Internet bookings will surge. Demand for online
virtual meetings will gather pace. Domestic travel will stay stable or
grow, as will demand for low cost flights. Destinations adjacent to big
travel markets will do not so bad. Long haul travel will fall sharply.
And the most pain will be felt in the business travel and MICE sectors.
Those were the predictions for 2009 unveiled by
IPK International’s CEO Mr Rolf Freitag, in an ITB World Travel
Trends Update at the ITB Convention in Berlin.
Based on 500,000 travel interviews in 58 countries around the
world, IPK delivered a wide-ranging forecast. In the predictions,
IPK suggested that 2009 will see travel declines in most markets,
with 2010 neutral and small growth likely in 2011 and 2012. Mr
Freitag said, “We’re in a full global economic crisis, not a small
recession. Consumer greed of the last few years has turned into
IPK’s travel interviews suggest that 40% of
Europeans will change their travel plans due to the economic
crisis. Some 66% of Europeans and 60% of Asians plan to change. Mr
Freitag said this change would mean they likely to switch to
domestic travel, travel for shorter periods of time, choose
cheaper destinations, or spend less while on holiday.
European and North American markets will be more adversely
affected compared to other regions of the world. IPK predicts that
China, India and all of Latin America will record GDP and travel
demand growth, even in 2009. However, those growth figures will be
smaller than the precedents set over the last 10 years.
Freitag pointed out that over 50% of global travel demand emanates
from Europe. Within Europe, in 2008, the Russians, Dutch and Poles
recorded much higher than average travel rates. However, the
strong devaluation of the Russian rouble and Polish zloty suggest
that such strong performances are unlikely to be repeated in 2009.
While Turkey, USA, Austria and UK all received strong
growth in arrivals numbers from European travellers in 2008, IPK
predicts they are unlikely to do so again this year.
households that earn more than 20,000 Euro a year, travel will
remain a high priority, according to IPK. However, households
earning less than 20,000 Euro are much more likely to adjust
travel plans towards cheaper and / or domestic trips.
Freitag pointed out that travellers are increasingly using the
internet, not just to find information, but to book and pay for
holidays. The internet as a travel tool is therefore predicted to continue to grow in
To help them face the economic downturn, which is
likely to go on longer than previously predicted, Mr Freitag said
companies should reduce costs, go on a price cutting offensive,
enter into partnerships with the public sector, communicate new
attractions more aggressively and intensify e-marketing and
Companies with good asset security can
take advantage of low interest rates to borrow money and invest
for the upturn which will eventually come, he said.
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