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Venezuela Mourns Chavez; Chavez's Economic Legacy; US Markets Advance; European Stocks Mostly Down; ITB Berlin 2013; Egypt Tourism; Tourism Concerns in Egypt; US House Passes Budget Measures; Euro, Pound, Yen Down; Ukraine Considered for EU

Aired March 6, 2013 - 14:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, HOST: Venezuela mourns the death of Hugo Chavez. We look at the economic legacy he leaves behind.

Egypt's dealing with more political turmoil, and its tourism minister admits it's hurting the industry.

And I go to ITB, the Berlin travel fair, where the industry that's selling dreams and desires is now worried about the future.

I'm Richard Quest, live in Berlin tonight, where I mean business.

Good evening tonight from the German capital. We'll have ITB coverage in a moment, but we start, of course, with the events in Venezuela, where they are witnessing huge outpourings of emotion for President Hugo Chavez. Thousands of mourners mobbed casket as it was carried from the hospital where he died yesterday.

It is now being taken to a military academy, where Mr. Chavez will lie in state ahead of an official ceremony planned for Friday. Our correspondent Shasta Darlington is in Caracas for us this evening and joins me. The scenes were expected, but they are emotional and dramatic nonetheless.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Richard. And in some ways, there were some aspects that were unexpected. There was lots of outpouring of grief, thousands of people in the red t- shirts and their baseball caps that really Hugo Chavez made required wear here.

But there was also a party-like atmosphere. It was a bit strange. We saw this convoy of more than 100 motorcycles going by honking their horns, waving their flags, and they were supporters. People chanting political slogans, holding pictures and political signs.

So, you really got a mix of the sort of somber mourning, and then the real party celebration, let's celebrate this man, who many people feel changed their lives, Richard.

QUEST: Shasta Darlington in Caracas, and you'll be following, obviously, the events, the lying in state, as the funeral preparations are made and the various world leaders, who no doubt will be arriving in Venezuela in the days ahead. Shasta, thank you for that.

As, of course, the country prepares to bury its president, the rest of the world now considers the legacy of Hugo Chavez. And when you look at it on an economic front, it is far from ideal. He left Venezuela with high poverty, but solid growth and most definitely an unclear economic future.

Venezuela is the 33rd largest economy in the world, and at 6 percent growth last year, well, it should have been having a much better economic performance. But this year, it will be just 3 percent.

Almost all of Venezuela's export earnings come from oil. It's one of the world's top ten oil producers, and the international community is concerned for its future. But the IMF held a briefing on Venezuela on Monday. Its annual consultation with the government there is now more than 7 years overdue.

The disagreements that Venezuela had with Western countries -- The United States, the European Union, the UK, for example -- have been legendary and, of course, they have led to the further economic turmoil.

David Rees is with me, the emerging markets economist at Capital Economics. He joins me from CNN London. David, the -- it may seem a little imprudent, perhaps, or improper to talk about this economic legacy so soon, but we can't divorce the pallor start of the Venezuelan economy from the actions taken by the deceased leader.

DAVID REES, EMERGING MARKETS ECONOMIST, CAPITAL ECONOMICS: Yes, sure. The economy's truly in a desperate situation. The role of Hugo Chavez over the last ten years has always been characterized by bouts of nationalizations, especially the oil sector, but across the economy.

And that's hollowed out the domestic economy and left it completely reliant, almost, on imports and many goods. And obviously, to fund that, he's required high oil prices and debt. He's issues a lot of debt --

QUEST: Right.

REES: -- and he's borrowed a lot of money from China.

QUEST: And that sort of bellicosity of policy continued pretty much right until the end, whether it was berating the United States or attacking Western corporations and nationalizing. Do you expect to see a change in policy now?

REES: There's very little, to be honest, to suggest that there will be a significant change in the near term. But it seems as though Nicolas Maduro, the vice president, will succeed Chavez as the president, and he's very much in the mold of Chavezism, if you like. And so, it seems the programs and nationalizations and spendthrift policy will continue.

QUEST: And yet, the popular support for the late president, obviously we're seeing that outpouring of grief now. Do you and can you see a scenario where that support was very much specific to him, and as the dire economic situation hits home, the public turn against?

REES: Well, yes, I think that's a definite possibility. It remains to be seen if Maduro will be successful at uniting the PSUVians the same way that Chavez did and uniting the support of the poor. It also remains to see if the Chinese will back him.

QUEST: Right. Now, on that point, would you expect to see, in any shape or form, the development or the potential for building a bridge with the United States, to repair even a little bit of the damage?

It's possible. Anything's possible at the moment, to be honest, but the signs so far would be that there'll be no improvement. Maduro spoke to American citizens yesterday, and he hasn't suggested that he would like to improve relations.

QUEST: David, good to talk to you this evening at CNN London. Thank you for coming in. We'll talk more, no doubt --

REES: Thank you.

QUEST: -- as the ramifications come further. Let us now turn our attention to the markets, and of course you don't need me to remind you that it was a rollicking good session on Wall Street on the -- Tuesday. Record high. And of course, now we see what happens on Thursday.

Look at the Dow Jones Industrials. It is up around 40-odd points, 39 points. There was good job numbers from ADP, 198,000 private sector jobs were added, and we get the full jobs report on Friday for the US. But at the moment, once again, the Dow in that record territory. What an awful phrase to use.

European stocks simply couldn't keep up. They wilted and whimpered on the way. Most major indices slipped into the red. The DAX here in Germany, in Frankfurt, hit a fresh four-and-a-half-year high, and now everybody's looking at the ECB, which holds its monthly meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday. The Bank of England also, incidentally, has its meeting in London on Thursday as well.

It's not just QUEST MEANS BUSINESS that's in Berlin. There's this little organization called ITB. Well, actually, it's the largest travel fair in the world, and we'll hear from Egypt's tourism minister after the break. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, good evening.


QUEST: Welcome back to Berlin. I've always wondered what the initials "ITB" stood for. I know it's the largest trade and tourism fair in the world, but what does it mean? Well, I can tell you, it's the International Tourismus Boerse.

And here at the Boerse in Berlin, all they were talking about pretty much was that there are now a billion tourists traveling around the globe. Not at any given time, but certainly the numbers are rising. With the numbers like that, it's not surprising at ITB, there was lots to celebrate.


QUEST: This is ITB in Berlin, a vast, colorful fiesta of travel and tourism. Here, there are hundreds if not thousands of different stands. They are all competing to grab the attention. Indonesia making a noise over here.


QUEST: Competitor Malaysia making a scene over there.


QUEST: Malaysia, Indonesia -- it's all about capturing the market. And with tourism being the world's possibly number one industry, getting yourself noticed.


QUEST: And what I found particularly fascinating was the way Indonesia and Malaysia bands and performers both decided to start performing at exactly the same moment, and the volume got louder and louder.

The German Bundes chancellor, Angela Merkel, opened ITB here in Berlin. It was the first time that a German chancellor -- the German chancellor had done the honors. She was joined by the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who Indonesia, incidentally, is the partner country of ITB this year. We'll hear from the vice minister later on.

Egypt's tourism minister in Berlin is trying to convince tourists and the industry to return to his country. It's not an easy task. Not only is there the Arab Spring and the uprisings that have to be contended with, but also the recent events in Luxor, with the crash of a balloon killing 19 tourists onboard. Reza Sayah has been to Luxor to see how things are going on.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Some of Egypt's most famous ancient ruins and monuments and thousands of years of history are here in Luxor. But here's what you won't see in Luxor these days: large numbers of tourists as in years past. These days, many restaurants and cafes sit empty, cruise ships are docked, many hotels are mostly vacant.

Here's how bad things are getting. The tourism minister says in 2010, nearly 15 million visitors came to Egypt. Then came the revolution and down went tourism. In 2011 and 2012, a little more than 10 million people came to Egypt. That's a drop of nearly 5 million tourists.

Those numbers matter most to people like Mohamed, his horse, Cinderella, and many other residents here in Luxor. There's not a lot of factories here, not many other ways to make a living other than tourism. So, when tourism hurts, families here hurt, too.

MOHAMED FAROUQ, SHOPKEEPER: And it's so hard for us, because we depend on our income, which comes from the tourists.

SAYAH: Saleh is worried because tourism is his bread and butter, too. But he says tourists should come back not for his sake. He says they should come back for the magic and history of Luxor.

SALEH SHAALAN, TOUR GUIDE: Of course, the most important they see this ancient human culture. They must come.

SAYAH: Reza Sayah, CNN, Luxor.


QUEST: Now, the political situation is, of course, one thing to be worried about. Elections are due in April, but they may be delayed because of the instability.

If that situation wasn't bad enough, then, of course, there's also these images to contend with. Flowers being laid at the site of last week's hot air balloon crash in Luxor. Nineteen people onboard the balloon were killed when gas canisters exploded in mid-flight.

Here at ITB, I spoke to the tourism minister for Egypt, and I asked him how he was going to reassure the industry and tourists that events like the Luxor crash would be properly investigated.


HISHAM ZAAZOU, EGYPTIAN TOURISM MINISTER: Richard, I think you've touched on a very important issue. We're scrutinizing every detail. By the way, the balloon incident, there was no single incident of a balloon accident since it started back in 89. This is the only single incident.

And in spite of that, we're going through a very detailed investigation, out of which we'll come out with specific issues to be taken care of. And not this alone. Anything that has to do with the safety and wellness of our guests.

QUEST: I can be honest and blunt with you, Minister --

ZAAZOU: Please, please.

QUEST: -- we've known each other a while


QUEST: Can we have confidence, though, in that investigation, that it won't be swept under the carpet, that there won't be any corruption in the investigation, and that it will be implemented?

ZAAZOU: First, I assure you, Richard, it won't -- there will be nothing swept under the carpet. Why? Because we're inviting people from overseas to attend and look into the investigation itself. And secondly, we're doing that because really we really care. Egypt cannot afford to tarnish its reputation in that respect.

QUEST: That's the point, isn't it?


QUEST: Even if anybody --

ZAAZOU: Honesty is the way forward.

QUEST: Well, you can't afford not to.


QUEST: It's important.

ZAAZOU: I agree.

QUEST: You've got -- you had how million?

ZAAZOU: 11.5 million last year.

QUEST: Right.


QUEST: And you want to grow that.

ZAAZOU: Absolutely.

QUEST: So, when are you going to tell the president that the political -- the political problems in Cairo are having an effect?

ZAAZOU: I told him.

QUEST: And its perception.

ZAAZOU: I told him. I told him we need to move on with our file of tourism in a fiscal manner. I think the images coming out of Cairo are definitely affecting the impression of the whole Egypt. However, I believe, Richard, things will cool off and down very soon. Egyptians will come to a consensus very soon.

QUEST: But you -- there's a new trial of the former president about to start, you've got more elections coming along. This seems to be a -- for a man in your job, this is a drip, drip, drip effect.

ZAAZOU: An ongoing crisis. I agree. Listen, what I will do is I will concentrate on the destinations that, if you get there, you'll feel as if you're in a different country. Places like Luxor, Aswan, Hurghada, Marsa Alam, Sharm el-Sheikh.

Forget about Cairo for the moment. I'll put it this way. I have from -- take Germany here. Ninety percent of the traffic goes to Hurghada directly. So, I'll just concentrate on this. People who will pick up a flight, go straight to that place, and enjoy it. Live streams on the screen, here, shows you life is just absolutely beautiful down there.


QUEST: An honest assessment from the Egyptian tourism minister. Forget about Cairo for the moment. You don't hear that every day. There's all sorts of things you can pick up at ITB. This was a little gift. I'm told that the letters at the top in hieroglyphics is "Richard." Which I'm -- was translated for me, and I'm not quite sure what it all meant. But it's all rather pleasant.

While we've been on air, some news that has just been coming into us. The news that's in tells me that the US House of Representatives has passed a measure to keep the US government funded through September.

Now, this is the current budget resolution, was due to run out on the 27th of March. The proposal extends that deadline and reduces the impact of forced spending cuts on the military and programs. It'll now go to the Senate.

So, you'll be aware, of course, there were three issues: debt ceiling, continuing resolution and, of course, sequester. And it seems now the House of Representatives is voting -- or has voted to deal with two of them, or at least put them on the back burner. It awaits to be seen how the Senate responds.

Tonight's Currency Conundrum. Germany is the home to the world's most successful alternative currency. Who were the first to use the "chiemgauer?" Chiemgauer, I'm told. It's the Chiemgauer.

Who were the first to use the chiemgauer? Which I know is a place in Germany. Was it members of a local charity? Was it school children? Or was it migrants? The answer later in the program.

As for the currency rates, the euro's down, the pound is down, the yen is down. Those are the rates, this is the break.


QUEST: Bringing Ukraine into the European Union could help them and improve the bloc's relations with Russia. So says Romano Prodi. He's the former president of the European Commission and he has been pushing the idea at a conference in Rome, where they've been debating Ukraine's EU credentials.

Romano Prodi joins me now from the Italian capital. Mr. Prodi, the Ukraine is a long way economically, culturally, and in terms of the values, perhaps, the critics would say, from being a candidate, a realistic candidate for EU membership yet.

ROMANO PRODI, FORMER PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMSSION: Look, let us be clear. In this moment, I don't think that there will be any enlargement of the European Union. We build agreement, we build strong relations with Ukraine, we build new relations with Europe and Ukraine. But this is not the moment in which Europe can decide second big enlargement.

QUEST: Right.

PRODI: So it is the case of history.

QUEST: So, are we looking for Ukraine at some sort of EEA after, some sort of bilateral relationship that would allow them to be cemented within the union for the future?

PRODI: Look, it is clear, Ukraine has more and more interest to be linked with Europe. The Ukraine's economy the necessity of high-tech exchange, the necessity to be part of the European cluster brings Ukraine closer and closer to Europe.

And trade, also, that was 100 percent, let's say, close to it with Russia, now is much more balanced. And so, I think that we must offer the agreement that we are building with Ukraine an instrument to form the development of a country that is much less developed than it should be.

QUEST: Let us talk a moment about Italy, and as the president now works through the ramifications of who will be prime minister and which government, do you expect the country to go back to the polls within the year?

PRODI: No. No, maybe. Because the final decision has not yet been taken. But I am not impressed by these tensions that are after the elections, because there is still the moment in which everything is foggy. Everybody is trying to take a position. But I think that some agreement could be taken in the future.

QUEST: We have -- the fear elsewhere in the markets is that we have not heard the last of Silvio Berlusconi. Now, even if not as prime minister, the ability for this man to wield power, do you think that is a real threat?

PRODI: Look, Berlusconi had -- well, he lost a lot of votes compared to the other election. But two months ago, he was completely destroyed, and he was able in an unbelievable campaign, probably to get back, not only to decrease taxation, but to give back the taxation already paid. He could gain some votes.

But he will not be in power in Italy. He will have enough power to, let's say, to guarantee his own interests, let's say television and also the problem -- the issue with justice. No more.

QUEST: Mr. Prodi, a final thought. The rest of the union is looking at Italy and is worried. Worried because of the way the voters turned to left, and worried about whether Italy retains and continues the economic reforms. Is that worry justified?

PRODI: Well, look. When you have the result in which you have, let's say, some sort of equilibrium among many parties, you need time to have an agreement. But nobody of the big groups in this moment thinks to put Italy outside the European -- glue, let's say. Everybody's afraid that this will bring back to old disasters.

QUEST: Romano Prodi, joining me from Rome this evening. We thank you for that.

From the Italian capital back here in the German capital, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, the program that's taking you around the capitals of Europe tonight. And it's not just US stocks. We'll be in the financial capitals as well.

A multi-year high right here in Germany. The DAX has also had a strong session, up to levels not seen since 2007. I'll explain -- or not I will explain, our guests will explain what's behind it in a moment. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.


QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in Berlin in a moment. This is CNN and, on this network, the news always comes first.


QUEST (voice-over): Crowds are mourning the death of the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. They're on the streets of Caracas, trying to catch a glimpse of the coffin carrying the late president. The casket left the hospital where Mr. Chavez died and is now on its way to a military academy. And the body will lie in state. A funeral for the controversial leader is to be held on Friday.

The United Nations Refugee Agency says more than 1 million Syrians have now fled the country's civil war. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees calls it a milestone in human tragedy. Antonio Gutierrez also tells CNN he is concerned for political and economic consequences on Syria's neighbors could be devastating.

Moscow police say this leading danger of the Bolshoi Ballet now admits he masterminded the acid attack which seriously injured the company's artistic director in January. Pavel Dmitrichenko was arrested on Tuesday along with two other suspects who police say also confessed, one to throwing the acid, the other to driving the getaway car.

The European Commission is fining Microsoft $730 million for failing to offer customers more choice. The lapse breaches a pledge to offer Windows users a variety of Internet browsers. Microsoft apologized and called it a technical error. It says it fixed the problem as soon as the company learned about it.

A relative of the South African model Reeva Steenkamp has been speaking for the first time since Oscar Pistorius was released from jail. Reeva's uncle told CNN's Drew Griffin that he hopes he gets the chance to meet face to face with the track star who killed his niece and who is accused of her murder.


MIKE STEENKAMP, REEVA STEENKAMP'S UNCLE: I would like to be face-to- face with him and forgive him, forgive him what he's done. And that way, I can find what's probably more peace with the situation.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you would forgive him, Mike, whether this was a tragic accident or whether this was --

STEENKAMP: Whatever -- whatever the outcome. I feel that my belief and if Christ could forgive when he died on the cross, why can't I? Who am I not to forgive him?

QUEST (voice-over): Reeve Steenkamp's uncle there, speaking to CNN's Drew Griffin.

The full interview can be seen on "ANDERSON COOPER 360" tonight, 8:00 pm and 10:00 Eastern for our viewers in the Americas; in Europe, you can see it in "WORLD REPORT" on Thursday morning, 6:00 am, 7:00 right here in Berlin, only, of course, on CNN.



QUEST: A lot of noise and fury was made over the last 24 hours about the Dow Jones industrials reaching its all-time high. Well, European bosses (ph) and markets have done pretty well. Germany's DAX, for instance, has closed at the sort of level that you haven't seen since December of 2007. Just look at the numbers.

The DAX rose around 2/3 of 1 percent. It's 81 points off the 8,000 mark; hasn't reached that level in more than five years. Henkel, the consumer goods company, was among the top performers of the day. The maker of personal (ph) finished around 2.5 percent higher after predicting stronger sales this year.

Jorg Rocholl is the president of the European School of Management and Technology, and joins me now here in Berlin.

It's quite remarkable at a time -- and when we see the Dow Jones and the U.S. is growing at 2 percent or whatever, but Europe is in its second year of recession.


QUEST: And the Dow is at all (inaudible) high.

ROCHOLL: That's right. So the German economy, though, is an exception to the rule in Europe. All the other European countries are, at best, stagnating this year. Germany, at least, is growing a little bit. But I think on top of this comes the fact that there's a lot of liquidity in the market, as liquidity has been provided by the European Central Bank.

QUEST: OK. But even if Germany's growing, the markets where it is growing to and exporting to, I know there's a heavy domestic demand here in this country. But the other markets, they are suffering. Do -- a straightforward question: do you believe the market is reflecting the economic fundamentals here?

ROCHOLL: To a certain degree it is. As Germany not only exports to other European countries, but it also exports to a major degree to the growing markets, for example, in Far East Asia, and these Asian markets are mainly responsible for a lot of the successes we see.

QUEST: So the slowdown that we know is happening, how serious and deep is that? Because I looked at some employment numbers. Extraordinary, isn't it? The level of unemployment in Germany -- it's five times higher in Spain.

I -- and this is the same single union.

ROCHOLL: That's right. So the unemployment levels are so extremely different across the European Union; in Germany, they had the record low almost; in Spain, they are extremely high. And this, of course, creates tensions in the Eurozone. The whole monetary union can survive the fact that they are --

QUEST: They can't.

ROCHOLL: Well, this is certainly still a major concern that we have to face in the coming months. And this is something that politicians, regulators have to deal with very seriously.

QUEST: Angela Merkel will face the electorate. No politician is ever guaranteed reelection. But is she near as guaranteed as any politician ever has been?

ROCHOLL: I'm not sure yet. It's -- of course, mainly depends also on what still is on the plate until the elections. Will, for example, there be any need to another haircut for Greece? Will there be more problems in Italy and Spain that actually the German taxpayers also have to (inaudible)?


QUEST: And they're still angry about that here in Germany.

ROCHOLL: Absolutely. And this may be actually a real threat if these problems become more visible and become more evident.

QUEST: Good to see you. Thank you (inaudible) brave man. He takes his coat off. And when I point out that it's a little bit parky here in Germany, he points out actually it's the warmest you've had it for ages.

ROCHOLL: That's right.


QUEST: (Inaudible). Thank you. Good to see you. Thank you very much, sir.

Now then, as we continue at ITB, the -- I was going to say International Touristmusguza (ph). Now I've said it once, you're going to keep hearing me say it again and again. All roads least to Istanbul. It is Turkish Airlines and their CEO is after the break. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.




QUEST: Welcome back to Berlin. Of all the world's airlines, one of the ones I find most fascinating is Turkish Airlines out of the hub of Istanbul.

Sure, there is Emirates with its A380s and you've got the large U.S. giants like United and the new American, Lufthansa and BA, but Turkish Airlines is in talks to buy more than 100 planes from Boeing and Airbus and is doing something that really few others can.

It is building itself into a global carrier route by route via Istanbul. It's a fascinating project. I spoke to the chief executive of Turkish, Temel Kotil. He was at ITB. And I asked him when he looked at the competition, who was he most concerned about?


TEMEL KOTIL, CEO, TURKISH AIRLINES: Ourself. Ourself. Istanbul is in the heart of the Eurasia. There is the culture there (inaudible) 5,000 years, you know? Is in a (inaudible). So is a location perfect to (inaudible) Europe, (inaudible), (inaudible) part of Africa, central Asia.

I covered it (inaudible). (Inaudible) itself is doing excellent business by importing the (inaudible) top of it, it's became great, you know. So our logic is turn to Istanbul the most important hub in the (inaudible). I mean on it. I know it is a big statement but globe, the (inaudible) airport show this one.

QUEST: But the airlines that you are taking on are the ones with extremely deep pockets. And I don't mean the legacy carriers, the Lufthansas, the BAs. I'm talking about Emirates, Qatar, Etihad, those who are building these. But have you got the necessary resources to do it?

KOTIL: No. I mean, who cares about the packet issues? (Inaudible) speaking. So why the person choosing the airline, X airline, why? Today, there is enough seat for the every single passengers. This means we put (inaudible). And passenger need to make a choice. Passenger look for the airline will like them. Passenger (inaudible) the service.

QUEST: But where do you want to grow? The growth for you, sir, is what? Is it the OND transfer topic through Istanbul? Do you want -- ?

KOTIL: We do two things same time. One is to link Istanbul to everywhere, where from Istanbul (inaudible) we have the best routes. I mean, we have the most strongest route into Africa than other airlines.

We're linking to Turkey to all of Europe. We're linking Turkey into Asia and so on, so on. That's the -- in the (inaudible) Turkey. But actual business, big money is from transfer (ph), you know? Our growth on transfer (ph) passengers per year, you don't believe on it, 30 percent every year (inaudible) --


QUEST: That's where you want to grow?

KOTIL: Exactly.

QUEST: That (inaudible) big money.

KOTIL: Yes, because Istanbul historical is the capital of this -- the (inaudible) business and 1,000 years back.

QUEST: Let's talk about your very adventurous and interesting advertising and marketing campaign, whether it's the safety videos, whether it's the commercials.

KOTIL: The ice cream.

QUEST: The ice cream? (Inaudible) ice cream. I'm sitting here; there's no ice cream.

KOTIL: (Inaudible), OK. Somebody (inaudible). OK.

QUEST: The question is, you obviously spend a serious amount of money on your marketing.

KOTIL: Exactly. So every year we're spending about $100 million; this year, $120 million. But on the marketing, the money you are spending, you spend once, yet (inaudible) later on again. You know? So 100, 100, 100, it became billion. It's nice (inaudible) that billion fresh every year.


QUEST: The CEO of Turkish, $100 million on the marketing and the sponsorship campaign. That's what you call serious money.

Now I'm not sure exactly who this next piece of news will affect or interest. But in the United States, air travelers will, for the first time since 9/11, be allowed to carry pocketknives and some sporting equipment onto aircraft cabins.


QUEST (voice-over): Starting in April, knives with blades that are 6 cm or shorter and less than hand an inch wide will be permitted on flights as long as the blade is not fixed or does lock into place. Those razor blades and box cutters are still banned.

Golf clubs, ski poles and hockey sticks are also OK, as are some souvenir baseball bats. I have yet to see anybody take a set of golf clubs and try and get them into the overhead compartment, but I'm sure somebody out there will write to me and tell me they've tried.


QUEST: Now I have some news for you. If you are flying into Willy Brandt Brandenburg Airport, well, you didn't. And you can't even know when you will because it's Germany's large embarrassment and we'll have a report after the break. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in Berlin.





QUEST (voice-over): Time to (inaudible). And the answer to today's "Currency Conundrum," you just heard me trying to work out the correct pronunciation for the world's most successful currency. In Chiemgauer. It is -- it was school children that started it up. A high school economics teacher started it as a teaching aid for her students. It's now accepted by more than 600 (inaudible) in Bavaria.


QUEST: Now delegates attending the ITB Conference here in Berlin have probably hoped to arrived at Berlin Brandenburg Airport, the new airport which was scheduled to open in November 2011. Well, guess what? They didn't arrive in that airport. The airport is not open. It's a national embarrassment for Germany. And as our correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, now tells us, no one knows when the airport will open.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A fence and a no trespassing sign where thousands of passengers were supposed to be checking in. This is Berlin's new signature airport Willy Brandt International. But faulty construction means for now it's pretty much a ghost town.

Berlin's mayor, one of those in charge of the project , recently tried to soothe the anger.

"It's not as dramatic as people say. It's not true that the whole world is laughing at Berlin," he said. But, of course, the world is looking at our city and we are proud that they are looking at us.

The airport was supposed to open in 2011. Then it was postponed to June 2012. That date was canceled only days before the scheduled event. There was talk of opening the airport in 2013, but now those in charge say they have no idea when the terminal will go into service.

The technical director says around 20,000 construction flaws were discovered, everything from broken floor tiles to bad wiring. But the biggest problem is the faulty fire extinguishing system making Berlin's new airport unsafe for use.

Attempts to get hold of those currently trying to salvage the project proved difficult.

PLEITGEN: We tried to get an on-camera interview with airport officials. However, our inquiries were not answered for several days.

Then finally after we called several times, the press people called us back and asked us to come to a press conference here on the construction site. However, now that we've gotten here, all that we find is this sheet of paper saying that the press conference has been canceled on short notice.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Berlin's airport is one of several high- profile German construction projects engulfed in controversy. There's the new Hamburg Philharmonic, several years behind schedule and several hundred million dollars over the original budget. Or the redesign of the main railway station in Stuttgart. Those in charge say finishing the terminal will cost about $2 billion dollars more than anticipated.

Economist Olaf Ploetner says the missteps are not yet a threat to the "Made in Germany" brand, but they certainly don't help.

OLAF PLOETNER, ESMT: There are things that are more important than the building the airport. And that's the good news for us. However, overall from the internal perspective, very embarrassing. People lose trust in our capabilities to succeed with big projects.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Meanwhile, very little is happening at Berlin's new airport. The airport company says it will take until summer to assess the extent of the construction flaws and even think about a date when the terminal might be ready.


QUEST: Fred Pleitgen's with me now.

They really don't know when they're going to open this project?

PLEITGEN: No, they don't. They're still trying to -- they're still actually in the process of trying to find out all the things that are wrong with it. So they have people -- there's no construction going on whatsoever at this point.

They're going through the building, step by step. They've already found more than 20,000 construction flaws already, which is everything from a broken tile to the fire extinguishing system. But it's a very major flow. They just -- they just have no idea.

QUEST: And there is also this extraordinary story in Germany that they can't switch off the lights, not for safety, but --

PLEITGEN: Because the control system; they haven't figured out how to work the control system in a way that they'd be able to turn off the lights --

QUEST: You're not serious?

PLEITGEN: -- (inaudible).


PLEITGEN: -- illuminated day and night, the entire terminal. They can't -- they can't turn it off. They admit they can't turn it off. It is amazing, yes.

QUEST: Why is there no feeling of national scandal about this?

PLEITGEN: Well, there --

QUEST: Why aren't people -- why aren't people over there and in the - - and the (inaudible) -- I know you -- the federal system. But saying, whoa, we've got to take control here. This is -- this has got to stop.

PLEITGEN: The federal government is trying. The Department for Transport has been trying to take some sort of control. The problem is they've been a part of the problem in the past as well. They are part of this project. They have 20 percent of the project, the federal government does. And there's just been a distinct lack of oversight in this project, apparently, from the beginning.

QUEST: And the funniest of that, the most ironic part of this, most Berliners are quite happy --


QUEST: -- because you've still got your precious (inaudible).

PLEITGEN: Yes, because it's shorter to the airport. I have an 8- minute drive to Tegel. It'll be an hour if this new things opens. So yes, it's terrible. It's a lot of tax money. But you know, the shorter airport drive is worth it.

QUEST: Good to see you.

Fred Pleitgen. And you mustn't laugh about this. It's a scandal of monumental proportions.

Jenny Harrison's at the World Weather Center.

You were right. It's a bit warmer. But it's still a bit parky.


QUEST: But everybody here in Berlin -- everybody here in Berlin is absolutely balmy; they're saying it's delightful.

HARRISON: I know, well, you (inaudible) nice, big, strapping man. You see (inaudible) big coat like you. If you're in London, it would be a degree warmer. But you'd be getting wet. There's drizzle in London. So, hey, but I've got to tell you this, Richard. Did you know they've named a storm after you in Washington? This big one that's coming through?

Have you heard what they've called it? They've called it the Snowquester. The Snowquester. That's because it's closed federal government offices and schools, sort of a like a forced spending cut, is what they're saying.

QUEST: Ah, very funny.

HARRISON: Yes, (inaudible).

QUEST: Very funny.


QUEST: The Snowquester.

HARRISON: (Inaudible). Anyway, let me talk about that Snowquester.

It is, of course, on its way to Washington, D.C., before dumping a huge amount of snow into Chicago. In fact, 25 centimeters, a new daily record, 18 centimeters in Columbus, 23 in Minneapolis. Still it keeps coming down. The winds have picked up, too, in Washington, D.C. There's the sustained winds that are 54 kph.

Warnings are widespread, not as wide as they were this time yesterday and even right now, that blue area in and around Boston, that is a winter storm watch that is in place. So again, still through Wednesday, more delays, of course, and cancellations at the airports, New York and Washington impacted certainly Wednesday.

But likely to Thursday also, Boston, New York will still be impacted. And Boston as well as that snow heads in. It's a very slow moving system. It will pull offshore.

But guess what? The snow will continue to impact this particular area, even though the center has pulled away to the east, 20 centimeters still to come down, possibly in Washington; New York about 9 centimeters; Boston, just hidden behind my shoulder there -- I'll move this way -- 27 centimeters we could see still there.

So this is why, as you can well understand, the airports are already put in place those cancellations. And there will be quite a lot of travel problems. Then it clears and it's pretty good. Then we've got the next snow, some rain pushing into the west.

Temperature wise, it will be a cold day in Chicago at 2, 5 in New York on Thursday. Warming up gradually across the south, 14 degrees Celsius.

Now in Europe, I said that certainly for Mr. Quest right now, it would be 8 degrees Celsius in London with some rain. It's been pushing in over the last few hours, something that would warm all of us up and get rid of the snow is now (inaudible).

Just quickly let's just quickly show a few of these images if we can. Mt. Etna erupting; Europe's highest volcano, active as well, a new crater, 2,900 meters. This was the site just a few hours ago, Richard.

QUEST: Jenny Harrison at the World Weather Center, we thank you for that. More from Berlin and from you, Jenny, tomorrow. After the break, a "Profitable Moment" from ITV.



QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment": the numbers tell the story. There are a billion tourists a year. And with them go many more desires, ambitions and goals and hopes. In fact, the number of tourists is just going to keep rising. China is only just getting into the game. And for developing countries like Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, well, tourism offers a fantastic opportunity to develop their societies and a growing middle class.

Even the countries in developed worlds like Europe, with high unemployment, tourism has a huge potential for helping put things right. But it will only happen if government puts in place the right policies.

The problem is, for too long, governments have regarding tourism as a cash cow to be milked. In Britain, with ADP, the passenger duty, or in the United States with the estafee (ph), which takes money from visitors before they've even arrived, tourism needs to have policies in place and it needs to have ministers that are listened to.

Ultimately, the tourist industry must be recognized as important like manufacturing and other parts of the service sector. And most crucially of all, tourism demands respect.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in the German capital, Berlin. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. I'll see you back in Berlin tomorrow.


QUEST (voice-over): The headlines at the top of the hour: this is CNN.

Crowds of mourners jammed the streets of Venezuela's capital, trying to catch a glimpse of the casket carrying President Hugo Chavez. His body will lie in state at a military academy until Friday. And then there will be a state funeral.

The United Nations Refugee Agency says more than a million Syrians have now fled the country's civil war. The U.N. High Commissioner has called it a milestone in human tragedy.

And Moscow police say three suspects have been detained over the acid attack on the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director. They said that three of them have confessed.

Those are the news headlines.


QUEST: You're up to date. Now "AMANPOUR" is live in New York.