Hospitality leaders predict strong growth at ITB

The message from the Hospitality Leaders` Summit in Berlin yesterday was that although 2002 will be a challenging year - in terms of demand, job creation and subsequent investment in the industry - the outlook for growth in Europe is extremely positive in the medium to longer term.

The Summit brought together more than 40 CEOs of the major lodging groups, between them representing over three million hotel rooms. The event was convened by the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA
), the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC
) and the International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF). Discussions and debates, chaired by Sir Ian Prosser, Chairman of both Six Continents
and WTTC, centred on the current and future prospects of the industry, security measures being taken post-11 September, and the need for recognition of tourism as a driver of economic growth in Europe.


Sir Ian Prosser
said: “It is clear from our discussions today that, despite the events of the last few months, the industry`s outlook for the future is extremely positive,” said .



According to Jean-Claude Baumgarten
, president of WTTC, the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the underlying recession will result in a decline of 7.4 per cent in total travel and tourism demand in 2001-02, and will cost the industry over 10 million jobs worldwide.


However, WTTC forecasts are bullish for the longer term. In 2003 travel and tourism demand is projected to rebound sharply, with the result that, by first quarter 2004, the industry should have fully recovered from the impact of 11 September, growing by 6.5 per cent. Looking further ahead, travel and tourism demand is expected to grow by an average of 4.5 per cent a year between 2002 and 2012.


Paul Slattery, Director Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, shared this optimism. He set the scene with forecasts showing that in Europe, even with a modest 1 per cent compound annual growth rate, almost half a million new hotel rooms would be needed to satisfy consumer demand over the next ten years.