The world’s leading travel trade show, ITB Berlin, gets underway today and representatives from 185 countries will try to entice travel agents and vacationers to their borders. Israel has 180 representatives at the five-day event including hoteliers, travel agents, airline reps, and tourism organizations.

“Tourism to Israel has become cheaper and more attractive. This year at the show we will display the range of possibilities for today’s tourist who takes a city break in February from the snow in Europe to 25oC (77oF) in Israel, who is looking for low cost flights and hostels, but also sleeps in luxury hotels and dines in the trendiest restaurants and visits the markets, all on the same trip,” said Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Amir Halevi.

The Israeli exhibition booth is packed with state-of-the-art technologies, has an interactive photo booth and other activities for visitors. Moreover, the Ministry of Tourism has brewed up a special hummus beer (produced from chickpea flour especially for the show). The unique beer links Israeli and German cultures and will be served at the professional tourism meeting to be held by the Israel Government Tourist Office during the conference.

Germany is considered one of the world’s primary markets, with a highly developed culture of traveling abroad (over 80 million trips annually). Moreover, 40 percent of German tourists who visited Israel returned for another visit.

One of the main ITB events is spotlighting LGBT travel. ITB says it will host the World’s Largest LGBT Travel-Trade Pavilion this year. “Gay and lesbian travel is one of the fastest-growing markets in the international travel industry,” reads a press statement.

Kenes Tours from Tel Aviv is listed by ITB as one of the main companies taking part in the international LGBT display. The Ministry of Tourism has also included an Israeli drag queen representative on its official roster, in cooperation with Tel Aviv Global Administration, to promote the Gay Pride Parade in June in Tel Aviv.

Some 180,000 visitors – among them representatives of the tourism industry worldwide and journalists – are expected to take part in the Berlin trade show.