Deborah Rothe is head of ITB Berlin, the world‘s largest travel trade fair. We spoke to the 32-year-old about more workation and bleisure in the future, more sustainability and her own workation experiences.
Ms Rothe, to what extent is New Work currently changing the world of travel?
I see a lot of potential here. Even if the big discussion about New Work, workation and bleisure is not a mass phenomenon, almost anyone can see how these topics are already being put into practice. Companies are also dealing with this; we are in the midst of a change in mindset and a fundamental shift in business travel tourism. According to a study by the German Travel Association, 89% of companies already allow a combination of business and private travel. An international study lists companies with up to 180 possible workation days. Today, companies are using this to attract employees, and younger people even expect this from their employer.
And how about in tourism itself?
Tourism has already adapted to this and established workation and bleisure as a strong option for sustainable tourism development. Various hotel providers have already implemented workation offers, such as TUI. The Canary Islands promoted their fibre optic lines for remote work in 2020/21. I tried workation myself in Tenerife during the Covid19 period and experienced how well it works. It‘s a great way to combine work with private pleasure. Thus you can participate more in local life in the country, contribute something to the added value and extend seasonal periods. And if this also contributes to sustainable tourism, we should definitely support it.
What opportunities do you have for work & bleisure in your job?
I travel a lot and I try to add a private weekend or maybe in addition to that another business trip. But with ITB starting soon, there are few opportunities for private travel at the moment. In general, we have a new business travel policy at Messe Berlin that allows us to spend 30 days a year abroad in the Mobile Office. There are currently around five European countries to choose from and there is a lot of interest among the team.
To what extent will the ITB in Berlin from the 5th to the 7th March 2024 focus on bleisure and workation?
Basically, the topic has been present at the stands of destinations, tour operators and hotels for some time. At the ITB Convention, we‘ll bring it onto the stage especially at the Future Work Track and the Green Stage. Here we will deal with the changing world of work, the shortage of skilled labourers and bleisure and workation as forward-looking topics. During the year, we have already talked a lot about this in podcasts etc. in our new series ITB 360 Grad.
This topic works as great advertisement for destinations. In Germany alone, we are seeing a clear trend towards nature holidays, including tiny houses, team-building holidays for digital teams and similar things – in combination with workation, this is where we‘ll be of interest for the generation of tomorrow.
Thank you very much for the interview, Ms Rothe! See you at the ITB.
Sylvie Konzack …
… was very impressed how much the ITB is already focussing on the topics of workation and bleisure in her conversation with Deborah Rothe. In March, she will once again be travelling the world between Bavaria and Barbados in the exhibition halls and talking to many players on the subject.
Foto: © Messe Berlin GmbH