Europeans may have taken more trips this year, increasing by 5 percent in the first eight months of 2018, but outbound tourism failed to hit the 7 percent figure recorded in 2017, according to the World Travel Monitor, a global analysis of travel trends released by ITB Berlin and IPK International.
“Rising oil prices and air fares have dampened European growth. However, the trend remains clearly positive,” said Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, referring to the upward trend expected for 2019.
According to ITB-IPK analysts, Greece will continue to attract the crowds in the new year, Turkey will return to the market, and tour holidays will make a comeback.
Indicatively, Greece saw its visitor numbers rise by 19 percent in the year to August, while neighboring Turkey regained lost ground welcoming 30 percent more visitors in the same eight-month period. Rival destination Spain, however, saw figures remain steady, while visitor numbers to the UK dropped by nearly 3 percent.
For 2018, research found that the Polish market was the key driver of international travel, growing by 10 percent year on year. Travelers from Sweden, Russia, Italy, Germany and Austria contributed to European travel growth, which increased by 6 percent this year. In terms of long-haul travel, Asia marked a 3 percent rise.
In the meantime, Europeans appear to be returning to planned tour holidays, which were up by 5 percent this year with sun & beach deals at 8 percent driving growth in the first eight months of 2018.
Looking ahead, IPK analysts forecast a good year for European outbound travel, expecting in 2019 a 5 percent rise driven by Russia (expected to grow by 7 percent), Denmark, France, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium. Europe’s largest outbound travel market, Germany, is expected to expand by 4 percent in the coming year.
The final results of the World Travel Monitor for 2018, as well as the latest forecasts for 2019, will be presented at ITB Berlin, to take place on March 6-10.