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The travel and tourism industry sees the emerging global economies as the biggest opportunity over the next five years, reveals exclusive research from leading travel and tourism exhibition World Travel Market.
The inaugural World Travel Market Industry Report, released at World Travel Market last week, reveals close to one in three (28.6%) senior executives in the industry highlight the emerging markets – for both inbound and outbound travel – as the greatest single opportunity for their businesses until 2016.
This was the highest response to the question followed by technical advances and social media with 24.8% and 20.4% respectively.
This was supported by almost half (46.7%) of the 1,200 travel and tourism executives polled citing emerging markets as one of the leading opportunities over the next five years – again the highest response to the question.
Furthermore, emerging markets are already having an impact on the travel and tourism industry. Looking back over the past twelve months, 55.9% of the sample said that emerging markets had been a positive influence on their business.
The findings confirm a sea-change in the way the travel and tourism industry operates on a global scale. As the traditional markets of North American and Europe mature, the real growth opportunities can be found in the BRIC economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – as well as the GCC nations such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Russia is already an important source market for Europe’s biggest tour operators TUI and Thomas Cook. Brazil’s largest travel business, CVC, was bought by US venture capitalist Carlyle Group this January. India is emerging as an important inbound and outbound destination, with the space devoted to India at WTM2010 28% greater than last year, thanks to a greater involvement form the private sector.
China continues to exploit its post-Olympics tourism legacy with new inbound organisations such as the China Luxury Travel Network making their debut at WTM.
World Travel Market Chairman Fiona Jeffery said: “New and emerging markets represent the future for the travel and tourism industry. Outbound travel is on the increase, and more and more countries are seeing the potential of tourism. World Travel Market is proud to be leading the way in bringing the world’s travel industry together.
“The World Travel Market 2010 Industry Report shows how the industry is switching its focus from the developed markets of UK, Europe and the US to the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The emerging middle classes in the BRIC economies with a desire to travel alongside the wealth of the GCC countries make these economies the future of the travel and tourism industry.”