World travel numbers increased by 5% in the first eight months of this year and should hit a record high for the year, defying the gloomy economic outlook.
The more positive than expected outlook comes in a report for the European Travel Commission.
The figures, from German research firm IPK International, form the basis for the ITB World Travel Trends Report published at the end of last week. The report was presented to the European Travel Commission in November at an annual forum in Pisa.
IPK reports international travel rose 5% year-on-year up to August. However, it notes: “There has been a noticeable slowdown in travel in the last few months of 2011″.
Average spending per night worldwide rose 4% year on year and spending per trip by 2%.
The report suggests there was a 2% increase in outbound trips from the UK in the first eight months of the year, in contrast to the 4% decline in travel from the UK that IPK recorded in 2010 and a 12% drop year on year in 2009.
IPK reported a mere 1% rise in outbound travel from Germany this year.
The biggest growth was in the Asia- Pacific region where there was a 6% rise in the first eight months of 2011, despite a 30% decline in travel to Japan.
IPK suggests more than eight million travellers “switched destinations” this year primarily because of events in North Africa and the tsunami in Japan, but also because of unrest in Greece.
The research firm’s chief executive Rolf Freitag predicted an increase of 3%-4% in international trips in 2012. Freitag said: “The outlook can be described as cautiously optimistic but with high levels of uncertainty.”
The IPK European Travel Monitor is based on research among 100,000 interviewees across 13 European markets.
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