Green shoots of recovery: ITB

Despite the crises of 2020, a global decline in arrivals and consequent business losses, the global travel and tourism market is set to recover by 2023 and achieve record turnover figures, according to data and market research institute Statista and ITB Berlin Now, taking place entirely virtually this year from March 9 to 12.

The forecasts of the Mobility Market Outlook (MMO) released by the Statista say that the global travel and tourism revenue for 2021 is forecasted to increase by over 50 per cent compared to 2020. New revenue records can be expected from 2023 onwards; for 2025 the MMO experts even predict a revenue growth of almost 23 per cent versus the success year 2019.

Projections by Statista based on WTTC, WorldData and OECD figures show that domestic tourism markets in Germany and other popular countries have not been impacted as severely by the coronavirus pandemic as international tourism. In 2019 domestic tourism accounted for close to 85 per cent of Germany’s domestic tourism revenues, whereas for 2020 the share is projected to be 91 per cent. Accordingly, turnover in Germany’s international tourism market is forecast to shrink by over 60 per cent. At the same time, domestic tourism is expected to recover as early as 2022, with turnover reaching 2019 levels.

Both industry experts and large travel companies expect the market to recover rapidly. Experts at Statista forecast that technological innovations in particular will have a positive impact on the industry, e.g., AI-based, personalised services and innovative forms of presenting tourism services with VR. Thus, the current low volume of travel together with technological innovations could spur a rapid recovery of the industry.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the use of smart technologies in the tourism industry has risen sharply. Chatbots, for instance, have helped to deal with the high volume of cancellations and rebookings. AI, smart interfaces and dynamic pricing have also become very important. Many tourism organisations are focusing on selling their attractions to the domestic travel market. What is more, modern technology has set a new standard for contact-free booking of tours and activities at holiday destinations. Tours and activities are now the third-largest market in the international travel industry.

ITB Berlin NOW will take place from March 9 to 12 for trade visitors only and as an entirely virtual event. As part of ITB Berlin NOW, the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, the largest travel industry event of its kind, will also take place as a virtual event. Approximately 2,000 exhibitors from 120 countries have currently registered for this year’s show.

“Without doubt, the coronavirus crisis has deeply shaken the travel industry. All the same, there is a fighting spirit in the air,” said David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin. “The booking situation in the various tourism markets shows how badly the crisis has hit. The cruise industry and tourist boards are slowly regaining hope, whereas the situation for airlines remains critical. It is all the more important therefore to emphasise the industry’s importance and for us to stick together. Particularly in these times, ITB Berlin NOW is the world’s most important platform for doing business and exchanging ideas and expert knowledge in tourism.”

Exhibitors have until March 8 to register for the event but it is advisable to register as soon as possible to make appointments and bookings.