COVID-19 cancels ITB Berlin 2020 

February 29, 2020 - 20:10

TEHRAN – International Tourism Fair (ITB) Berlin has been canceled due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, organizers said on Friday.

The fair was due to take place from March 4 to 8, with around 10,000 planned exhibitors, including Iranian travel marketers, tour operators, airlines, hoteliers and craftspeople.

The massive fair was called off following advice from Berlin’s health and economics ministries, and after its health authority asked organizers to impose stricter controls on potential visitors, Messe Berlin announced.

“Due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Economics have stated their opinion that ITB Berlin be cancelled.”

Dr. Christian Goke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH, said: “With more than 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries ITB Berlin is extremely important for the world’s tourism industry. We take our responsibility for the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors and employees very seriously. It is with a heavy heart that we must now come to terms with the cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020.”

“Not once in the 54-year history of the event have ITB Berlin and Messe Berlin experienced a similar situation. We would like to thank all exhibitors and partners from all over the world who over the past few days and weeks have stood by ITB Berlin. We look forward to continuing the trusted relationship with our partners in the market,” Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Berlin Wolf-Dieter Wolf said.

The death toll in China, where the virus originated, is nearing 2,800 and the country has almost 79,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Outside mainland China, the virus has spread to more than 45 countries, claiming an excess of 50 lives and infecting north of 3,000 people.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.