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Full speed ahead out of the recession – the travel industry remains a mainstay of the global economy

ITB Berlin 2011Full speed ahead out of the recession and back on course for expansion. After the worst losses in recent history due to the worldwide economic and financial crisis in 2009, the world’s travel industry is back on course for success, much faster than expected and defying the predictions of international industry analysts.  Speaking on Thursday at the 18th World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa, Rolf Freitag, President of the consultancy IPK International, said: “The world’s international travel industry is back and now even more dynamic, and this year has underlined its role as one of the mainstays of the global economy”. According to Rolf Freitag, Asia in particular is driving international growth.

According to IPK, in 2010 year-on-year worldwide growth in domestic tourism will reach five per cent, in international tourism seven per cent, while growth in international arrivals will be in the order of six to seven per cent, a new all-time record. However, around the world growth rates vary. In South America growth is currently at 13 per cent, in Asia, Oceania and the Middle East at twelve per cent, and in Africa growth in domestic and international flights is at seven per cent. By contrast the markets in North America and Europe have lagged behind, and figures have yet to reach pre-recession levels. For Europe the year-on-year growth figure is three per cent, while for North America it is only one per cent.

Launched by the consultancy IPK International and sponsored by ITB Berlin, every year at the World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa 50 tourism experts and scientists from around the world present currents statistics and the latest trends in international tourism.

The hotel industry has a long way to go before making a similar recovery. Rolf Freitag: “We have yet to see a recovery from 2009 that saw year-on-year growth drop by seven per cent. Compared with last year growth has now reached five per cent, but travellers are booking shorter stays.” Travellers’ spending behaviour was similarly restrained, he added.

According to IPK, in 2010 Germany’s market share will reach ten per cent and 72.6 million trips, confirming it as the world’s most travelled nation. The USA ranks second, with a market share of nine per cent and 64 million trips, followed by the UK and France in third and fourth place.

“Against the backdrop of the global recession, the dynamism with which the world’s travel industry has recovered from last year’s slump is quite remarkable and encouraging. We are confident that the markets in Europe and North America will move in a positive direction too, and that when ITB Berlin takes place in March next year that they will be able to report promising developments”, said Dr. Martin Buck, Director, Competence Center Travel and Logistics, Messe Berlin.


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