European travel industry cautiously optimistic in the wake of massive losses


In the calendar year following the worldwide economic and financial crisis the international travel industry has experienced a serious decline but nonetheless has survived this period in better shape than was expected in the spring of 2009. With eight percent less arrivals, in the first eight months of this year the losses experienced by the European travel industry were by comparison the highest.

According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, commissioned by the world’s leading travel trade show and compiled by the consultancy IPK International, during this period the number of outbound trips undertaken by Europeans went down by seven percent, who also spent 15 percent less on their travels. Long-haul travel fell by twelve percent, short-haul trips by only six percent. Europeans are also less willing to make a firm decision regarding their travel intentions in 2010 than they were a year ago. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of those polled in October 2009 said they would travel at least as often as they did in 2009, however, in the same period last year, the figure was 80 percent.

The findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Report are based on the assessments of 60 tourism experts from 30 countries on a special IPK International trend analysis undertaken in leading source markets and on core data supplied by the World Travel Monitor®, recognized as the largest ongoing survey of global travel behavior in some 60 source countries. The researchers found that among the most important European markets, travel activity had declined strongest in the UK (minus 15 percent), Russia (minus twelve percent), and in Sweden (minus ten percent). Germans undertook five percent less trips abroad. Austria was the only nation to report gains, with travel activity up by two percent over 2008.

The ITB World Travel Trends Report noted that this year the travel industry was particularly hard hit by the effects of consumer insecurity. According to the researchers, there was a record number of last-minute bookings in 2009. Thus, compared with the same period in 2008, in the first eight months of this year, the number of people booking their holiday one week before traveling rose by 18 percent. By contrast, the number of reservations made in the period from one week to one month before the start of a trip fell by five percent. Bookings made from one month to three months before traveling went down by 13 percent, and for three months and more by twelve percent.

Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin, said: “For holiday destinations, airlines, hotels, tour operator and travel agencies, travelers are becoming an increasingly indeterminable factor. Together with demographic shifts, changing lifestyles, and technological progress, the recession is changing travel behavior. Holidaymakers are not showing their hand, and last-minute bookings are at a record high. With the economic situation as it is, there are huge challenges awaiting the travel industry.”

From December 15, 2009, the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2009/2010 can be downloaded free of charge from .


ITB Berlin 2010 will take place from Wednesday, March 10 to Sunday, March 14. ITB Berlin will be open to trade visitors only from Wednesday to Friday. Parallel with the trade fair, the ITB Berlin Convention will be held from Wednesday to Friday, March 10-12, 2010. Full details of the congress can be found at . The program for 2010 will be available online soon. ITB Berlin is the world’s leading travel trade show. In 2009, a total of 11,098 companies from 187 countries exhibited their products and services to 178,971 visitors, who included 110,857 trade visitors.