As the global recession bites, Asian tourism is moving
towards a reliance on tourists from within Asia, and even increasingly,
for those that have such a market, domestic tourism.
However, the traditional tourism generating
powerhouses of Japan and South Korea are facing painful economic
problems. Only China and India currently offer much hope. Even in
these two emerging markets, travellers have already reduced their
trips and say they will reduce more in 2009.
These are the findings of The ITB World Travel
Trends Report, which was written by IPK International and
officially published on Monday by Messe Berlin.
The report draws on results from the World
Travel Monitor by IPK, a continuous and representative survey
interviewing 500,000 persons in 58 countries around the world each
year. Combined with statistics from the UNWTO, the report delivers
a highly detailed picture of what happened in 2008 and what is
likely to happen in 2009 and beyond.
IPK’s survey shows
that 40% of Europeans will change their travel plans in 2009 due
to the economic crisis. “When people change their travel plans
they reduce the frequency of travel, travel for shorter periods,
and travel closer to home,” said Dr Martin Buck, Director of the
Competence Center, Travel & Logistics, at Messe Berlin.
new hopes for the future, China and India, have reduced their rate
of growth. The report predicts that both will still produce growth
in 2009, but at lower growth rates than 2008. But prospects for
Japan, South Korea and Taiwan do not look as good.
closer to home trend emerged in 2008. Europe turned out to be the
main loser, suffering a 5% drop in demand from South Korea, while
South Koreans travelling to the Americas and within Asia remained
The report suggests that European destinations
that usually attract a large number of Asian travellers will be in
for a hard time in 2009.
Chinese tourists have also
started travelling within Asia more. The ITB World Travel Trends
Report report shows a 10% growth at the expense of Europe, which
was flat in 2008. However, the Americas enjoyed a 16% increase in
Chinese visitors in 2008.
“There is huge pent-up demand for
travel to USA among Chinese of all age groups in the higher
socio-economic classes,” said Dr Buck.
In terms of
relative growth, India did even better in 2008 than the Chinese
market. Indian trip volume grew 13% and exceeded all growth
expectations. However, on this occasion, Europe appears to have
been the main beneficiary with a 25% increase in Indian visitors
“When you look at these numbers, it justifies the
decisions by some European national tourism organisations to open
offices and hire destination marketing representatives in India,”
said Dr Buck. “India is one of the few markets that hold out hope
for 2009. But no one should take India for granted either.”
Making accurate predictions for 2009 will be very difficult
concludes the report. The ITB World Travel Trends Report, drawing
on IPK’s research, states: “Although current forecasts are almost
certain to be changed many times during the year, there seems
little doubt that global outbound travel volume will decline in
2009. But the economic downturn will create new winners, as well
as losers. On the positive side, internet bookings will surge,
demand for online virtual meetings will gather pace, domestic
travel might stay more or less stable or even grow (as might
demand for low-fare flights), and destinations adjacent to big
travel markets will do not so badly. But long-haul travel from all
markets will fall. And the most pain will be felt in the business
travel and meetings industry.”
The next ITB, the ITB Asia, will take place at
the Suntec Singapore Exhibition & Convention Centre between 21-23
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