A welcoming handshake for Germany in front of the Berlin Wall during ITB Berlin, Burkhard Kieker and Don Hartsell

ITB Berlin - Embrace the Race

March 11-15, 2009

BERLIN, GERMANY - During the ITB 2009 Berlin conference, the World Air League met with representatives and potential delegates for Local Organizing Committees (LOCs) in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea and Japan. The news that Mr. Jean-Michel Jarre was appointed the World Sky Race Artistic Director was universally acclaimed as a major development that will enhance the activities of the LOCs.

Commissioner Hartsell, announced "Embrace the Race". This unifying campaign will actively lead up to the World Sky Race. Bundled into this strategic initiative are the themes of the World Sky Race: Celebration of Diversity and World Heritage; Positive Impact and Opportunities of Green Aviation for Tourism; Global Education and Participation by Stakeholders and Corporate Citizens of the World; and, An Epic, Historic Competition and Adventure to Connect the World. As the elephant in the room, the global economic downturn was a major point of concern with all. The consensus of the LOCs is the WSR is the type of project the world needs now. It is audacious and big. As positive entertainment with a message seen around the world, the World Sky Race will be a reason to look up.

Substantive discussions focused on the first race of the sixteen milestone races. This race will start in the United Kingdom and finish in Germany. The ongoing German Host Site selection process for the 1st Milestone in the Inaugural World Sky Race was narrowed down. On behalf of Berlin's candidacy, Mr. Burkhard Kieker, the new CEO for Berlin Tourismus Marketing (BTM), covered the issues on the potential availability of the Tempelhof Flughafen for a Jean-Michel Jarre World Sky Race Concert. In Berlin, the German Milestone Race event would be held October 3 and coincide with celebrating German Unification Day. Mr. Kieker indicated that BTM will be supportive of creative marketing projects that will raise the German Capitol City direct involvement in the WSR. In favor of Berlin, there are many UNESCO World Heritage sites located within city and in the immediate surrounding State of Brandenburg. Representing Stuttgart and Baden-Wurttemberg's interest in being selected the Host Site of the inaugural Race, Mr. Andreas Kroll, Managing Director In.Stuttgart, provided insight into the potential that local companies and organizations headquartered in Stuttgart could be apart of the international sponsorship programs for the WSR. To build the largest potential live audience, the harvest festival (Canstatter Wasen) was given consideration for being a collaborative event to strategically enhance the arrival of the WSR Skyships and contestants. Mr. Kroll made the point that the historical ties between the development of skyships and Baden-Wurttemberg are considerable.

The agenda between the United Nations World Tourism Organization and WAL centered on producing a partnership framework for promoting sustainable tourism and diversity as the world shifts to a green economy. Key to this relationship is the already established program between the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and WAL.

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