Hard times ahead for world’s travel industry spoiled by success


BERLIN – Hard times lie ahead for the world’s travel industry. According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, conducted by the consultants IPK International and commissioned by the global travel industry’s leading trade show, “at best, 2009 will be a year of stagnation.” Published in Berlin, the trend analysis forecasts that in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis, the travel industry can expect to contract by one to two percent in 2009, and that in all likelihood, the downturn will continue before things improve. Nor are the signals for 2010 encouraging. Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin, stated, “Recent months have shown how quickly the circumstances on which to base reliable predictions can change. Besides any economic recovery, factors such as price developments on the markets for raw materials have a sustained impact on the travel industry, making it impossible to issue reliable forecasts at this time.”

According to the ITB Travel Trends Report, imminent negative developments will impact strongest on North America, Europe, and the business travel sector, rather than on holiday travel. According to Dr. Martin Buck, over the next two years, interest in short- and medium-range travel destinations will increase. In addition, with lower fuel prices there will be a resurgence of personal car travel. “This is a big opportunity for tourism in Germany,” Buck added. ITB Berlin will be taking place from March 11-15, 2009. “Currently bookings are steady and numbers are very high. Once again we see that in an economically-difficult situation, a global network platform such as ITB Berlin is becoming increasingly important. In these times, business partners want to engage in direct, face-to-face dialogue,” he added.

The findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Reports indicate that the prospects for the travel market recovering vary significantly depending on the region. According to the researchers, the Asian-Pacific region and South America could emerge from the crisis by the end of this year, as these are the regions which depend most on rising demand from the threshold countries India and China. According to the trend analysis, there are positive signs for Europe as well. Even in times of great economic hardship, people are unwilling to give up holidays. Thus, according to a Europe-wide poll for the European Travel Monitor in 2008, 48 percent of respondents said they would definitely take a holiday in 2009, and that it was most likely they would travel more often than in 2008. Responding to the same question, 32 percent announced they would travel at least as often as in 2008 and only 14 percent said they would travel less. Six percent of those polled said that in 2009 they would not travel at all. However, figures within Europe vary considerably. Whereas Norwegians and Finns are eager to travel in 2009, Italians and Britons are rather less keen to make any plans.

The ITB World Travel Trends Report is based on the assessments of 60 tourism experts from 30 countries, on an IPK International trend analysis in leading source markets undertaken specifically for the forum, and on core data supplied by the World Travel Monitor®, recognized as the largest ongoing survey on global travel trends in some 60 source countries. This report is available for download at www.itb-berlin.com under Media Centre/Publications.

ITB Berlin Convention
ITB Berlin 2009 will be taking place from Wednesday, March 11 to Sunday, March 15 and will be open to trade visitors from Wednesday to Friday. Parallel with the trade fair, the ITB Berlin Convention will be taking place from Wednesday, March 11 to Saturday, March 14, 2009. For full program details, click on www.itb-convention.com .

Fachhochschule Worms and the US-based market research company PhoCusWright, Inc. are partners of the ITB Berlin Convention. Turkey is co-hosting this year’s ITB Berlin Convention. Other sponsors of the ITB Berlin Convention include Top Alliance, responsible for VIP service; hospitalityInside.com, as media partner of the ITB Hospitality Days; Flug Revue as media partner of the ITB Aviation Days; and the Planeterra Foundation as sponsor of the ITB Corporate Social Responsibility Days. The following are partners collaborating with the ITB Business Travel Days: Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG, Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V. (VDR), Vereinigung Deutscher Veranstaltungsorganisatoren e.V., HSMA Deutschland e.V., Deutsche Bahn AG, geschaeftsreise1.de, hotel.de, Kerstin Schaefer e.K. – Mobility Services and Intergerma. Air Berlin is the premium sponsor of the ITB Business Travel Days 2009.