ITB Berlin, one of the world’s largest annual travel trade shows, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In excess of 130,000 people were due to travel to Berlin this week for the event which has been in doubt since the first cases of COVID-19 in the German capital. Earlier today organisers had promised a decision by Friday night.

Having reassured that ITB would go ahead earlier this week amid speculation it would be cancelled the following statement appeared on the show’s website from organisers Messe Berlin:

ITB Berlin 2020 will not take place. Due to the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Economics have decided to cancel ITB Berlin.

The responsible health authority of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf of Berlin has increased the requirements for the event to take place early this evening (18:27).

Among other things, the authority orders Every trade fair participant must prove to Messe Berlin that they do not come from the defined risk areas or have had contact with a person from the risk areas. Messe Berlin is unable to implement all these requirements.

Messe Berlin has been pointing out for weeks that the decision to hold or cancel major events can only be made on the basis of the recommendation or instruction of the relevant authorities. Only these authorities have all the necessary information and expertise to draw the right conclusions.

“Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH, said: “With more than 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries, ITB Berlin is of outstanding importance for the global tourism industry.

“We take our responsibility for the health and safety of our guests, exhibitors and employees very seriously. It is with a heavy heart that we look forward to the cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020, which has now become necessary”.

The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Berlin Wolf-Dieter Wolf explains: “In their now 54-year history ITB Berlin and Messe Berlin have never before experienced a comparable situation.

“We would like to thank all exhibitors and partners around the world who have supported ITB Berlin in the past days and weeks, and look forward to continuing our trusting cooperation with our partners in the market”.

Messe Berlin chief executive Christian Goke said: ”With more than 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries ITB Berlin is extremely important for the world’s tourism industry. We take our responsibility for the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors and employees very seriously.

“It is with a heavy heart that we must now come to terms with the cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020.”

Supervisory board chairman Wolf-Dieter Wolf added: ”Not once in the 54-year history of the event have ITB Berlin and Messe Berlin experienced a similar situation.

“We would like to thank all exhibitors and partners from all over the world who over the past few days and weeks have stood by ITB Berlin.

“We look forward to continuing the trusted relationship with our partners in the market.”