ITB Berlin 2020, one of the the world's leading travel trade shows, was due to take place 4-8 March, but has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis.
It’s the first time in its 54-year history that the show has been cancelled, and the announcement was made just four days before the event was due to start.
In a post on Facebook, the organisers said: “Messe Berlin had made it known for weeks that a decision on holding or cancelling large-scale events would only be taken based on the recommendations or instructions of the relevant specialist authorities.
"Only they possess the necessary information and specialist knowledge in order to draw the right conclusions.”
However, IMEX Frankfurt organisers are still confident that their event – an exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events – will go ahead as planned in May.
“We currently have no plans to postpone or cancel our show despite some major events cancelling across Europe in the past few days,” said an update from IMEX Group chairman Ray Bloom, and CEO Carina Bauer, on the IMEX website.
“This unprecedented situation is changing daily so we remain watchful but also focused on delivering what is an extremely important event for the global business events community.”
At the time of the ITB cancellation, there were just 60 cases of Coronavirus in Germany, but ITB officials feared that thousands of conference attendees might cause a spike in cases.
Since then, the total number of reported infections has risen to 264 as of Wednesday evening, according to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's centre for disease control and prevention.
While the city state of Berlin currently has nine cases of the virus, Frankfurt’s state of Hesse has 12.
IMEX organisers have confirmed that they are in regular contact with the German Convention Bureau, Messe Frankfurt, the Frankfurt Tourist Office, and the appropriate authorities, including travel and health advisory bodies nationally and globally. They are also consulting on what sanitary measures should be in place at the show.
“We’re aware that there’s a lot of speculation and hype surrounding the impact of Covid-19 globally and that it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction,” the statement continued.
“Above all, we believe it’s important not to overreact but to keep this global health issue in context.”
As well as the ITB Berlin 2020 cancellation, ITB India has been postponed to 2021 and ITB China, which was originally scheduled to be held in Shanghai in May, is also cancelled.
Global event cancellations and postponements
Other MICE industry events that have been cancelled or postponed include:
More widely, global cancellations and postponements include:
- Google I/O 2020
- Miptv 2020
- Facebook F8 developer conference
- Game Developers Conference
- The Asia leg of Stormzy's worldwide tour
- Lunar New Year Parade, Paris
- Beijing and Shanghai Fashion Weeks
- Ultra Music Festival, Miami
- Release of the James Bond film No Time To Die has been pushed back from April to November
- In rugby, the Six Nations games between Italy and Ireland, as well as Italy and England have been postponed
- Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Vevo and Intel are just some of the companies that have pulled out of attending South by Southwest 2020 (SXSW) in Austin, Texas
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