Breaking Travel News

WTM Special: World Tourism Bouncing Back

Key industry findings were unveiled today in the Global Travel Report at the Forecast Forum press conference at the World Travel Market in London.According to the forecast:

Global tourism rises 12 per cent in 2004  
Business travellers are more concerned about upgrades than security
Business travel is poised to bounce back

Airline losses set are to exceed $4 billion

Internet use in UK higher than in France and Germany  

US citizens are expected to return to the skies

The four-day business event, with more than 45,000 senior travel industry
officials from 194 countries, has consistently been at the forefront of the
travel and tourism industry highlighting key issues, trends and

Global tourism rises 12 per cent in 2004
Global tourism is increasing rapidly with worldwide arrivals rising 12 per
cent to around 526 million in the first eight months of 2004, compared with
the same period as last year.

Figures unveiled in The World Travel Market Global Report 2004-05 revealed
all regions of the world benefited from the trend, with the Asia Pacific
region recording the most impressive growth, up 37 per cent to 99 million
arrivals,  albeit from depressed levels in 2003.

Other strong performers were the Middle East, which followed up a three per
cent rise in 2003 with growth levels of 24 per cent to 23 million arrivals.


International tourism arrivals to the US grew 12 per cent to 85 million
after two years of decline, while arrivals to Africa rose nine per cent to
two million and Europe managed relatively modest growth of three per cent to
296 million.

Turning to Europe, outbound tourism presents a more mixed picture. Based on
the first eight months of 2004, the number of outbound trips for the year is
set to rise by four per cent from the 2003 figure of 338 million. Overnight
stays are expected to drop four per cent to 3.3 billion while spending per
trip is expected to fall one per cent from the 1993 figure of 917 Euros per
person. Total spending for 2004 is forecast to rise two per cent from last
year’s $310 billion.

Short-haul travel from Europe for 2004 will grow three per cent, while
long-haul trips will rise by 12 per cent. This contrasted with 2003, when
short-haul grew at the expense of long-haul as people preferred to travel
closer to home and for shorter stays, perhaps due to increased fear of

From Europe, the number of holidays taken in 2004 is expected to rise 10 per
cent from the 1993 figure of 230 million; business travel will fall one per
cent from 48 million and the ‘visiting friends and relatives’ market will
fall 10 per cent from 60 million last year, when the VFR market was very

The strongest outbound growth markets in Europe were Spain and Russia, both
up 10 per cent. Benelux, Italy and Sweden all enjoyed growth between 5-10
per cent, while France, UK and Germany were up 2-5 per cent. Trips from
Switzerland and Austria both fell.

The most popular European destinations to visit were the new EU and future
EU members, such as Turkey, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Baltic states, Slovakia
and Poland.

Interestingly, worldwide, the Japanese spend an average of 2,100 Euros per
person per trip; the Chinese E1,900; the Americans E1,400 and Europeans

Business travellers more concerned about upgrades than security

Nearly a quarter of business travellers would fly more often if they were
guaranteed upgrades and over a third are tempted by cheaper fares.

The Corporate Air Travel Survey, conducted online in August 2004 by aviation
analysts Airclaims in co-operation with several international airlines,
polled over 450 frequent business travellers.

The findings revealed in the World Travel Market Global Travel Report also
highlighted most were unconcerned about safety issues, but instead wanted
value for money and greater comfort on flights.

Some 24 per cent would travel more often if upgrades were on offer and 35
per cent would fly more frequently if airline prices were cheaper.

Only 6 per cent of business travellers wanted better schedules, while 11 per
cent would fly more often if airlines were more reliable and 10 per cent
wanted more frequent flyer programmes.

According to the survey, just three per cent were concerned about on-board
security while two per cent wanted good overall security.

Business travellers polled also said they were concerned about excessive
taxes, the hassle of delays and the downgrading of service to reduce costs.
Although only a small number said improved security would encourage them to
travel more often, only 30 per cent said they were comfortable flying to the
Middle East. Some 90 per cent were happy flying in Europe, while 76 per cent
would have no problems travelling to Asia Pacific and 72 per cent to the US.

Business travel poised to bounce back

Business travel out of Europe is set to grow next year after a stagnant
period in 2004 predicts the World Travel Market Global Travel Report

Based on the first eight months of the year, the number of business trips in
2004 is expected to rise just one per cent from the 2003 figure of 48
million. However, an online poll of 450 business travellers found the
prospects for the future are improving.

The Corporate Air Travel Survey was conducted in August 2004 by aviation
analysts Airclaims in co-operation with several international airlines.
Some 34 per cent of business travellers were planning to take more flights
over the next 12 months. In November 2003, only 26 per cent said they would
take more flights.

Only 5 per cent of business travellers polled claimed they would take less
flights, compared with 11 per cent in November 2003.

Airline losses set to exceed $4 billion

Airlines are the big losers in forecasts revealed in World Travel Market’s
Global Travel Report 2004-05.
Airline losses are set to exceed $4 billion in 2004 following the sharp
increase in jet fuel, according to the International Air Transport

IATA, which represents 267 airlines throughout the world, said the cost of
aviation fuel, which rose to over $50 a barrel, will lead to members losing
more than the $3-$4billion estimated earlier this year.
According to IATA, every additional $0.01 (one cent) increase in the price
of jet fuel adds over $500 million in industry costs. Airline industry costs
are currently running at $10 billion over 2003 levels.

Meanwhile, trips involving no-frills carriers in Europe increased by 24 per
cent from January to August 2004, compared with the same time last year, and
now account for 25 per cent of all air trips abroad from Europe.

Internet use in UK higher than in France or Germany

Findings unveiled in the World Travel Market’s Global Travel Report 2004-5
revealed that Brits are more likely to use the Internet to book travel than
the French or Germans.

According to the European Travel Monitor, which conducted 150,000 interviews
in the top ten European countries, some 53 per cent of Brits are likely to
book on the Internet, compared with 33 per cent in France and 28 per cent in

Although the Germans are least likely to book online, they are the most
frequent bookers of accommodation online, compared with France and the UK.
Meanwhile, the French are more likely to book complete package tours on the
Internet than Germans or Brits.
The report revealed 45 per cent of pre-booked trips by Europeans went
through travel agents, 30 per cent went through the Internet and 25 per cent
by other channels.

Of the 30 per cent who used the Internet, 40 per cent booked airline
tickets, 35 per cent accommodation and 25 per cent other travel add-ons.

Throughout Europe, online bookings increased by 39 per cent in the first
eight months of 2004.

US citizens return to the skies

US citizens are at last putting their fears of flying behind them and
increasing the number of trips they take abroad, according to new statistics
presented in the World Travel Market Global Travel Report 2004-05.

Outbound trips from the US have slumped alarmingly since 9/11 as fear of
flying has led to Americans staying at home.

The number of outbound trips in 2004 are set to rise by around eight per
cent to 58.5 million compared with last year. However, the total number of
trips will still be four per cent lower than the 2000 peak of 60.9 million
and is not expected to reach that level until 2007.

According to the report, the demand for travel is being driven by the
so-called Generation X, Americans born between 1965 and 1980. This trend is
different from that in other key markets, where baby boomers are driving

Meanwhile, the weaker dollar is likely to encourage Americans to travel more
southwards and to Asia rather than to Europe.