It’s no secret that 2009 has been a rough year for the travel industry. With everyone tightening their belts, discretionary expenses like holidays are often the first thing to go. But industry leaders meeting in London for the World Travel Market say 2010 is looking better.
Cautious optimism about the economy is one cause for this brighter outlook, but travel companies know positive indicators such as increased productivity and exports don’t necessarily translate to more money being spent on travel. What will also help is the shift to more budget travel options. Tour operators have been choosing budget airlines and more modest hotels in order to offer lower prices, and some budget companies have actually seen an increase in business. This trend will continue into 2010, experts say, which is good news for people who want to get away from it all without spending it all. An increased emphasis on budget travel will keep people moving and hopefully encourage them to choose more luxurious options once we get into another prosperous period.
The travel industry is certainly looking for a silver lining around the tsunami that hit it this year. A report released at the World Travel Market estimates there will be an 8% drop in global travel bookings this year, as well as a 14% drop in airline passengers and a 16% drop in hotel bookings.
With figures like that, 2009 will be an easy act to follow.