Astro-tourism, bicycle tourism take spotlight in world's largest travel fair | Inquirer Lifestyle

Astro-tourism, bicycle tourism take spotlight in world’s largest travel fair

ITB Berlin
Attendees of ITB Berlin will learn about the popularity of astro-tourism. Image: istock.com/Khlongwangchao via AFP Relaxnews

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

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

As part of the theme, the trade fair will shine 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.

For context, it’s estimated that 60 percent of Europeans and 80 percent of North Americans can no longer see the Milky Way.

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

Experts will also spotlight the rising popularity of what was formerly a niche product, bicycle tourism, and how it’s become a booming sector.

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

ITB Berlin kicks off March 8 and wraps up March 12 in Berlin. JB

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