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March 12, 2010

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China set to propel travel boom

ALTHOUGH the financial crisis of 2009 greatly affected all sectors of the travel industry, the World Travel Trends report released in Berlin predicted a slight recovery for some regions, including signs of a strong boom from China.

Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, a global travel research body that tracks the trends in outbound travel demand, said on Wednesday that "China is very dynamic and is finding its place in the world. This year's economic recovery will come from the East to the West."

In 2010, IPK's travel research envisions that Chinese outbound travel will bolster a 4 percent rise compared to Europe's stagnation and a 5 percent drop in the United States.

According to statistics presented at the 44th annual ITB Tourism Trade Show in Berlin, the tourism sector in Europe and North America has been hardest hit in the crisis, with a 19 percent tumble in 2009.

"The figures appear realistic to me. I was, however, shocked by the US statistics, which means it is still a depressed market," said Peter Greischel, who teaches tourism management at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich.

The data do not bode well for global hotel owners, who have seen a lower revenue because of price drops in 2009.


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