The UK and Russia have been Europe’s hardest hit outbound markets in 2009, according to the latest trend report from ITB.
Travel activity in the UK fell 15%, Russia was 12% lower and in Sweden 10% down. Austria was the only nation to report gains, with travel activity up by 2% over 2008. Meanwhile the German market proved one of Europe’s more resilient markets, with overseas trips down 5%.
However the European travel industry remains cautiously optimistic in the wake of massive losses but more and more last-minute bookings appear to be on the rise.
According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, compiled by the consultancy IPK International, during this period the number of outbound trips undertaken by Europeans went down by 7%, who also spent 15% less on their travels.
Long-haul travel fell by 12%, short-haul trips by only 6%. Europeans are also less willing to make a firm decision regarding their travel intentions in 2010 than they were a year ago. Some 68% of those polled in October 2009 said they would travel at least as often as they did in 2009, however in the same period last year the figure was 80 per cent.
The ITB World Travel Trends Report noted that this year the travel industry was particularly hard hit by the effects of consumer insecurity. According to the researchers there was a record number of last-minute bookings in 2009. In the first eight months of this year the number of people booking their holiday one week before travelling rose by 18% year-on year.
By contrast, the number of reservations made in the period from one week to one month before the start of a trip fell 5%. Bookings made from one month to three months before travelling went down by 13%, and for three months and more by 12%.
Dr. Martin Buck, Director Competence Center Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin: “For holiday destinations, airlines, hotels, tour operators and travel agencies, travellers are becoming an increasingly indeterminable factor. Together with demographic shifts, changing lifestyles and technological progress, the recession is changing travel behaviour. Holidaymakers are not showing their hand and last-minute bookings are at a record high. With the economic situation as it is there are huge challenges awaiting the travel industry.”