Green Pearls® impressions of the ITB 2018

When you work for an organization that specializes in sustainability, of course you walk through life with a heightened awareness of this topic. Our Green Pearls® team noticed this again on the ITB last week – ITB stands for “Internationale Tourismusbörse Berlin” and is the leading fair of the tourism industry. Let us share our impressions with you.

Good will

At the very latest since the year of sustainable tourism in 2017, the international tourism fair has positioned itself in the area of sustainability and emphasizes the importance of social and ecological responsibility. Like other large companies, the ITB supports suitable partners and social projects. And in its sheet on environmental protection the fair informs about its measures to increase energy efficiency or the environmentally friendly disposal of waste. Moreover, the ITB offers some simple tips for a sustainable trade show presence.

Single use products – there is a better way

So far, so good. Nevertheless, it makes sense to compare these goals and values with the reality at the fair. At least, we can confirm the existence of separate containers for cardboard or paper, glass, packaging and other waste in public areas – even if it actually is a standard in Germany by now. Still, we couldn’t help noticing that despite the well-meant tips for a sustainable trade show presence – for example to avoid disposable plates and cutlery or to ask for certified organic and fair trade products when it comes to catering – there was hardly a sign of this in the public areas. Large chains dominated the food and beverage supply and disposable dishes could be seen nearly everywhere, from paper cups in situations where an actual cup would also have worked to cups, plates and cutlery made from plastic.

Even if we could find some fresh fruit here and there, the offered food was mainly fast food: hot dogs, burgers, French fries. It is doubtful whether the use of regional or organic products played a role in their production. So, there is still a lot of work to be done until the ITB will meet its own criteria of sustainability. It remains to be seen how serious it is about the established rules.

A spirit of change in the tourism industry

Even though these observations have not really reinforced the impression that tourism is on its way towards more sustainability, this is exactly what we found during our visits at the booths of hotels and destinations. More and more of them position themselves in the area of sustainability and surprise with exciting concepts for protecting the environment and strengthening the social balance at their destination. If you’d like to see some examples, check out the hotels and destinations on our website.


© cover picture: Messe Berlin