itbRobust growth on a global scale – that is the overall assessment of the travel market. Even wars, terrorist attacks and a growing fear of pandemics are unable to deter people from travelling. Following 4.5 per cent growth in global travel in 2014 the prospects are bright for next year, in spite of the crises around the world. In 2015 the tourism consultancy IPK International expects global travel figures to increase yet again, in the order of four to five per cent.

Among the frontrunners in 2014 were private accommodation and bookings by smartphone. As a source of information and a reservation tool the internet continues to boom. Despite local political and economic crises around the world both domestic and foreign travel markets are reporting growth. Speaking in Pisa last Tuesday at the start of the 22nd World Travel Monitor® Forum of IPK Rolf Freitag, president of IPK International, said: “The travel industry has remained crisis-proof even in these recent turbulent times.“

From 2010 to 2014 the domestic travel markets around the world returned to their previous form. Globally, in 2014 foreign travel markets reported even stronger growth, expanding by 4.5 per cent. Between 2010 and 2014 the travel market flourished with a total of 980 million trips, marking an increase of 28 per cent. During the same period the average annual growth figure for trips abroad was 45 million. In 2014 mean spending per trip was 1,750 US dollars, marking an increase of two per cent. On trips abroad the average number of overnights was eight. As regards long-haul trips, since 2010 European destinations have reported especially high growth (+28 per cent). Asia also registered an increase of 22 per cent. Paris received 18.8 million arrivals this year, making it the world’s most popular city. It was followed by New York and London . Munich and Berlin were ranked seventh and eighth respectively on the list of the most popular metropolitan tourism regions.

Over the last five years, rising by an overall 35 per cent, private accommodation has gained a particularly large share of the market. As part of the evolving sharing economy private accommodation, apartments and holiday rentals have become more and more popular. Over the last five years city breaks (+58 per cent) and adventure trips (+32 per cent) have been among the market’s biggest driving forces. The latter category is especially popular with travellers in emerging markets. The market for beach holidays grew by 18 per cent, in particular due to travellers from Eastern Europe. MICE travel gained an increasingly large share of the business travel market, while the traditional business travel market declined.

In 2014 online bookings continued to boom. With a share of 66 per cent and a growth rate of seven per cent the limits to this market’s expansion are in sight. At 24 per cent, the market share of travel agency bookings has more or less stabilised. In 2014 there was a sharp increase in bookings by smartphone. At plus 10 per cent, China took first place in the growth rankings, followed by the USA (+7 per cent) and Japan (+5 per cent). Various social media channels such as review portals, blogs and forums have also become very popular for planning trips. In China, as many as 95 per cent of travellers abroad rely on advice from these sources.

Based on the trend surveys of the World Travel Monitor® IPK projects a ‘World Confidence Index’ of plus 4 % for 2015. For next year, as in 2014, it forecasts robust growth in the global market for international travel.

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 researchers from around the world present current statistics and the latest trends in international tourism.

Other results of the January to August 2014 trend surveys conducted by IPK as well as the assessments of more than 50 tourism experts from over 20 countries and the core data of the World Travel Monitor® will be published exclusively by ITB Berlin. Detailed information will be available in the ITB World Travel Trends Report in early December at www.itb-berlin.com. At the ITB Future Day of the ITB Berlin Convention Rolf Freitag, president of IPK International, will present the findings of the World Travel Monitor® for the entire year, as well as the latest forecasts for 2015. The World Travel Monitor® is based on the findings of representative interviews carried out with more than 500,000 people in over 60 global travel markets. It has been published regularly for more than 20 years and is recognised as the most widescale continuous survey examining global travel trends.