ITB Berlin: Secret Bilbao’s Bleisure
Last March, the ITB Berlin Fair was held, one of the largest and most important fairs in the world as far as tourism and travel are concerned and an important “shop-window” in which different countries, regions, towns and cities and even private companies in the tourism sector all meet so that people can learn more about them and the services they offer.
I wanted to travel there this year so I packed my case, put lots of leaflets about Secret Bilbao in it too, and set out for the Fair without knowing exactly what I was going to find. I flew direct to Berlin: my first visit ever to this sprawling city. Ufff! Berlin’s 3.5 million inhabitants make it the biggest city in Germany but, more than the city’s sheer size, the thing that struck me most was a feeling of a “special something in the air” as I strolled about the city, a sensation that’s very hard to express in words. Berlin is a city living in the present, just like all the others, but with one eye firmly fixed on the future without forgetting its turbulent past. Fascinating, don’t you agree? But, independently of all this, it’s a city in which all types of tourism co-exist, from the sheer luxury offered by the most important and well-known Middle East airlines to the hop-on, hop-off buses for tourists found all over the city.
Getting back to the International Tourism Fair of Berlin, however, I’d like to mention that, this year, it was dedicated to responsible, adventure and ecologic tourism thus coinciding with the celebration of 2017 being the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, a year in which we’ll see changes in business policies and practices as well as consumer behaviour in general, the objective of which is to make the tourism sector a much more sustainable one.
ITB Berlin represented a tremendous opportunity for me in many ways: where else could I do networking, and offer the services of Secret Bilbao to companies that would have cost me an arm and a leg to reach otherwise?? One such company was Voya, thanks to whom I was introduced to the concept of bleisure: curiously enough, this is exactly what Secret Bilbao provides and was, indeed, exactly what I myself was doing in Berlin.
Business with leisure is one of the most important trends in urban tourism over the past few years. This type of tourism consists of the combination of a business trip with a couple of days free-time at the business destination. It’s certainly the kind of tourism that should be taken into careful consideration. After all, according to research carried out by booking.com for “Business”, 49% of business travellers have extended their trip to include other places or countries during 2016. And the percentage is increasing.
One of the services offered by Secret Bilbao is precisely that of bleisure designed for people travelling on business, but who would like to tack on a couple of days of their own time in order to make the most of their business trip. On the one hand, we provide businessmen and women with everything they might need to do their job at their destination while, on the other, offering them the opportunity to extend their stay with special offers and discounts concerning their free-time, gastronomy and wine to let them learn a little more about Bilbao, San Sebastian and La Rioja.
ITB Berlin also gave me the fantastic opportunity of getting to know more about an important cruise company such as tui cruises and learning that their themed cruises are very successful indeed. I also had the chance to contact representatives from countries such as Japan and the U.S.A. and different LGTB groups and organisations, all possible market segments of great interest for Secret Bilbao since they are becoming increasingly important with each passing year.
For all this and a lot more besides, Dank ITB!, Vielen Dank Berlin!