Don’t bank on UK tourism market growth: Euromonitor

Guest Writer

Middle East markets looking for growing source markets should look outside of the UK where according to Euromonitor International, the outbound tourism market will not start growing again until 2012.
Figures released by the research firm in its Forecast Update - Recovery In Sight? report
reveal that during the economic crisis of 2009, outbound tourism flows from the UK fell by 11.8% compared with the previous 12 months.
Euromonitor International predicts a further fall of 6.2% in the current trading year 2010, with another drop of 1.6% expected in 2011.
Positive growth figures return in 2012, although in volume terms the UK outbound industry will remain far below pre-crisis levels amounting to a loss of 13 million outbound travellers over the course of four years.
An improvement of 2% is predicted in 2012 followed by 2.5% the following year. However, growth then slows in 2014 to 1.5% to reach 57 million departures.
The macro-economic trends which drove the double-digit decline in 2009 are still relevant for 2010, Euromonitor International said, with unemployment the major concern for Britons. It added that package holidays, which fell by 7% during 2009, would remain popular because of the value-for-money and protection they provide customers.
While many destinations remain expensive because of sterling’s weakness, domestic tourism within the UK also dropped in 2008/9 although at a slower rate than previously.
Euromonitor International suggests the unpredictable weather is a negative for the domestic sector, although any recurrence of the Icelandic ash cloud in the run-up to the peak season may persuade more people to holiday at home.
“The current crisis with the euro, however, may tempt some cash-strapped holidaymakers to take advantage of the stronger pound once the World Cup is over” said Euromonitor’s Head of Travel and Tourism Research, Caroline Bremner.

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