The city of Berlin is acting irresponsibly. It’s about money and not about protecting citizens and 100,000 visitors from across the globe. This is the opinion and response from many insiders in the travel and tourism industry. eTurboNews still predicts cancellation of ITB.
An eTurboNews survey is receiving daily NO to ITB for a full week. Many exhibitors told eTN they just simply cannot afford to write off the investment of their stand. Going to Berlin will not be fun is the overall response.
Today the German Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) agrees and said in a press conference referring to ITB: “I personally believe that you should not perform,” according to the German Wirtschaftswoche.
That Risk at such a large tourism fair with representatives from those affected regions and with an expected 150,000 visitors is not calculable.
However, a firm recommendation will be forthcoming tomorrow on Friday. The German government’s crisis team on the Coronavirus will be working on it, Seehofer announced. The cancellation of such a large event is “due to force majeure. It is like a hurricane or an illness,” said Seehofer to the newspaper. The final decision rests with the State of Berlin.
eTurboNews, therefore, stands on its prediction from 3 days ago, that it should be expected that ITB will be canceled at the last minute.
Who will pay? Obviously the loss to exhibitors, visitors, the City of Berlin, Messe Berlin, the many hotels, and airlines will be enormous. For ITB being forced to cancel versus making their own deision would show corporate greed at its highest level. It will cause additional damage since many exhibitors and visitors already left and had purchased non-refundable hotel and airline arrangements.
Just today, the CIty of Berlin responded to eTurboNews after already the Robert Koch institute supported cancellation. The response by the Berlin Senate referred to maintaining hygiene. Lena Högemann, media spokesperson for the Berlin Health Department, also added that a doctor was assigned to ITB and is in constant contact to assure safety.
Looking at paragrapgh 9.1 of the agreement between Messe Berlin (ITB) and exhibitors it says: If the event is canceled due to higher force (authority) and in case neither Messe Berlin or the exhibitor has caused, exhibitors will not have to pay their stand fees.
This is important and will reimburse exhibitors for the majority of their costs.