#ITBBerlin 2014: Of Bloggers, Book Projects And A Boosting Network Society

Every year, with the arrival of the first warm rays of spring sunshine, Berlin is host to the world’s largest travel trade show: ITB Berlin. It is a harbour of creativity, alive with the smiles and warmth of peoples from all over the world coming to network, learn, communicate and share. “Granny, ITB is likely as big as the city you live in”, I recall explaining a few weeks ago while talking about my travels to Berlin. You need at least half an hour to cross the entire exhibition grounds, if not more: Over 20 large halls display the international travel trade show on several floors! The key to success at this “ITB marathon”? Having a plan. Knowing your priorities. Good shoes. And lots of business cards.

Los geht's: Die größte Tourismusmesse der Welt am ICC Messezentrum Berlin beeindruckt jedes Jahr aufs Neue.

Off we go: The largest travel trade show in the whole world held at ICC Messe Berlin continues to impress trade visitors like me.


Offizielles Partnerland der ITB Berlin ist Mexiko, welches uns gleich mal wie hier abgebildet begrüßt.

Mexico is the official partner country of ITB Berlin 2014, welcoming us to dragons and …


... oder hier abgebildet begrüßt!

… VW Beetles. Quite original, I would say!


Das Schönste am Reisen jedoch ist der Austausch mit & Kontakt zu den Menschen eines exotischen Landes. In der Messehalle 1.1 sieht der Empfang Mexiko's dann so aus!

However, being with and learning from the people of a travel destination is what matters most in my eyes. Here, we share moments with Mexicans in Hall 1.1: I feel perfectly reminded of the wealth (and warmth) of colours during my South America travels …


... die den mitunter etwas nüchternen Business-Stil der Fachmesse ITB entgegen wirkt: Zu Terminen laufen wir hier einmal rund um die Welt quer durch die Messehallen Berlins.

… somewhat serving to offset the otherwise more functional atmosphere at ITB Berlin: People hurrying around the fair grounds to attend meetings and conferences.


Genialer Nebeneffekt: "Endlich treffen wir uns", rufen Reisebloggerin Claudi um die Welt und ich aus. Virtuell "folgen" wir einander schon über ein Jahr .. Gelobt sei das New Media Digital Age. ;)

What ITB also does is bringing the right people together, those with a common passion, knowledge or interest. Here I am sharing cocktail drinks in “South America” with my travel blogger friend “Claudi um die Welt”, who after more than one year of online sharing I finally get to meet in person. Yay!


(Travel)Bloggers are the new digital media stars at ITB Berlin. They communicate, network and host a number of talks. The international travel world is impressed …

… and by long already working with and responding to our network of digital media experts. More than 200 national and international bloggers have been accredited for ITB Berlin in 2014. What makes professional travel bloggers? Among others, a certain market reach, measured by key numbers and (Social Media) statistics. I am happy to note that my own website “Creativelena.com” has already neared 100.000 page views since its early beginnings, now averaging some good 2.500 unique readers a month – media statistics that continue to rise thanks to the growing influence of Social Media interactions. And the best thing about it is the following formula: 1+1=3! Bloggers and online travel writers like us share thoughts with interested tourism companies through professional, so-called “Blogger-Speeddatings“, meet each other at ITB media centre, gather for “iambassador-Travel Tweet-ups” or host a number of other, different networking events. The result? Interest as well as numbers & Social Media figures are on the rise. A virtual buzz, if you wish: Sharing related content via the use of #hashtags (Social Media keywords) cause a real wave to ripple through the online community.  It certainly is exciting enough.

Now how am I going to explain all that to my granny? 🙂

"Für Blogger": Das zum zweiten Mal erfolgreich durchgeführte Blogger-Speeddating auf der ITB Berlin bringt erfahrene Reiseblogger & an Kooperationen interessierte Tourismusunternehmen zusammen.

“For Bloggers”: Taking place for the second time this year, the so-called Blogger-Speeddating brings together professional travel bloggers and tourism industry members looking for opportunities to cooperate and connect.


(Was bitteschön ist ein "Blogger-Speeddating?") Das sieht dann so aus!

(So what does a “Blogger-Speeddating” look like?). Let me show you here!


Neben "Speeddatings" & Co. nehmen wir uns übrigens auch mal ganz viel Zeit für einander: Mit meinen lieben Freundinnen & Reiseblogger-KollegInnen Monique & Janett von www.Teilzeitreisender.de teilen wir uns gar die AirBnB-Unterkunft in Berlin. Hier grinsen wir beim Bloggertreffen der Tirol Werbung in die Kamera - Danke für den tollen Aufenthalt, Mädels!

Besides “Speeddatings” and else, we do also love taking a lot more time for each other celebrating the opportunity to be together at last. With Monique & Janett, both writing for www.Teilzeitreisender.de, I even share an AirBnB apartment during our time in Berlin. Here we are, laughing into the camera at a blogger event hosted by Tirol Werbung at ITB Berlin.


Eine weitere und international erfolgreiche Reiseblogger-Kollegin möchte ich Euch hier vorstellen: Anja Beckmann von www.TravelOnToast.de spricht auf der ITB Berlin über das spannende Thema der Stunde "Blogger Relations".

Another important and successful travel blogger from Germany is my colleague Anja Beckmann, of www.TravelOnToast.de. At ITB Berlin, she talks about what matters most in “Blogger Relations”.


Das Publikum lauscht gespannt: Anja's vollständigen ITB-Bericht & Präsentation könnt Ihr hier ansehen.

The audience is listening: Check out Anja’s full story here.


Auch Melvin Böcher, Gründer der erfolgreichen Reiseplattform www.TravelDudes.org, spricht über Social Media und die Macht der #Hashtags (Keywords) im Internet.

Melvin Böcher, founder of the very successful online travel network www.TravelDudes.org, also talks at ITB eTravel Lounge about Social Media and the power of #hashtags (keywords) when searching the web for informed travel decisions.


But it does not stop there. Now the UNWTO World Tourism Organization is impressed with us travel writers & Social Media experts, too.

At the end of his ITB talk, leading creative tourism analyst Greg Richards even goes as far as saying, “Elena, you should know more about this than I do, since you are the one actually travelling around the world (and reporting about it)!”

So what is happening here? Even myself, I am often too stunned to believe it all, though I am right in the centre of this fast-moving, spinning world of online society. Back in 2004, I have first travelled to ITB Berlin as a young student – at a time where Facebook and the power of bloggers as digital opinion leaders was not even heard of. How was I to know that ten years later, I would be coming back as a professional travel blogger / online travel writer? On my ITB badge in 2014, it is written “Elena Paschinger. Austria. Blogger”. It certainly is cool!

Back in 2005, I have been on an internship with the United Nations World Tourism Organization in Madrid. Now, it is me who is talking to my former colleagues here at ITB about the likes of creative cultural tourism research as well as effective communication through blogs & Social Media. Wow. Happy as can be, I walk away from my inspirational one-hour talk with them, only to be welcomed to another promising travel blogger event. A world we live in …

Die ITB Culture Lounge bringt renommierte Experten & Vortragende rund um das Thema "Kulturtourismus" zusammen.

The ITB Culture Lounge brings international experts and speakers focusing on “culture tourism development” together – an amazing opportunity for me working in this field.


Hier lausche ich DEM Experten für Creative Culture Tourism weltweit: Greg Richards! Ein Mentor für jemanden wie mich, der sich seit vielen Jahren mit aktiv mit diesem Reisethema befasst.

Here, I get to listen to THE creative culture tourism expert worldwide: Greg Richards! A mentor and a mastermind in many ways for the likes of myself dealing with creative culture tourism around the world.


Die internationale Definition von "Creative Tourism" entwickelt sich genauso wie das Phänomen selbst, ständig weiter.

Just as much as the creative travel phenomenon itself, the definition of creative tourism keeps evolving. Note the growing importance of technology, such as digital publishing through blogs or Social Media, at the intersection of the creative economies and tourism worldwide.


Neben mir sind viele zur Diskussion rund um das Thema "Kreativ Reisen" gekommen.

A lot have come to attend Greg’s session about creative culture tourism development.


Und schließlich einer meiner Höhepunkte der diesjährigen ITB Berlin: Das Gespräch mit meinen KollegInnen und Kollegen der UNWTO World Tourism Organization aus Madrid. Stolz präsentieren wir neue Möglichkeiten der Zusammenarbeit im Kulturtourismus!

And finally, one of the highlights of my time at ITB Berlin: Presenting new forms of cooperation in culture tourism with my colleagues from UNWTO United Nations World Tourism Organization. Loved it !!


Last but not least, I am actually using ITB Berlin “predominantly” as a research facility for my next round the world trip and book project.

Yes guys. I could, but I do not have to. Travelling around the world once more. Writing a book. Now you know this much, dear readers. But who of you, living with the travel bug, would not be tempted to seize this incredibly exciting opportunity? Next to my friends & family, you are now officially the first ones to know. These upcoming travel plans are going to be the basis for a long desired project of mine: Writing my very first book. A life dream for me, the very thought making me feel giddy and happy on the inside! Also, or especially, when you have already written almost 400 travel articles as an online travel writer at www.Creativelena.com. ITB is centre stage in all of this right now. Here, I have come to research creative destinations all over the world, from Vanuatu to the Philippines, from Santa Fe to Madagascar. The first talks already prove to offer a lot of emotions, adventure and beautiful experiences on the way ahead. Travelling the creative way, in sync with the local populations on this planet Earth is simply who and how I am – and this is what I intend to share with you in my book. As a practical and useful travel handbook for travellers worldwide. I AM SO MUCH LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS! All my emotions, then, go into the ITB press conference talking about our national association Creative Tourism Austria. I have a feeling it all falls into place: Quality, reliability, a creative vision spiced with humour and the eternal trust that life is good and full of exciting, fulfilling opportunities. Bring it on, then, I say!


Recherchieren auf der ITB Berlin: Das Partnerland Mexiko bietet dafür ein eigenes, virtuelles Ausstellerverzeichnis an.

Doing research at ITB Berlin: The official partner country Mexico even offers a virtual guide to all their exhibitors in hall 1.1 – a practical invention!


Im Südpazifik erzählen mir diese beiden charmanten Damen spannende Möglichkeiten über Kreativ-Reisen auf Vanuatu, wie Kokosnuss-Schnitzen, Wassermusik komponieren oder Sandmalerei lernen!

Here at South Pacific Vanuatu island, these two charming ladies tell me all there is to know about creative culture travel in the Pacific, such as nut carving, sand drawings or underwater music with the local women in Vanuatu island. Wow: I guess I “have to go” to the South Pacific, then. 😉


Japan erzählt mir von Kreativ-Workshops wie Sushi-Kochkurse oder das Bemalen selbiger Attrappen für Restaurants weltweit ... der Phantasie sind offenbar keine Grenzen gesetzt!

Japan talks to me about creative workshops such as learning how to make Sushi or painting the plastic that gets exhibited in restaurants worldwide … creativity round the globe certainly has no limits!


Die Philippinen schließlich sagen mir volle Unterstützung sowie berührende Geschichten für meine kreative Weltreise zu: Ich bin gespannt!

The Philippines end up assuring me of their full support when it comes to planning my creative round the world trip, sharing beautiful creative travel stories with me right here at ITB Berlin.


Last but not least werde ich sogar hier fündig: Bewusst provokant frage ich in Dubai nach "authentischen Kulturerfahrungen" nach ...

Last but not least, I even find creative travel in the most “unlikely” of places: Asking for local, authentic culture travel experiences I …


und finde mich in einem der Emirate, Sharjah, gar mit einem Kreativ-Angebot direkt am Messestand konfrontiert! Ob es was wird mit der "Tuchfühlung der arabischen Welt" auf meiner Reise?

… am referred to the Emirate of Sharjah, near Dubai, where I even watch a creative workshop taking place right in front of my eyes! Very interesting indeed: So maybe the Arab world will see me on my way?


Sollte ich Anfang 2015 in Europa weilen, winkt ein Besuch in Finnland: Dort werden schon heute kreative Ideen für die nächste internationale Bloggerkonferenz Matka von 8.-16. Jänner 2015 gesammelt. Mit kreativen Reisevorschlägen bin ich dabei!

If I get to be around early next year, Finland could be an exciting destination currently gathering support for designing next year’s travel blogger conference Matka in January 2015. I started by putting my wish for creative experiences down here.


Auch die Pressekonferenz mit der Vorstellung von "Kreativ Reisen Österreich" macht mir großen Spaß ...

Introducing “Creative Tourism Austria” during our ITB Berlin press conference is a lot of fun, too …


... mein Dank schließlich gilt all denjenigen, die gekommen sind um mich und einander zu inspirieren und zu weiteren Höhenflügen zu animieren. Danke insbesondere an Janett & Gudrun hier auf dem Bild: Ihr seid über die Reiseblogger-Treffen hinaus einfach wunderbare Freunde. Ich freue mich, dass die ITB und viele weitere Reise-Ideen uns hoffentlich noch oft zusammenbringen werden!

… and finally, I wish to thank all those who have come, shared with me and inspired me to even further events and travels all over the world: Thank you Janett & Gudrun, who besides being colleagues in the travel blogging world are just beautiful friends I am happy to have met along the way. Let’s hope ITB Berlin and lots more travel events will continue to bring us all together even more.


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