Global travel industry will not witness full recovery until 2012

Guest Writer

The global travel and tourism industry will experience a “multi-speed” recovery taking up to a further four years to fully recover to pre-global downturn levels, a report launched at last week’s WTM Vision Conference has revealed
Euromonitor International’s Forecast Update - Recovery In Sight? said the recovery would be kick-started by the developing economies but unemployment and debt in developed countries would hold back their growth.
Global international arrivals would not recover to pre-crisis 2008 levels until 2012, while incoming tourism receipts would not recover until 2013, said the report.
Furthermore, the hotels sector will not fully recover to 2008 levels until 2014.
The recovery was currently being led by Asia with China and India projecting economic growth of 8-10% in both 2010 and 2011. This compares to projections for the strongest western economy, Canada, of 3-4% for the same period.
The Middle East and Africa were the only inbound regions to show arrivals growth during 2009, while Asia-Pacific is expected to show strong growth in 2010.
Europe’s high unemployment and mounting debt problems were holding back the continent’s travel industry growth, the report continued – Spain’s unemployment rate is predicted to hit 20.7% in 2011, with Germany’s reaching 9.2%, Italy’s 8.9%, Russia’s 9.5%, and the UK’s unemployment rate hitting 7.9% in 2011.
“As the global travel industry begins its slow road to recovery, dark clouds continue to hang over Europe as the region is expected to be one of the last to recover along with North America”, said Head of Travel and Tourism Research for Euromonitor, Caroline Bremner.
The hotel sector has suffered the most with heavy discounting during the global downturn meaning the sector will not recover to pre-2008 crisis levels until 2014, she said.
Hotel sales fell 7% in 2009 with the reduction in corporate travel and luxury hotel bookings. Hotels that discounted rates are struggling to increase prices as value for money remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds.
This is predicted to lead to a further 0.1% decline in 2010
The hotel sector in Australasia, Latin America and Europe will take the longest to recover, said Bremner.
She stressed that Asia is the driving force behind hotel industry recovery due to the continued expansion of international and local chains.

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