ITB 2016 Highlights

March 18, 2016

News

In the last week, the ITB took place here in Berlin – the world’s largest tourism trade show, which takes place in Berlin every March and celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. It’s always fun to go to, and this year I was attending with a blogger’s pass for the second time, scouting out all the museums that were exhibiting.

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Individual museums tended to be found largely among the German exhibitors, who focussed more on specific offers in individual cities, whereas international countries exhibiting tended to focus more on the countries, or larger regions within them, as a whole (though please do take in to account that I’m generalising a little here, there were a couple of other countries presenting several individual museums, most notably Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands). I guess with many trade show visitors being from Germany, it makes sense to tempt people with more specific local attractions for ‘staycations’, as you don’t need to convince the German visitors of the country itself as a destination since they are already here.

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One of the highlights, for me, was Switzerland. I’ve never been but always wanted to go, and my conversations with museums from Basel, Zurich, Winterthur and Lausanne have just intensified that. I’ve actually been invited twice on museum blogger trips to Basel, but the first time I was almost 9 months pregnant, and the second time we were in the middle of moving house. Hopefully there will be another opportunity, and it will be third time lucky, but in the mean time I’m excited to try out the new ‘Speed Art’ game which I received at the ITB from the Fondation Beyeler, and to review it for the blog soon. With the European football cup coming up this summer, I was also quite enthused by the newly opened FIFA Football Museum in Zurich, of which I received a virtual tour and which looks amazing, and speaking of sports, the Olympic Museum in Lausanne sounded fantastic too.

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And there was Austria – my ITB visit reminded me of just how much I love Vienna, and that it’s time for a revisit soon! So many old favourites, alongside museums I have yet to see: the MAK, the MUMOK, the Belvedere, the Natural History Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Hundertwasser House and Mozart House, not to forget the MuseumsQuartier…there are too many to name! I think it will have to be a long Vienna trip, haha.

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Closer to home, I discovered that there is a new art museum opening in the historic centre of neighbouring Potsdam next year – the Museum Barberini – and that Potsdam offers a combination ticket for four of its most popular museums, which is valid for one year from date of purchase and gives you some savings. Apparently not that many people know about it, so I said I would mention it on my blog. Speaking of new museums, Switzerland isn’t the only one with a new football museum – in Germany, the Deutsches Fussball Museum recently opened in Dortmund. And in Autumn 2016, the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, one of Germany’s oldest art museums, will reopen in Braunschweig after a seven year refurbishment.

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Of the other existing museums in Germany, there are – as with Vienna – too many to name. I visited countless stalls and had many interesting chats. At this rate, I’ll have to take a year off to travel around Germany, never mind the rest of Europe. One museum that stood out for me, was the Leuchtenburg in Thüringen. Situated in a beautiful old castle 400m high up a mountain, it tells the story of porcelain in seven interactive exhibition halls. My favourite part was 20-metre-long ‘Skywalk of Wishes’, where you can take a piece of china, make a wish, then throw it in to the valley below for good luck and to make your wish come true! Unfortunately, it’s not very accessible by public transport and we don’t have a car, but I’m definitely keeping it on my museum wish list!

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Of course, as well as scouting out museums, I had a wander around the rest of the ITB, which is HUGE! I think next year I will try and take two days to see it. Some stalls had activities to do, such as colouring in good luck charms at the Korean stall, many had samples of food to try, and everything is just so colourful! And, of course, it’s nice to get a few freebies here and there – I managed to significantly increase my collection of museum tote bags! Many thanks to all the museums who contributed!

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If you’re ever thinking of visiting Berlin in the Spring, a trip in early March to include a visit to the ITB is definitely worth it. I went during the week, which is aimed largely at trades people, journalists (including bloggers) etc, but at the weekend it’s aimed at the general public and I heard one of Berlin’s children’s museums had a great activity area set up for families. Next year’s ITB will be from 8th to 12th March. You can find all the up-to-date details on their website.

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