European recession – it’s not all bad news for the travel industry

WHAT does economic turmoil in Europe mean for tourism? chief communications officer Jared Morgan attempts to answer that question.

With experts predicting the Euro, the region’s currency, will fall to record low levels in the coming months, Europe’s travel industry could see an increase in visitors from less recession affected parts of the world.

Those riding out recession pressure include Australia and New Zealand with both countries currencies trading at record levels against the Euro, which has been used by 17 European Union countries since 2001. The Euro zone countries include some of the most popular for antipodean travelers such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Spain is among the four nations worst hit along with Ireland, Portugal and Greece. All four rely heavily on tourists dollars and their respective governments are working to keep the foreign cash from visitors rolling in.

For the travel industry recommends hoteliers and tourism operators look at the numbers.

Up to 100,000 Australians travel to Europe annually – with the Aussie dollar at an almost 30 year high against the British Pound and tipping 82 Euro cents, industry experts are expecting that number to increase this year. New Zealanders travel to Europe at a more modest 30,000 but the strength of the Kiwi dollar has pundits predicting a 10 percent increase. In short, Australians and New Zealanders will be packing their bags with glee.

Even visitors from countries harder hit by recession, such as the biggest feeder of the European travel industry – the US – could be lured by more promising exchange rates. Naturally, this favors US travelers and this was seen during the Asian financial crisis in 1997 when Asia became a budget travel paradise.

So bear these facts in mind and look to competitors, we are already seeing operators from hotels in countries such as Portugal offering bargain rates – it makes sense to follow that lead. In fact, budget accommodation continues to perform and in some cases has recorded increases as people look to travel on increasingly tighter budgets.

Europe has always been one of the most favored global destinations and annually takes about 53 percent of the tourism pie. Crunching the numbers that means there are about 500 million visitors in Europe each year. Surely, with some smart business practice there is still enough tourism dollars to go around.

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