Slowdown in online travel market
Research carried out by the World Travel & Tourism Council has shown that growth in personal travel spending by the 25 member states of the European Union is slowing down.
The report, produced in association with the Oxford Economic Forum and Accenture, found that on and offline spending in the travel and tourism market cooled to 3.8% in 2006 after peaking at 4.9% in 2005.
The slowdown in sales is set to continue over the next four years as the European online travel market reaches maturity. This year will see a 2.4% growth in year-on-year sales whilst the forecast for 2008/9 is 2.6%.
A number of economic, technological and consumer factors have been attributed to the slowdown, the affects of which are felt most by the online travel industry. As growth in the online market seeks to find a balance, competition for the multi-billion euro industry is set to become increasingly fierce.
Travel companies will be under growing pressure to offer products that meet consumers´ high expectations of service, choice and value for money. In addition, the emerging Eastern European economies in the EU will play a pivotal role in stimulating future potential growth.