IPK Shares Latest Travel Trends with Results from World Travel Monitor

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Thursday, 8 March 2012

Despite a number of Black Swan events in many parts of the world such as trouble in some parts of the Middle East, the tsunami in Japan, flooding in Thailand and ongoing bank or national debt crises, the recovery in consumer travel demand that began in 2010 also continued in 2011.

The preliminary results of the World Travel Monitor from IPK International show a 5% rise in global outbound travel (with overnights) in 2011 to 750 million (following again of 7% in 2010). This represents a new record high in global outbound travel.

The number of overnight stays rose 4% to 6.2 billion nights (2010 likewise saw 4% growth); the total volume of overnight accommodation thereby finally besting that of 2008 for the first time.

At 828 billion Euro, travel spending on international foreign travel in 2011 (corresponding to an 8% increase over the previous year) also edged past its former record high of 2008.

Tourism defied the continuing crises and difficult situations prevailing in many countries in 2011 to end with record levels in all aspects; i.e. not only in travel volume but also in overnights and spending, said Rolf Freitag, founder and president of IPK International. The 5% growth over the previous year translates into a new record high in global outbound travel.

As to the outlook for 2012, Freitag said, Were also cautiously optimistic as to 2012, although the economic outlook in many markets would in fact seem to indicate recession. We thus anticipate even more distinct shifts in the tourism source markets, especially as those in the southern Euro crises countries will not be in a position to travel in the manner to which theyre accustomed.

Europeans Embracing Cultural Travel

While Europeans took more trips compared to 2010, the World Travel Monitor data for 2011 shows that the total volume did not top the record high reached in 2008. The number of outbound trips rose 3.5% in 2011 to 414 million, following a 2% growth rate for 2010. The number of overnight accommodations held steady at 3.5 billion. Meanwhile, following decreases in 2009 and 2010, expenditures for outbound trips rose 4% for the first time again (to 348 billion Euro).

In terms of the types of holidays taken last year, the Europeans showed a preference for beach holidays, this segment increasing 5%. At 12%, the number of tours recorded potent growth while city breaks also saw a 9% increase. Countryside holidays, however, fell by 4%.

Large source markets stagnating while Russia booming As IPKs numbers show, Europes most important source markets experienced various ups and downs in 2011. Great Britain was the only European source market to experience absolutely no growth last year (0%), while the markets of Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain increased their total outbound numbers by 1-2%.

Yet the largest growth in Europe last year, a 13% increase in outbound trips, was achieved by Russia. The outbound trips of the Swiss also recorded an impressive increase (+9%).

Positive Trend Continues in the All-German Travel Market

The World Travel Monitor confirms that the all-German market (domestic plus outbound trips) continued to develop positively last year. The Germans took 321 million domestic and outbound trips in 2011 (+4%) with overnight stays, at 1.6 billion, being 4% higher. Significant for the tourism sector: the number of holidays also rose 4%; i.e. now 45% of the entire travel market. Meanwhile, business (+6%) and private (+3%) trips also showed positive growth. By rising 4% to 138 billion Euro, the total travel expenditures of the Germans again surpassed its 2008 level.

Yet there was still a clear trend toward domestic travel, this segment increasing 5% to 248 million trips while outbound travel only rose 1% to 73 million trips. Weve been noting this German trend of more domestic trips and fewer outbound trips for several years now, affirmed IPK director Freitag.

Germans taking more holidays at home as well as abroad When it comes to their holiday trips, the Germans again showed a preference for staying closer to home, with the number of domestic trips rising 5% last year to 92.9 million. However, German outbound holiday travel was also able to post a robust 4% gain to 52.7 million holidays this time.

Once again, there was no change in the Germans top three holiday destinations in 2011: Austria came in first (16% market share), followed by Spain (15%) and Italy (13%). All three were able to hold onto their market shares with single-digit growth rates. Other popular outbound holiday destinations for the Germans last year included Turkey (8%), France (6%), the Netherlands (5%), Greece (4%) and Croatia (3%). Among the Germans domestic destinations, Bavaria, recording 19.1 million holiday trips, remained twice as popular as the second and third-place states of Lower Saxony and Baden-Wrttemberg.

Outlook 2012

Even as the global economy may face recession, IPK anticipates a slight 2% growth in global tourism in 2012 coupled with the rifts in the world of tourism widening even further.

Tourism demand will grow in the emerging markets: by 4% in Asia and 6% in Latin America. The traditional European and North American travel markets will remain in a phase of consolidation with only moderate growth rates: 1% for Europe and even a slight drop (-1%) for North America.

The latest surveys conducted for IPKs World Travel Monitor indicate that significant changes are brewing in travel and booking behavior worldwide. For example, more off-season travel as well as continuing increases in online bookings can be expected. The use of social media and smartphones will also be on the rise as sources of information or assisting in making concrete travel plans.

The (preliminary) results presented are based on IPK Internationals World Travel Monitor, one of the worlds largest tourism studies monitoring the pulse of international travel. The World Travel Monitor data is derived from population-representative surveys conducted in 60 countries. More than 500,000 interviews are conducted around the globe each year.

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