UK outbound traffic most severely hit in Europe, says ITB report

Outbound traffic from the UK was the most severely hit in Europe during the first eight months of this year, figures from ITB’s World Travel Trends Report have revealed.

Total international traffic from European markets dropped by 8% in the first eight months of 2009. The UK saw the biggest decline at 15%, followed by Russia which was 12% down and Sweden which fell by 10%. Europe’s biggest market, Germany, was 5% down.

The study also quantified the extent to which the booking window has changed.

During the first eight months of 2009, the number of Europeans who booked their break within one week of departure increased by 18% compared with the same period last year. The number who booked between a week and one month ahead was 5% down; between one month and three months was 12% down and more than three months ahead was 13% down.

“Consumer insecurity” drove this shift towards late bookings,  the report claimed, adding that confidence was still a major concern.

When asked, in October, about their plans for 2010, 68% of Europeans said they would travel “at least as often” next year. When asked the same question at the same time in 2008, 80% said they would do so in 2009.

Despite the negative figures, ITB said that the travel industry “has survived this period in better shape than was expected in the spring of 2009.”

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