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The growth of “new” world travelers to India, China and Russia,
an emphasis on sports and wellness travel and technology
innovations for travelers were the leading trends emerging from the
40th ITB Berlin International Tourism Exchange. The world’s largest
international travel fair and tourism conference, held March 8-12,
attracted 10,856 exhibitors from 183 countries.
Klaus Laepple, president of the National Association of the German
Tourism Industry and president of the German Travel Association,
said, “In 2005, growth by the tourism industry was more vigorous
than that of the German economy. German tour operators had an
increase in sales of 5 percent.”
The World Travel & Tourism Council reported that travel and
tourism rose 5.7 percent worldwide in 2005, while spending topped
$6 trillion. WTTC is predicting a rise in spending to $6.5
trillion. The Council’s list of the 10 fastest growing travel and
tourism economies puts Montenegro in the lead, followed by India
Research consultants IPK International are also optimistic, with
international arrivals rising 6 percent over 2004. Several Asian
countries, including China, Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam
recorded double-digit increases in European visitors.
Europe, however, continues to lose its share of the U.S. market.
The U.K., Italy and France all recorded a drop in visitors. Last
year, Germany bucked the trend with more than 48 million overnight
visitors, a climb of 6.4 percent from 2004 and higher than the
global trend of 5.5 percent. U.S. visitors totaled 4.4 million
overnight stays, the second best record year after 2000.
Germany hopes to attract U.S. visitors when it hosts the World Cup
of Soccer beginning June 9.
“We are exploiting the huge public interest to enhance the image of
Germany around the world as a travel destination,” said Peter
Hedorfer, German National Tourist Board chief executive.
Germany and several other countries hosting world-class sporting
events are using these events to boost tourism. Sports tourism is
now a multi-billion-dollar business worldwide.
The attraction of wellness tourism continues to grow across the
globe, with spas a design “must” for new hotels and resorts and
existing properties of all sizes. In addition to the well-known
European spa destinations of Germany, Austria, France and Hungary,
Ireland and Slovakia are marketing themselves as spa
The most popular destination for travelers worldwide is the
Internet. At least $6.3 billion of travel was booked in 2005.
According to market analyst PhoCusWright, by 2007 nearly 40 percent
of all travel in the U.S. will be booked via the Internet, with
bookings growing at least four times the rate of the total travel