Lifestyle / Travel

Tourism trends in 2017: World’s largest travel fair focuses on sustainability, astro-tourism and bicycle tourism

Following wildcats in Costa Rica. Stargazing at Botswana. Riding a bicycle through Amsterdam. ITB Berlin dialogues about the growing popularity and significance of these travel experiences

Mar 17, 2017 | By AFP Relaxnews
Attendees of ITB Berlin will learn about the popularity of astro-tourism.

Attendees of ITB Berlin will learn about the popularity of astro-tourism.

At the world’s largest travel trade fair in Berlin last week, some of the biggest players and experts in the industry discussed the growing importance of sustainable tourism, the rising popularity of astro-tourism, bicycle tourism and wildlife watching.

In line with the UN World Tourism Organization’s designation for 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the overarching theme at ITB Berlin this year was the importance of responsible travel, an umbrella theme that featured exhibitors promoting ecological, adventure and socially responsible tourism.

As part of the theme, the trade fair shone the spotlight on Botswana and the rise of astro-tourism in the country, an emerging trend that aims to inspire in visitors an appreciation of clear, starry night skies, and highlight the dangers of light pollution caused by artificial light.

It is estimated that 60 percent of Europeans and 80 percent of North Americans can no longer see the Milky Way.

Attendees heard from researchers, astronomers and keynote speakers on the importance of darkness for human health and biodiversity.

Experts also spotlighted the rising popularity of what was formerly a niche product bicycle tourism and how it has become a booming sector.

Towards the end of the trade fair, attendees heard about how wildlife tourism is evolving, from whale watching in the Dominican Republic to following wildcats in Costa Rica.

ITB Berlin kicked off March 8 and wrapped up March 12 in Berlin.

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