So these were some hectic days. The ITB conferences or congress events were quite informative. Some of them were also quite unnecessary. However, the outcome makes me ponder whether it is the right time to step a foot into the tourism direction. Every little industry seems affected by the recession (except for the weapon industry and this is an outcome of the IWA – unfortunately no further details from me).
There were a lot of questions raised at the ITB and only a few answers given. It seems like nobody really knows anything about the future markets. At least the discussions focusing on that issue have been as vivid as serious. Hotels and accomodation facilities suffer the most from the real estate crisis. “No other facility except for a casino encourages gambling so much as a hotel.” (Jörg Frehse @ ITB 2009) Once you increase your visitors demand, you increase the value of your property as well. In the last 5 years billions and billions have been spent in the construction and renovation of (mostly high end) hotels. Appartenly this is going to result in a serious decline of demand and quality in the traditional cities (London, Paris, Berlin) while new destinations with brand new ressorts will offer quality for much less, e.g. in Russia.
The whole aviator branch is faced with the climate and ressource crisis. Fin Air just spent 2 billion Euro in a brand new fleet in order to achieve a more environmentally friendly travel profile, aiming to become the “green airline” of Europe. A very interesting talk by Kati Ihamäki.
And all other branches are just stuck with the question of maintaining or dropping prices, spending money on marketing and advertisement or just keeping it still in the pocket. I guess for Germany it’s now more than ever a time of regional management, regional marketing and social networking. Due to recent regional management approaches a multitude of German nature-based destinations have managed to establish themselves succesfully in the market, way more than in the 70s or 80s. With the policy approach towards developing backwards rural regions with the help of tourism, new destinations have sprung up like mushrooms in the eastern federal states, raising the competition among the destinations once more. According to Poon and the Tourism Industry Intelligence more people will stay in closeby destinations to their dwellings and choose a national vacation before an international one. This of course means: fight for your customers – as quick as you can. As soon as one destination has won people over with a reasonable cost performance ratio, the word of mouths is spread quicker than any ad in the newspaper or radio.
Run, destinations, run.
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