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Back from the recession and in even better shape

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ITBGlobal travel industry posts all-time record figures and sets its sights on moderate growth again in 2012

Bucking the general trend and despite numerous local crises around the world the international travel industry continues to grow. In 2011 it is now back in shape and this year will post record figures. Next year too, according to leading economic researchers surveying the travel sector, despite the debt crisis, the signs in the global tourism industry point to growth. In his closing speech on Monday at the 19th World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa, Rolf Freitag, CEO of the consultancy “IPK International – World Travel Monitor Company” said: ”Providing that over the coming weeks no serious political mistakes are made which might unsettle the public, in 2012 we can expect the international travel industry to grow in the order of two to three per cent around the world and thus in Europe as well.“ In Freitag’s view Germany will be among the market winners in the bid to attract tourists from around the world. ”In terms of value for money and the diversity it has to offer Germany is outstanding, and the higher-class tourists which it attracts are largely unaffected by crises“, he said. In 2012 Asia and the emerging markets will again be driving the global travel industry forward. By contrast, according to the IPK International’s forecasts, it will take some time before Arab countries regain their visitors’ confidence. ”As a result of the Arab Spring, Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Portugal, Spain, as well as Italy, that is even those currently buffeted by the European debt crisis, are currently benefiting from a mood of uncertainty among tourists”, Freitag added. ”The political upheavals and changes affecting society throughout the Arab world are playing into the hands of European countries on the Mediterranean.”

According to the CEO of IPK International, Greece must take care not to squander the good reputation it enjoys as an attractive holiday destination. ”Footage of violent demonstrations and striking airport employees is not conducive to improving a tourism destination’s image“, said Freitag. In such difficult times Greece will only be able to compete as a tourism destination with other countries by lowering prices. However, due to cost structures and new taxes, that is something the country’s tourism industry will have difficulty achieving.

According to IPK International, in 2011 the volume of travel abroad will increase year-on-year by five per cent, with domestic trips worldwide rising by 2.5 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 current statistics and the latest trends in international tourism.

Dr. Martin Buck, Vice President of the Competence Center Travel and Logistics at Messe Berlin: ”It is impressive to note how resilient the global travel industry has been, faced with all kinds of crisis scenarios. The public is clearly prepared to cut back on travel spending and adapt. However, in Germany, as in many other countries as well, it seems that less and less people are willing to forfeit their travel plans altogether.”

The full details of the studies will be available in the ITB World Travel Trends Report which is due for release in December 2011 and can be found at www.itb-berlin.com. The report is based on the assessments of 50 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®, recognised as the largest continuous survey of global travel trends in some 60 source countries. The findings reflect trends which have emerged during the first eight months of 2011. In March 2012 at the ITB Berlin Convention, Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, will present the findings for the entire year, as well as current forecasts for 2012.

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