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Travel News

ITB World Travel Trends Report: despite higher fuel prices, car trips leave air travel behind

Written by editor

BERLIN – For the moment, one of the most conspicuous travel trends of recent years seems to have been checked. For the first time, holidaymakers are increasingly favoring car and train travel.

BERLIN – For the moment, one of the most conspicuous travel trends of recent years seems to have been checked. For the first time, holidaymakers are increasingly favoring car and train travel. This is one of the findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Report, conducted by the consultants IPK International and commissioned by the ITB Berlin. According to this trend analysis, now published, from January to August 2008 in Europe, holiday trips by car and train increased by five percent compared with the same period in 2007. At 50 percent, air travel still retains a larger share than car travel, which stands at around 30 percent. Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin, and responsible for the global travel industry’s leading trade show, stated, “This year, the long-standing preference of holidaymakers for air travel has come to an end for the first time. This is a remarkable development, particularly in view of the record fuel prices this summer.”

According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, this slump in air travel growth can be mainly attributed to the price increases charged by airlines due to the higher cost of kerosine. “However, the inconvenience experienced by passengers as a result of increased security measures and flight delays has contributed to airline travel becoming less attractive of late,” said Martin Buck.

According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, 2008 was the first year that the market share occupied by low-cost airlines contracted. In relation to 2007, holiday flights with low-cost airlines fell by one percent. By contrast, flights with so-called traditional carriers rose by three percent. Currently, low-cost airline flights retain a 36 percent share of the markets in which the survey took place, with traditional carriers making up 64 percent. Martin Buck said, “However, it is becoming increasingly clear that there are barely discernible differences between low-cost airlines and carriers operating a traditional airline business.”

The rising popularity of travel by train in the first eight months of 2008 can also be ascribed to higher flight prices, delays, and the inconvenience experienced by passengers at airports. Furthermore, with Europe boasting modern high-speed trains and rail services now becoming attractive again, air travel has forfeited part of its market share. The ITB Berlin Covention 2009 will also be examining how attractive different types of transport are. Leading representatives of various forms of transport will be discussing the impact of oil prices on leisure-time mobility at the ITB Future Day on Wednesday, March 11. Afterwards, at the “ITB Berlin Message,” Rolf Freitag of IPK International will present the latest data-forecasting, global travel trends.

The ITB World Trends Report summarizes the most important findings of the annual Pisa Forum. This report is based on the assessments of more than 60 tourism experts from 30 countries, on an IPK trend analysis in leading source markets undertaken specifically for the forum, and on core data supplied by the World Travel Monitor®, recognized as the largest ongoing survey on global travel trends in over 50 source countries. This report is available for download at under Media Centre / Publications.

The ITB Berlin Convention
The ITB Berlin 2009 will be taking place from Wednesday, March 11 to Sunday, March 15 and will be open to trade visitors from Wednesday to Friday. Parallel with the trade fair, the ITB Berlin Convention will be taking place from Wednesday, March 11 to Saturday, March 14, 2009. The ITB Berlin Convention is the world’s largest travel industry convention. Last year some 100 events attracted more than 11,000 participants. For full program details click on .

Fachhochschule Worms and the US-based market research company PhoCusWright, Inc. are partners of the ITB Berlin Convention. Turkey is co-hosting this year’s ITB Berlin Convention. Other sponsors of the ITB Berlin Convention include Top Alliance, responsible for VIP service;, the media partner of the ITB Hospitality Days; Flug Revue, the media partner of the ITB Aviation Days; and the Planeterra Foundation, the sponsor of the ITB Corporate Social Responsibility Days. Partners cooperating with the ITB Business Travel Days are Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V. (VDR), HSMA Deutschland e.V., A&O Hotels and Hostels, Deutsche Bahn, geschaeftsreisekontakt,, IHK Organization, and Intergerma.