Travel agents and tourism offices trump social media as trusted sources of information, according to a global survey by German travel data firm IPK International.
IPK’s annual Travel Monitor suggests friends and relatives remain by far the most-trusted source of information, followed by travel agencies, tourism offices, official information online and guidebooks.
The survey – part of a rolling study of 500,000 respondents – found social media, newspapers, magazines and TV were deemed “less trustworthy”.
Rolf Freitag, IPK president, said: “Everyone in marketing makes social media the main marketing instrument, but it’s weak.
“The most trustworthy online information sources online are official sites and TripAdvisor. Social networks, Wiki pages, online magazines, YouTube, podcasts and Instagram are seen as less trustworthy.”
IPK also found travel agents retaining market share despite the move online, with three out of five of agency bookings (61%) made online.
Freitag said: “Online bookings are not in contradiction to travel agencies. They retain an important place in the online booking world because they are seen as a trustworthy source.”
IPK forecast worldwide growth of 4% in outbound travel this year, following 4% growth in international trips last year to 1.082 billion – short of the UNWTO figure for 2016 of 1.233 billion international arrivals.
IPK’s Travel Monitor is based on 500,000 consumer interviews in 63 countries worldwide.