World tourism has undergone significant changes over the past few years. These are in large part attributable to external factors - such as the economic and political situation, environmental issues, terrorist attacks and safety and health scares. Many of them in fact stem from the changing consumer, as a result of demographic shifts and lifestyle changes.
“One of the most critical developments, for example,” to quote Rob Franklin, Executive Director of the European Travel Commission (ETC), “is the ageing of the population in key source markets, which has already had - and will continue to have - a major impact on travel and tourism demand.”
Similarly, the emergence of new markets from around the world, such as China, India and Russia, is resulting in new challenges for Europe and competing destination regions.
Advances in technology, notably with the internet, have made it much easier for consumers to research their travel options and self-tailor their travel itineraries and holiday packages. Online booking has also been facilitated by the emergence and rapid growth of low-cost carriers, which have opened up secondary destinations and made travel more accessible to the less affluent segments of the world’s population. And these developments, in turn, have had a big impact on marketing and communications.
“Whatever the changing trends, ETC believes they offer huge opportunities for our member countries,” said Mr Franklin. “It is therefore appropriate that we should release this new publication, Tourism Trends for Europe on Word Tourism Day 2006.”
An update of ETC’s earlier report Megatrends of Tourism in Europe to the Year 2005 and Beyond, produced with the support of the European Travel & Tourism Action Group (ETAG), the new publication highlights the many different trends expected to influence travel and tourism over the next five to ten years.
“The main objective of the document is to make industry players think about the future and the effects of all these projected changes,” added Mr Franklin. “But it also confirms beyond doubt, re-iterating the message of this year’s World Tourism Day, that Tourism Enriches - not only travellers and tourists, but also the destinations visited and the suppliers involved in selling those destinations.”