……but says it was in the best interest of all
The Zambian Embassy in Berlin regrets the cancellation of the Berlin global travel show popularly known as the ITB. German authorities took the decision following concerns over the continued spread of the coronavirus which has affected about 30 countries around the world and killed hundreds while more people continue to get infected.
Zambia’s Ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Anthony Mukwita has appealed to the Zambian tour operators who were geared to attend the travel show not to be discouraged as the decision was taken in the best of everyone as health and life are more important than anything else.
“We regret the loss in potential business opportunities that may have come out of the contacts that are made during ITB. However, governments have an obligation to safeguard life hence the very difficult decision that has been made”, Ambassador Mukwita says.
The Ambassador urged the private sector in the hospitality industry in Zambia to look ahead and plan for next year’s event expressing hope that the efforts of governments around the world and the scientific community will soon find a solution to the coronavirus and its effects.
Christian Goke, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin said his organization takes seriously its responsibility for the health of its guests, exhibitors and employees.
“It is with a heavy heart that we look forward to the cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020, which has now become necessary”, he said.
10,000 organizations from 180 countries were expected to attend ITB 2020 while an estimated 100,000 visitors were expected to visit the venue, Messe Berlin, between the 4th and 8th of March during the show.
Taking into account the fact that Germany has a number of coronavirus cases as well as other European countries such as Italy, health authorities took the unprecedented action to cancel an event that has been running for the past 54 years.
Of that period, Zambia has been attending the event for more than three decades. In 2017, the country took the second position of Convention and Culture Partner alongside the organizers giving the country more visibility at the show than any other exhibitor.
The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the business community around the world with the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors taking particular hit.