#COVID19 – GERMAN GOVERNMENT DIRECTS ‘MESSE BERLIN‘ TO CANCEL ITB
(Posted 28th February 2020)
In his first column for ATCNews has Mohammed Hersi, one of Kenya’s most high profile tourism personalities, taken issue with the growing CoronaVirus crisis.
Read his unedited thoughts why he thinks ITB should be postponed this year:
The world is facing one of its worst health crisis since the last spanish flu that left more than 50 million dead. COVID19 Virus that is believed to have broken out in December was only officially recognised as a threat in mid January and so far over 80,000 have been infected and over 2700 deaths majority 95% happening China and at the epicentre of the virus in Wuhan.
Recently the virus has spread to other parts of the world with speed that has puzzled many and Italy right in the heart of Europe seems to bear the weight for no known reason .
In the coming week, before the biggest tourism fair in the world is supposed to be happening in Berlin / Germany, over 10,000 exhibitors, 150 countries and over 100,000 [tourism trade stakeholders] will be attending. ITB is bringing entire creme de la creme of tourism industry [to Berlin].
General managers, Managing Directors, Directors of Sales and Marketing and many many owners of [the entire cross section of tourism businesses] hotels, airlines and tour companies.
If they ever contract the virus it is straight to their hotels / guests and offices. It is the easiest way to kill global tourism which is already reeling from the bad news alone.
Then take Berlin a peaceful city that will be left to deal with the mess left behind .
Skipping one ITB is NOT the end of the world . The risk far outweighs the benefit.
The Corona Virus is NOT some terrorist who can physically be stopped. Chest thumping is misplaced here.
The world should focus on how to starve Corona of new carriers and victims.
My fellow tourism players, it’s official this is a big challenge and we ought to be more careful .
To the authorities in Germany and organizers of ITB please call off ITB . Let us live another day to have another ITB.
Mohammed Hersi is also the Chairman of Kenya Tourism Federation.
These are his personal views as a weekly columnist.