The social gap between rich and poor is increasingly reflected in holiday planning and travel behavior. In the judgment of ITB Berlin – the world’s leading trade fair for the global travel industry – in 2009, niche segments such as luxury travel, in particular, will again show high rates of growth in view of the international economic and financial crisis. At the same time, the next year will be all about bargain hunting and last minute trips. „No matter if we want it or not – stinginess will be cool again,“ said Dr. Martin Buck, Direktor KompetenzCenter Travel & Logistics Messe Berlin.
According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, produced by the cosulting firm IPK International on behalf of ITB Berlin, the travel year 2009 will be especially difficult to predict. The impact of the global financial and economic crisis – together with the insecurity from resource prices and high currency fluctuation – do not currently allow for reliable forecasts, the ITB World Travel Trends Report stated. It is based on the assessment of around 60 tourism experts from 30 countries, a trend analysis in the major source markets specifically conducted for the Forum by IPK International, as well as core data from the World Travel Monitor, which is regarded as the largest continuous study of global travel behavior from around 60 source countries.
According to estimations by ITB Berlin, due to the IPK surveys, shorter holiday trips within Europe will be increasingly popular in the following year. „Higher expenses and this new kind of uncertainty will undoubtedly have a negative impact on long-haul travel in the travel year of 2009,“ said Dr. Martin Buck. City travel will not be able to compensate this trend: The boom of trips to European metropolises, which had been significantly boosted over the previous years, will cool down. In the current year 2008, already, the growth of low-cost airlines has been worn out for the first time after the trend report.
Especially business trips and, more specifically, the so-called MICE segment with meetings, conference and incentives travel are suffering the most from the current economic and financial crisis, as assessed the ITB Berlin. Dr. Martin Buck: „International companies world wide have begun drastically cutting down on their expenses for business trips, meetings and incentives. The travel industry is already starting to feel these measures.“ However, the economic downturn would show in private trips only at a later date.
The ITB Berlin takes places from Wednesday to Sunday, March 11 to 15, 2009. The ITB Berlin is open for trade visitors from Wednesday to Friday. Parallel to the trade fair, the ITB Berlin Convention will be taking place from Wednesday to Saturday, March 11 to 14, 2009. The ITB Berlin Convention is the largest trade convention of the industry world wide. In the previous year, around 100 exhibitors catered to over 11,000 participants. The whole program can be accessed at www.itb-convention.com.