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Holiday Plans and Travel Trends Mirror Social Divisions

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Holiday plans and travel trends are increasingly mirroring the social divisions between rich and poor.

According to ITB Berlin – the travel industry’s largest trade show – the fallout from the global economic and financial crisis will tend to favour the growth of niche markets, in particular segments such as luxury travel, once again in 2009. At the same time, bargain hunting and last-minute travel will be dominant.

“Whether we like it or not – the idea of saving money at all costs is back with us again,“ said Dr. Martin Buck, Director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin.

According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, commissioned from consultants IPK International by ITB Berlin, as far as travel trends are concerned, 2009 is a  very difficult year to forecast. The effects of the global economic and financial crisis, coupled with uneasiness over prices for raw materials and significant currency fluctuations, mean that no reliable forecasts can currently be made.

The ITB World Travel Trends Report is based on the  assessments of around 60 tourism experts from 30 countries, meeting at the World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa in November 2008, as well as on core data supplied by the World Travel Monitor, recognised as the largest ongoing survey on global travel trends in some 60 source countries.

According to ITB Berlin, the findings of the Pisa Forum indicate that short trips within Europe will become increasingly popular next year. “Higher costs and a new kind of insecurity affecting consumers will undoubtedly impact negatively on long-haul travel in 2009,” said Dr. Martin Buck.

City-tour vacations will not be enough to counter this trend. Dr. Buck noted that the boom in trips to major European cities, which low-cost airlines had significantly accelerated in recent years, would tail off. According to the Trends Report, the growth  experienced by low-cost airlines has already come to an end in 2008.

Assessments by ITB Berlin indicate that, against the backdrop of the economic and financial crisis, business travel, in particular, together with travel to meetings, conferences and incentive trips, will suffer.

“Worldwide, international companies have begun to drastically cut their spending on business travel, meetings and incentives.” Dr. Martin Buck added. "The travel industry is already experiencing the effects of these measures.”

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