Christina Newberry is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer based in Vancouver.
ITB Berlin wrapped up Sunday after five days of trade and consumer interactions with more than 10,000 exhibitors from 186 countries and regions spread across the 26 halls of the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.
The show was booked to capacity, with a five per cent increase in business volume over 2017. Approximately 110,000 trade visitors and 60,000 consumers visited the trade show.
The ITB Berlin Convention, held in conjunction with the trade show, featured 150 sessions and more than 300 speakers. One of the most anticipated sessions every year is the Global Travel Trends forecast based on the World Travel Monitor survey by IPK International.
Based on 500,000 individuals surveyed across 60 countries and now in its 30th year, the World Travel Monitor is the largest continuous tourism survey of its kind.
Presenting the results of the World Travel Monitor, IPK CEO Rolf Freitag noted that outbound overnight volume in 2017 grew eight per cent, to nine billion nights.
“Look behind the figures,” Freitag said. “That eight per cent increase means 700 million more overnight stays, and an investment of four million more beds.”
Outbound spending also increased, by nine per cent to 1.397 billion euros (about CAD $2.2 billion), with the mean spend per trip increasing to 1,213 euros (about CAD $1,900).
Focusing on the North American travel market, Freitag noted that outbound city trips and countryside holidays both increased by 15 per cent, touring holidays increased by 11 per cent, and sun and beach holidays increased by six per cent.
“Cities have very much improved the quality of their experience,” Freitag said to explain the jump in city trips.
On the issue of overtourism, a key theme at this year’s ITB, World Travel Monitor found that only about nine per cent of travellers said overcrowding negatively affected their travel experience. However, “from the local resident perspective, overtourism is a problem,” Freitag said, noting cities need to focus on better destination management.
In terms of safety concerns, Canada was rated the second-safest country to travel to, behind only Switzerland.
Canada was the sixth-largest source market for outbound trips in 2017, IPK’s research showed, after China, the United States, Germany, Great Britain, and France. Canada ranked 10th for international inbound tourism. IPK expects four per cent growth in outbound trips from North America in 2018.