A view to the world tourism in the crisis year and forecast of the 2010 incentive travel
In 2009, the international travel fell on average by 5% according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Europe, Middle East and America suffered the most severe consequences. Africa was the only to record a growth of the international travel in 2009.
In Europe, the international travel fell by 8%, just like in the Middle East. Asia and the Pacific recorded slightly smaller negative trend of 5%, America fell by 7%, whereas Africa was the only to record the growth of the international travel of 4%.
Despite the global fall, there are destinations having encouraging results for the first 8 months of 2009. These destinations include Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Cuba, Jamaica, Chile, Columbia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Sweden, Hungary, and even Serbia and Macedonia, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, etc.
In 2010, the World Tourism Organisation forecasts the recovery of the tourism in the world. However, this recovery will not be easy or fast. In July this year, the international travel decreased by 4%, making an improvement compared to the negative trend of 10% in May and 7% in June. July data indicate a relative improvement in the countries which already reported their August data as well, i.e. these two months were not negative, unlike the first six months of 2009.
“As the latest economic data and prospects indicate that the world economy may be starting to emerge from its most severe recession of the post second world war period, in tourism too there are signs that confidence is returning and that demand is improving for both business and leisure travel” said UNWTO Secretary-General a.i. Taleb Rifai.
Asia is expected to recover the first, considering the fact that the world crisis affected the Asian tourism to a somewhat smaller degree, whereas Europe and America will need more time. African tourism is expected to grow, just as it grew in 2009, especially in South Africa, considering the hosting of the FIFA World Cup.
Brief forecast of the 2010 incentive travel
The effects of the economic crisis and its impact to the incentive travel are the questions to which all of us in the meetings industry would like to know the answers.
According to experts, i.e. agencies in the key European markets, the incentive travel will, without doubt, still be planned, but the budget will be smaller and limited this year, as it was in 2009. Incentive groups will generally have smaller numbers of participants, but the standards will remain at the same level. In order to achieve that, considering the limited budget and the expected level of services, creativity will be the crucial factor. The time when the destination was mostly relied on to give the incentive experience has passed. Today, agencies are expected to create WOW experiences on rather common places, since mostly shorter flights will be organised. Consequently, the European market is expected to prosper. For the SEE region, this is the opportunity that should be used, considering its location and the fact that the incentive travel will be organised mostly at, so to say, more ordinary places, so that it does not have to compete any more with exotic, tropical destinations such as Hawaii, Bali, etc. where it did not have competitive advantages anyway.