ITB Berlin: “Global tourism defies numerous crises”

4th Nov 2012
ITB Berlin: “Global tourism defies numerous crises”

The global financial and economic crisis clearly has not dampened people’s desire to travel. According to the consultancy IPK International and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), despite economically difficult times, in 2013 international tourism arrivals will once again grow in the order of two to four per cent.

Speaking at the 20th World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa, Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, said: “Never before have so many people travelled and never before have they had so much money at their disposal as this past year, in 2012.“ In Rolf Freitag’s view the continuing upward trend in the global travel industry is due mainly to an economic boom in the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and in other developing countries. “Significant income growth in countries such as Russia and India and the emergence of a new middle class in almost every BRIC country has sparked a desire to travel which prevails in times of crisis.“

According to Michel Julian of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the global tourism industry has so far proved resilient in the face of the current economic situation. UNWTO is optimistic that worldwide, international tourist arrivals in 2012 will grow by three to four per cent. “That is quite remarkable, especially in view of the current economic challenges around the world “, Michel Julian added. According to UNWTO, emerging countries in Asia and the Americas in particular will contribute to this increase, whereas growth in Europe and North America is expected to continue at a more moderate pace.

According to the study by IPK International, this year around 170 million more trips will be undertaken globally compared with 2011. Worldwide, according to IPK, a total of 6.8 billion trips will take place this year, 2.5 per cent more than in 2011. Domestic travel will grow by two per cent, reaching 5.77 billion. Travel abroad will rise by four per cent to 1.03 billion trips.

A fact worth noting is the increase in travel activity in South America (+12 per cent), Africa (+ 9 per cent), Asia and Oceania (+7 per cent), as well as in Japan (+13 per cent). In 2012, trips abroad in the USA are forecast to grow in the order of three per cent, and foreign travel in Europe by two per cent.


According to the international tourism experts at IPK, Germany was a very popular destination again: in 2011, Germany attracted 48 million visitors and was the top ten’s third most popular destination behind the USA (56 million) and Spain (51 million). It was followed by France, Italy and China.

According to Rolf Freitag, 2013 has many unknown risks in store. “Besides existing challenges such as the European debt crisis, drastic rises in energy costs and in some cases food costs will also impact significantly on the travel industry.“ However, he added that people were more relaxed about such crises than in previous years. Worldwide, only 31 per cent of the participants in the IPK study said this would affect their travel plans abroad, as opposed to 32 per cent last year.

Launched by the consultancy IPK International and sponsored by ITB Berlin, every year at the World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa 50 tourism experts and scientists from around the world present current statistics and the latest trends in international tourism.

Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel and Logistics, Messe Berlin: “It is both surprising and encouraging to see that people around the world regard travelling as part of their lifestyle, something they would not wish to be without even in times of crisis. Both the statistics for the BRIC countries and in particular for Germany as a destination are impressive.“

Details of the studies will be presented by the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which will be published in early December at The report is based on the assessments of 50 tourism experts from 30 countries, on a special IPK International trend analysis undertaken in leading 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.


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