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ITB Travel Report Predicts More Arrivals, Departures for Europe in 2013

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | November 26, 2012

ITB Travel Report Predicts More Arrivals, Departures for Europe in 2013

In Europe, the effects of the economic situation on the continent’s tourism industry are wide-ranging, but the overall trend remains positive. This is one of the findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Report, compiled by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin. The report predicts that in 2013 Europeans will undertake even more trips abroad. Europe can also expect more arrivals.

This year, the number of stays abroad and spending at destinations rose by around 2 percent. At the same time European travel patterns changed -- thus beach holidays fell by 1 percent, while city tours grew by around 14 percent. Short breaks of one to three overnights rose by 10 percent and business stays abroad increased by 8 percent. Portugal, Spain and Italy benefited from a rise in trips from Eastern Europe. Italy reported 2 percent growth in inbound tourism and an increase in visitors from Russia and Poland. Their numbers offset the slight decline in arrivals from Germany and the U.K. Similarly, Spain and Portugal each reported a 3 percent rise in inbound tourism.

The report also discovered that Europeans increasingly favor faraway destinations -- long-haul travel rose by around 4 percent. The main beneficiaries of this trend were the Americas and the Asia Pacific region, where inbound tourism rose by 2 and 8 percent, respectively. Short-haul trips to destinations within Europe and to the Mediterranean rose by 2 percent. Economic uncertainty in a number of European countries is also impacting on travel patterns. Thus, Italy reported a 5 percent drop and Spain a 2 percent decline in outbound trips. By contrast, the figures for Switzerland and Norway were good. These countries benefited from high exchange rates and reported 10 and 6 percent increases in outbound travel, respectively.

Conversely, despite a flourishing economy, Germany’s figures stagnated, and U.K. outbound travel also grew by only 1 percent. In spite of its political and economic difficulties, Europe remains a sought-after destination. Spain, Germany and many Central and Eastern European countries reported 5 percent-plus increases in international visitors from Europe and overseas. The weak euro and strong dollar helped to make Europe a popular travel destination with Americans. Japan also began to attract tourists again, having gradually recovered from the disasters of 2011. China, India and Brazil, where the middle classes are expanding, are among new markets gaining in importance. Thus, a 1 to 3 percent increase in international arrivals at European destinations is forecast for 2013.

Despite the economic tensions in Europe, the forecasts for 2013 are cautiously optimistic. Overall, the ITB World Travel Trends Report predicts a moderate increase in European outbound travel of around 1 to 2 percent. Only one-third of Europeans said the recession would affect their travel plans in 2013. Russian outbound tourism is expected to rise by 9 percent, and U.K. and German outbound numbers by 5 and 3 percent, respectively. Some 28 percent of Europeans said they wanted to travel more in 2013, 21 percent said they would be travelling less.

Details of the studies will be presented by the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which will be published in early December. The report is based on the assessments of around 50 tourism experts from 30 countries, on a special IPK International trend analysis undertaken in major source markets, and on core data supplied by the World Travel Monitor, recognized as the largest continuous survey of global travel trends in some 60 source countries. The findings reflect trends which emerged during the first eight months of 2012. At the ITB Berlin Convention, Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, will present the findings for the entire year, as well as the latest forecasts for 2013.

The ITB Berlin Convention 2013 will be taking place from Wednesday, March 6, to Sunday, March 10, and from Wednesday to Friday will be open to trade visitors only. In 2012, a total of 10,644 exhibitors from 187 countries displayed their products and services to 172,000 visitors, including 113,006 trade visitors.

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