IPK released Global Travel Trends for 2012 – 2013

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IPK International released Global Travel Trends for 2012 – 2013. Trend 2013: Continuation of positive trend in the “New” economies; moderate prospects for the “Old” economies.

ipk-13-1Violence and political unrest dominated the headlines in a number of important destination countries, including Egypt and Greece – which at times led to travelers staying away in droves. Other destinations such as Mexico (drug war) and Israel (Palestinian conflict), which likewise have to contend with image problems due to negative press, were nevertheless able to record growth.

A similar paradoxical picture is seen with respect to the markets of origin.

An increasing number of countries are not able to pay their debts, the national debt crisis has not reached its end and the resulting negative impacts on travel behavior; i.e. the so-called “downward mobility” in the “Old” economies – the traditional national economies of Western Europe, the USA and Japan – cannot be excluded.

On the other hand, an “upward mobility” is seen in the “New” economies such as Brazil, Mexico, Poland, Russia, China, etc. Incomes are doubling in these countries almost every eight years, travel is increasingly becoming part of the lifestyle of their newly emerging middle class.

All told, 2012 was another year for the record books as far as worldwide overnight outbound travel. IPK’s World Travel Monitor® identified growth of +4% to approx. 840 million outbound trips. Overnight accommodation (6.8 billion nights / +2%) and spending (913 billion Euro / +7%) likewise recorded record highs in 2012.

“Despite the sometimes very different developments in the destination countries and in the countries of origin, all aspects of outbound travel – number of trips, overnight stays and spending – once again reached record highs in 2012,” notes Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International.

As far as the outlook for 2013, the current ambivalence will continue. Rolf Freitag adds: “We anticipate a 7% increase in the outbound travel demand from the “New” economy countries of Asia. At the same time, we’re estimating just a 2% increase for the “Old” economy countries of Europe and even zero growth for North America.”

Europeans increasingly leaning toward city trips

Europeans took more trips in 2012 than in 2011 – but as the 2012 World Travel Monitor® data shows – travel volume still only flirted with the all-time high set in 2008. Altogether, the number of outbound trips the Europeans took in 2012 rose 2% to 421 million, following a 3% increase in 2011. While the number of overnight stays remained stable at 3.5 billion nights, outbound travel expenditures rose 2% to 353 billion Euro.

In terms of last year’s holiday types, the Europeans most frequently took sun and beach holidays, although growth of just 1% was achieved. In contrast, at -12%, the number of tours (round trips) fell sharply. Conversely, increasing 13%, there was strong growth in city trips.

Non-Euro-countries booming, large source markets stagnating, crisis countries weakening

As IPK’s World Travel Monitor® figures show, there were highs and lows across Europe’s most important source markets in 2012. Russia recorded the largest increase in Europe last year with a rise of 14%. Swiss and Norwegian outbound travel also increased significantly (each 7%). Among the highest-volume European source markets, France did not record any growth last year (0%) while Germany and the UK both increased by 1%. In contrast, the so-called Euro-crisis countries posted clearly negative outbound travel figures: Spain (-5%), Italy (-6%), Portugal (-7%) or Greece (-7%).

ipk-13-2German travel market remains positive

In line with the World Travel Monitor® results, continued positive development prevailed last year throughout the total overall German market (domestic and outbound travel). The Germans took 329 million domestic and outbound trips in 2012 (+3%) and at 1.6 billion, the number of overnights also came in 3% higher.

Important to the tourism sector: the number of German holiday trips increased by 2% and now accounts for 45% of the entire travel market. Business trips (+6%) and private trips (+2%) also developed positively. With a 6% increase to 144 billion Euro, the growth rate for the Germans’ total travel expenditures exceeded those for travel volume and overnight stays.

All in all, there was a clear trend toward domestic travel with an increase of 3% (to 256 million trips) compared to just 1% growth (to 73.5 million trips) for outbound travel.

This also holds true for the Germans’ holiday trips: There were 4% more holidays taken domestically (to 96.2 million trips) compared to the holiday trips taken to other countries which, at 52.6 million, remained unchanged from the previous year’s level. “We’ve been observing this trend of more trips taken here at home coupled with fewer trips outside of Germany for several years now,” says IPK head Rolf Freitag.

Nor was there any change in the Germans’ top outbound holiday destinations: Austria again took first place in 2012 (17% market share), followed by Spain (16%) and Italy (13%). All three holiday destinations were able to hold onto their market shares with single-digit growth rates. Other popular outbound holiday destinations for the Germans last year were Turkey (8%), France (6%) and the Netherlands (6%). As regards the domestic destinations, Bavaria still remains the absolute market leader with 20 million holiday trips. Bavaria is twice as popular as the second and third ranking states of Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg.

2013 Outlook

Although the global economy seems to be heading toward recession, IPK anticipates a 3% worldwide growth in tourism for 2013. The tourism world will thereby be further divided.

In Asia‘s emerging markets, tourism demand will increase by 7%. The traditional European and North American travel markets will remain in their consolidation phases with a moderate growth rate of approximately 2% for Europe and zero growth (0%) for North America.

Social media will continue to gain ever more importance in the tourism sector. Nearly every second European outbound traveler is part of the social media community and 14% of them already use social media as a source of information for travel planning and realization.

All the (preliminary) results presented are based on data from the World Travel Monitor® of IPK International, the world’s only and largest international tourism market study. The data of the World Travel Monitor® is culled from population-representative surveys taken in more than 60 countries with more than 500,000 such interviews being conducted around the world each year.


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