the ITB in terms of attendance and financially?

A. They won't hurt attendance at ITB. Financial problems would be a minor issue. The main issue (with trade shows) is that you have to be relevant. You have to maintain your relevance to the industry. The tourism industry has to say that 'this belongs to us and it is our main event.' The ITB is not only big but important because all the decision-makers are there. When the delegates from Australia or any other country come, they come not to see Berlin but to meet these decision-makers.

Q. Has the growth of outbound travel from Germany helped the ITB?

A. Yes it has helped, and it is very important, but by no means is it responsible for creating the importance of ITB. Yes, if German outbound diminished it would create some problems for us. But the majority of the delegates come because they know that they can and will meet the leading people from the tourism industry in all parts of the world. Although some journalists do not realise that.

Q. Will you be applying the same philosophy to International Travel Asia (ITA, the new trade show to be launched in Hong Kong in September)?

A. The ITA's philosophy has to be developed. We have to try, with our dear partner Miller Freeman and see which kind of philosophy will be successful. We are beginning with the tourism ministries in the Asia-Pacific, and rely on the capability and strength of Miller Freeman. They rely on our knowledge of and acceptance in the industry. But in some respects we both have to find what the successful philosophy could be. We are newcomers in the field (of Asian travel trade shows). Other travel events are already taking place - the PATA Travel Mart, the travel show in Shanghai which the Chinese own and support heavily. Let's wait and see.

It is also a sign of our confidence in Hong Kong. We are convinced that Hong Kong is the right place. We had and still have offers from other places in the neighourhood. Even at ITB 1999 somebody said, 'why not take it to our country and we will support you,' and I said 'perhaps one day we may.' But I am personally convinced of the future of Hong Kong. It has a very specific atmosphere for international business and a certain open-mindedness. I know it for many, many years and admire it.

Q. Do the tax advantages of Hong Kong help?

A. In order to make money you have to spend money. ITA is an investment - we have a 50-50 shareholding in ITA. Tax advantages have nothing to do with it. Its just the history, the mentality, the overall situation of Hong Kong in that area. A kind of neutral place to hold a major trade show.

Q. Has any dream of yours gone unfulfilled?

A. We should have at least one major hotel close to the ITB fair ground. This is a very practical problem. We are looking for investors to build a property in conjunction with the fair grounds. The designs are ready, and I know many companies who are interested in managing it. But we need an investor. The plans are for a 140-metre-high hotel, four-stars, about 400 rooms. If I had money, I would invest. We are negotiating with an investor. Hopefully it will be ready by ITB 2002.

Q. What about direct flights?

A. You mean from outside Europe? Yes, this will come, too. This year, Berlin is regaining the status of the capital of Germany. Parliament is coming back and government is back and the importance of Berlin will grow. It is the centre of central Europe, so it will help to convince everyone to create the conditions and establish more non-stop flights from outside.

Q. What are you going to do after retirement?

A. My wife and I have bought a boat, and as our house is located along one of the rivers, we now plan to take a tour through the rivers and canals which can be done any month of the year. Anyway, I'm not completely out of business. I will retain links with Messe Berlin. Last year I was elected President of the world association of trade fairs, which is based in Paris, so I will still be involved with the convention and trade fair industry.
Imtiaz Muqbil

The second of a two-part report on the two technological and geopolitical revolutions set to dominate the agenda at the ITB Berlin between March 9-13. This part focusses on the geopolitical revolution.

On March 9, the ITB Berlin will break new ground in the annals of travel & tourism with a public discussion on the impact of the Middle East crisis on the global tourism industry. Classified as a "Hot Topic" on the programme of the ITB Convention, the panel will be addressed by Hebatallah Ismail Hafez, Middle East Expert, Deutsche Welle, Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Samih Sawiris, Chairman & CEO, Orascom Development.

To be moderated by Prof. Dr. Gudrun Kr?mer, Director of the Berlin Graduate School, Muslim Cultures and Societies, the panel's subject title is appropriately framed as a question: "Middle East Crisis - Flash in the Pan or Permanent Crisis for Tourism?" Asserting that "Political unrest in the Middle East is threatening recovery of tourism after the financial crisis," the preamble sets the agenda for the discussion thus: "How big is the risk that tourism in the region will come to a standstill? Or does the emerging democratic process provide new opportunities for tourism?"

The answers to those questions may actually come from another event. The partner country for this year's ITB is Poland. Amongst the Polish delegation at the ITB opening ceremony will be Lech Walesa, the former Polish president and winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize. Many of today's generation in the travel & tourism industry are probably too young to remember, but Lech Walesa is the former leader of the "Solidarity" trade union at the Gdansk shipyard, where a series of strikes in the late 1970s and early 1980s forced regime change in Poland and triggered a chain of pro-democracy movements in other Iron Curtain countries, leading to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Empire, and the end of the Cold War. Today, similar revolutions will either unfold across the Arab and Islamic worlds and possibly beyond, or strong efforts will be made to suppress them. Either way, the impact on global peace, stability and security and, by extension, travel & tourism, will be substantial.

The timing is perfect for these issues to be aired at the ITB Berlin, the first ITB of the second decade of the 21st century. As the first decade was dominated by discussions of the impact on travel tourism of pandemics, natural disasters, financial and crises, and climate change, it is long overdue for the geopolitics of regime change to be factored into the mainstream agenda. Indeed, global geopolitics, as manifested by one of its primary outcomes, the so-called "war on terror", has impacted on travel & tourism all through the first decade. The industry has been remiss in ignoring it, except in terms of its impact on "safety and security." Now, that taboo is set to be well & truly broken.

Although likely to be controversial, a rationale and fact-based discussion will be healthy for the industry as a whole. The path to health and wellness, as any practitioner of this rapidly growing industry sector knows, lies in asking the right questions, correctly diagnosing the symptoms in order to identify the cause, and then prescribing the correct solution. Recovery can often be a painful process, require behavioural changes, a lot of patience and, quite often, a second opinion. But nothing can be achieved by living in denial, or without recognising that many ailments are self-inflicted. Sweeping issues under the carpet is suicidal.

The questions awaiting the panel at the ITB Convention are only a fraction of the many more that need to be asked. Hence, this essay will do just that. As a born-and-brought-up Asian, a Muslim of Indian origin, now living in Bangkok, I feel myself to be well-placed to pose them. Professionally, it is my competitive advantage as a journalist to have covered some of the most tumultuous events in recent history in both the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Each of those events leaves a legacy of lessons and mistakes that need to be avoided if history is not to repeat itself.

One lesson that stands out in this new world order is that it is not possible to fool all the people all the time. Hence, accountability is set to become a two-way street. A dominant feature of this resurgence of the Arab/Islamic worlds is the increasing assertiveness of its opinion-shapers and zero tolerance for attempts to insult our intelligence. Just two examples can be cited:

<> On February 18, the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning all Israeli settlements established in occupied Palestinian territory since 1967 as illegal, saying that while it agreed that the settlements are illegitimate the resolution harmed chances for peace talks. As an example of the outrage that followed, and the subsequent impact on the image of the U.S. in the Arab/Islamic worlds, I invite readers to the following commentary in Arab News.

<> On 23 February, the Council on American-Islamic Relations of the Greater Los Angeles Area, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, and the law firm Hadsell Stormer Keeny Richardson & Renick LLP announced that they have filed a federal class action lawsuit against the FBI for infiltrating mainstream mosques in Southern California and targeting Muslim Americans for surveillance solely because of their religion. In its deposition, it said, "For over 14 months between 2006 and 2007, FBI agents planted an informant in Orange County mosques who posed as a convert to Islam and through whom the FBI collected names, telephone numbers, e-mails, and other information on hundreds of California Muslims."

At the ITB Convention, diplomatic niceties may require the panellists to mince their words. But Travel Impact Newswire faces no such inhibition. Here are a range of questions on issues that will influence the geopolitics of the new world order, including events in the Middle East. Their impact on travel & tourism is obvious.

1. How much money is being consumed by the world's militaries on a daily basis? How can a world so dominated by the merchants of death ever be able to live in peace?

2. The first decade of the 21st century was plagued by numerous "sicknesses". At least two major ones were man-made: climate change and the financial crisis. Who was primarily responsible for both? Who should be held accountable? Are the prescribed solutions really going to work?

3. What results have been achieved by the "war on terror?" How much has it cost the world in terms of lives lost, as well as time, money and effort? How has it impacted travel & tourism? Where is the end-game? Who is to be held accountable for the failure?

4. When will the current generation muster the courage to accept responsibility for the shameful legacy of environmental and economic debt, geopolitical mayhem and financial crises it is set to leave behind for the future generation to inherit and clean up? When will the future generation start demanding such accountability from the current generation?

5. What has the West learnt from its days of colonisation? The French, Dutch, British, Spaniards, Portuguese and others at some stage or another of their histories colonised large swathes of land mass in Africa, Asia and Latin America? All those empires faded and receded. What lessons did the former colonisers learn from those eras?

6. As no empires last forever, what is the future of the United States? What will be implications of its slow but steady decline in the power, prestige, influence? Will it accept this ageing process gracefully? In many economic and political forums, there is widespread concern about the country's ability to sustain such a large military expenditure, trade and budget deficits. When will the American street start asking serious questions about what it is getting in return for its tax dollars, and rise up in the same way as the Arab street?

7. Is the United States the same country it once was? Whatever happened to the country of the Vietnam and Watergate eras when a robust media and the Woodstock generation could end wars and bring down lying presidents? How much damage has been done by the replacement of yesterday's crusading journalists with today's embedded journalists, who are in bed with the U.S. government, lobbyists, the defence establishment and private companies?

8. Does the West seriously think it can dominate and control the aspirations of 1.2 billion Muslims with all their geographical, cultural, demographic, political and economic diversity?

9. Will the debate to come be approached from a "west is best" or "might is right" attitude? Or will it be a dialogue between equals based on mutual respect?

10. No discussion about the changing geopolitics of the Middle East and future relations between Arab/Islamic worlds and West can avoid the issue of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. What can the travel & tourism industry do to help provide statehood and independence and freedom of movement for the people of Palestine, and uphold the right of all people to visit Palestine as an independent state, not as an occupied territory of Israel?

11. Are Western values what they used to be? Why are right-wing parties and extremist movements with xenophobic agendas on the rise in the West? If Western societies are becoming less tolerant, less democratic and less passionate about their long-cherished love for justice and human rights, then can it be denied that the fanatics of all ilks are really winning?

12. If the world is seeing the rise of Brazil, India, Russia and China, and now the Arab/Islamic worlds, why are more forums not devoted to hearing the views of the people of these countries, especially contrarian views that challenge the conventional wisdoms coming from the capitals of the West? Why do most international conferences and events continue to be dominated by largely Western companies and institutions?

13. How can the Arab and Islamic-majority countries? autocrats, royal families and leaders start creating truly representative forums that will unleash the creativity of their peoples, especially the young? How can the Arab/Islamic worlds avoid being continuously divided and ruled, or becoming victim of a new form of colonialism? How can it confront the blatant racial profiling and targetting of Muslims in the West?

14. What is being done to ensure transparency, accountability at a global level? Just like the 1997 Asian financial crisis showed, the recent global financial crisis was the result of cronyism between speculators, hedge fund operators, private equity funds, agenda-driven think tanks and their connections to corrupt Western politicians and government officials. As one of the Oscar Academy Award winners told the world last week, not a single one of these crooks has been sent to jail.

15. Are multinational companies becoming much too powerful and unaccountable? What can be done to ensure more transparency, accountability and checks and balances in their operations?

16. Is the existing world order really democratic? Or are international forums and institutions much too heavily dominated by the rich and powerful?

17. What checks and balances are in place to monitor the activities of intelligence and security agencies which often act as laws unto themselves?

18. Does the world need to seek a new development model? Does it need to rethink the way it does business in order to create a fair, balanced and just system? How can the travel & tourism industry contribute to this?

19. Does the travel & tourism industry need to adopt a bottoms-up approach, and listen more to the views and concerns of the people at the grassroots of society and communities? Why hasn't it done so so far?

20. And the mother-lode questions: Why has not a single western leader been held accountable for the war in Iraq and the lies told to the world about the non-existent weapons of mass destruction? And why, inspite of billions spent on the best intelligence money can buy, is Osama bin Laden still on the run 10 years after the 9/11 attacks?


These are difficult and challenging questions on the future of global geopolitical landscape. Yes, this process of flux will have a deep and lasting impact on travel & tourism. As an industry of peace, devoted to respecting cultures and building friendships, travel & tourism can be a part of the solution. The ITB Berlin 2011 has taken a bold and courageous step forward by becoming the first to initiate a long overdue discussion.

If the global situation today is not what global leaders would have wanted to see when planning the future 10 years ago, then it is imperative for everyone to assess what went wrong, whether the prescribed solutions are working and if not, whether the medical procedure needs to be changed or a new medical team consulted, or both. Clearly, business as usual is not an option.

One thing for sure, the Arab/Muslim street is on the rise. And accountability will prove to be a two-way street.And accountability will prove to be a two-way street.