ITB: Turkey's tourism was kicked out of “Europe” to the “Middle East”, but even there it was pushed back by Saudi Arabia

Turkey was squeezed out at one of the largest and most important tourism fairs in the world, ITB Berlin: the country suffering from earthquakes and crisis did not find a full-fledged place on the stands and halls of the exhibition dedicated to European countries. Representatives were assigned to the “Middle East” hall, but the main place there was occupied by the “new owner”, who was previously called the largest beneficiary of the armed conflict in Ukraine.

The International Tourism Exchange in Berlin, which opened for the first time after a long break for covid, is taking place this year from 7 to 9 March. During the downtime, much has changed both in tourism and in the world. An accident or following the political situation in the world, however, the fact that Turkey, one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, seemed to have remained “superfluous”, and its distribution at the exhibition seemed to have passed according to the residual principle, did not escape attention. In addition to large Turkish companies, such as Turkish Airlines, the country's hotel chains, stands of health tourism companies were located in a close row. Their goal is to remind solvent Germans, one of the most important markets for Turkey, and guests from other countries about the beauty and accessibility of the republic.

Judge for yourself. If earlier representatives of Turkey at the tourism fair were “assigned” to “Europe”, now this year it was sent to the “Middle East” department. However, in the hall, stands belonging to Turkey and Turkish travel companies were also symbolically moved away – the free space was occupied by the stands of Saudi Arabia, a country that, after Europe's call to abandon Russian oil, received unexpected economic results. Rising demand for crude has made Saudi Aramco the world's most valuable oil company, according to the New Statesman. However, experts urged the West not to flatter themselves about reducing dependence on Russian hydrocarbons and to remember why Saudi Arabia is dangerous. Saudi Arabia, which has begun to invest heavily in the development of resort tourism, has rented large areas at the exhibition, according to expert estimates.

Help: ITB Berlin is the International Tourism Exchange in Berlin, the largest and most respected tourism fair in the world. This year, the event opened its doors for the 54th time at the large Messe Berlin exhibition grounds. Tour operators, booking systems, airlines, hotels, cultural sites from around the world, car rental and other tourist services are annually presented at the stands and in the halls of the exhibition, whose turnover is about 5 billion euros. ITB was founded in 1966 by the German entrepreneur Manfred Busche. Then the event was attended by only five countries – Brazil, Guinea, Egypt, Iraq, West Germany and 250 tourism professionals. Currently, more than 5.5 thousand specialists from 150 countries take part in the fair. In 2023, Georgia became the guest country of the fair, which was officially opened by the German Minister of Economics and Climate Protection Robert Habeck.

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