Georgia is the official host country of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism exhibition, with the country’s institutions and companies gearing up to showcase its multi-facetted tourism offering, rich history, long winemaking culture, folklore, culinary attractions and handicraft under the theme of “infinite hospitality” starting next month.
Between March 7-9 the Georgian National Tourism Administration, 80 domestic hospitality sector companies, the regional Government of the western seaside region of Adjara, the City Hall of the capital Tbilisi, the United Airports of Georgia and destination management organisations will join forces to make an “impressive appearance” featuring a wide range of tourism attractions, activities and events in the German capital.
GNTA Head Maia Omiadze sat down with Agenda.ge to share plans on how the country’s representation plans to host the tourism fair starting in just about 10 days.
Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
The events will kick off with a launch press briefing - set to involve 200 figures from international media - and the opening gala, on March 6.
Georgia will kick off the show with a festive opening gala at CityCube Berlin, with the event to be livestreamed on March 6. About 2,500 guests will attend the concert with the runtime of 45 minutes. All stage events will take place under the heading ‘Infinite Georgian Culture - From the Beginnings of Viticulture to Modern Avant-garde Art’. [Director] Basa Potskhishvili is working on the cultural programme that will tell the history of Georgia starting from the [Greek myth of the] Argonauts to the present day, with different patterns of culture”, Omiadze said.
The Sukhishvili Georgian National Ballet troupe and the State Academic Ensemble “Rustavi” - two companies recognised in their international tours - will host audiences in the show, with prominent German-based violinist Lisa Batiashvili, a band led by composer Dato Evgenidze, and conductor Nikoloz Rachveli also among the artists taking to the stage of the venue in Berlin.
Omiadze said all visitors of the concert would receive “special gift kits” that include a “modernised” traditional Georgian blue cotton tablecloth, a puzzle game involving the ornaments of the piece, souvenirs and cup pads.
This is a banner that will be placed in the streets of Berlin as well as in the halls of hub27. Image: GNTA
An official reception will follow the show, with guests invited to enjoy a Georgian supra feast, a “backbone of Georgian social culture [and] the best expression of Georgian hospitality”, Omiadze said.
We will take 15 talented Georgian chefs to Berlin, with the professionals hosting the supra with one traditional dish from each region of Georgia”, she added.
Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
The first day of the show will be opened with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by the Prime Minister of Georgia, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and the Managing Director of the Messe Berlin fairgrounds.
Following the ceremony, we will lead the guests to Berlin’s new multi-purpose hall and a hot spot of the exhibition, hub27, with a performance hosted in the venue where the heart of the global travel industry will be beating”, the GNTA Head told us.
The main entrance of the venue. The banner hanging on the wall reads: "Be Greated With Infinite Hospitality". Photo: GNTA
The Georgian stand of the fairgrounds will be unveiled in the location, with a panel discussion entitled “Adventurous Georgia - Possibilities, Offers and Challenges” also scheduled to introduce the audience to the country’s adventure tourism potential, hiking destinations, qualities of Georgia’s dense forest regions and exciting nature parks, and visions for sustainable development.
The subsequent days will offer a wealth of displays and events at hub27, with more than 10,000 exhibitors from across the world who are shaping the global travel trends involved in presentations and networking. It is estimated that over 200,000 visitors will visit the fair.
The Georgian stand will occupy around 1,000 square metres and two floors of hub27. Omiadze said there would be two separate stands for presenting the country, with one for the state institutions and the other for promoting the adventure tourism in the country.
Georgian stands will offer their visitors a diverse programme, which will include culinary master classes for baking the khachapuri cheese-filled bread, making the popular khinkali dumplings, and baking bread in the special tone oven”, Omiadze said.
The state body Head also explained an oven for producing enamel works would also be brought to the fairgrounds to host master classes in the crafts.
Georgian wine and alphabet will also be represented by the country’s representation, with daily classes for culinary, handicraft and calligraphic culture hosted by organisers. The latter will also see the Saperavi wine served to visitors.
An artist impression of Georgian stand at ITB Berlin 2023. Image: GNTA
A dedicated wine corner will be unveiled in a 100 square metre space near the south entrance of hub27.
The wine corner will feature the kvevri clay vessels. Visitors will be able to taste Georgian wine and receive brief information about our 8,000-year-long winemaking history”, Omiadze said.
The host country will also be represented in Hall 4.1, which is set for segments of Youth Travel and Accommodation, and Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism.
Omiadze said the status of the host country of the major travel event gave Georgia the opportunity to promote its tourism potential “at the largest scale possible”.
The airport of Berlin and all major streets of the city will be branded with our advertisements, spreading the messages we want the whole world to hear. Through the end of the year, we will have an active campaign in Germany, covering both digital and traditional media. The goal is to attract as many visitors to our country as possible. Germany is one of our target countries”, Omiadze said in reference to the GNTA’s tourism market priorities.
The Administration Head, for whom ITB Berlin is the first project since her appointment to the body, said the fair would bring “great results” to Georgia.
“I am very proud that the first project I got to work on is of this scale. This is truly both a challenge and an honour for me”, she concluded.