ITB Berlin: Tourism in Europe Defies Numerous Crises



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 forecasts 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 %. At the same time European travel patterns changed – thus beach holidays fell by one per cent, while city tours grew by around 14 per cent. Short breaks of one to three overnights rose by ten per cent and business stays abroad increased by eight per cent.

Portugal, Spain and Italy benefited from a rise in trips from Eastern Europe. Italy reported two per cent 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 UK. Similarly, Spain and Portugal each reported a three per cent rise in inbound tourism.

The report also discovered that Europeans increasingly favour faraway destinations: long-haul travel rose by around four per cent. The main beneficiaries of this trend were the Americas and the Asia Pacific region, where inbound tourism rose by two and all of eight per cent respectively. Short-haul trips to destinations within Europe and to the Mediterranean rose by two per cent.

Different travel patterns in individual European markets

Economic uncertainty in a number of European countries is also impacting on travel patterns. Thus, Italy reported a five per cent drop and Spain a two per cent decline in outbound trips. By contrast, the figures for Switzerland and Norway were good. These countries benefited from high exchange rates and reported ten and six per cent increases in outbound travel respectively. Conversely, despite a flourishing economy Germany’s figures stagnated, and UK outbound travel also grew by only one per cent.

In spite of its political and economic difficulties, Europe remains a sought-after destination. Spain, Germany and many Central and Eastern European countries reported five per cent 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 for example. 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 one to three per cent increase in international arrivals at European destinations is forecast for 2013.

Cautiously optimistic 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 one to two per cent. Only one-third of Europeans said the recession would affect their travel plans in 2013. Russian outbound tourism is expected to rise by nine per cent, and UK and German outbound numbers by five and three per cent respectively. 28 per cent of Europeans said they wanted to travel more in 2013, 21 per cent said they would be travelling less.

Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin: “The report’s findings illustrate the wide-ranging impact of economic developments on European tourism forecasts. Changing travel patterns mean that European countries will have to adapt to a much greater variety of demand. All the same, the outlook for next year is mostly positive.”

Launched by the consultancy IPK International and sponsored by ITB Berlin, every year at the World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa, tourism experts and scientists from around the world present current statistics and the latest trends in international tourism.

Details of the studies will be presented by the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which will be published in early December at www.itb-berlin.com. 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®, recognised 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.

ITB Berlin, www.itb-berlin.de/en