ITB Berlin: What really happens at the world’s biggest travel show?

(CNN)When done right, vacations are effortless things bathed in golden sunlight, lightly dusted in warm sand and refreshed by enormous cocktails.

But to achieve that takes work.

More specifically, it takes the toil of many of the thousands of tourism industry workers who gather in Berlin each year to create the dreams that will keep the rest of us willingly chained to our desks for most of the year to pay for them.


    Many stands and pavilions try to lure in passing trade with giveaways of such negligible quality it’s a wonder why they bothered.

    Occasionally there’s a winner — a nice key ring, say, some delicious chocolate or lovely cakes of Mysore sandalwood soap from the Indian state of Karnataka that really make you look forward to getting back to the hotel.

    More often, it’s a mini bag of Haribo candy or a tin of tiny mints.

    All about business

    But is it all worthwhile?

    “It’s difficult to put a value on it,” says Yayehyirad Emeru, managing director of Absolute Ethiopia Tours during a quiet moment on day three.

    “A lot if it is about making contacts and you don’t know what will come of it.

    “This isn’t like other shows I go to. Berlin is more professional, it’s more about business.”

    To prove a point Emeru slides over a business card and asks: “How can I get my products onto CNN?”

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