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Press Release

September 30, 2016

Cruise tourists book more often with travel agencies and spend more money

IPK International and ITB Berlin examine cruise tourism trends – Europe accounts for around one-third of the market – above-average bookings with travel agencies

In recent years cruises have become a boom segment of the travel industry. In 2015, around 22 million cruises were undertaken worldwide, so that compared to the previous year the cruise market grew by around three per cent. These are findings of a special survey by the World Travel Monitor®, carried out by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin.

Europe is the second most important source market

Behind North America, the undisputed leader with a market share of 59 per cent in 2015, Europe, with a market share of 32 per cent, has become the world’s second most important source market in the cruise sector.

Cruises to European destinations account for 78 per cent of the European market, with Spain being the most popular destination (18 per cent). The Caribbean occupies second place (16 per cent) and is the only destination outside Europe among the top 5 destinations of European cruise tourists. Italy is the third most popular cruise destination among Europeans.

Diversity and relaxation

Few other type of holidays offer similar opportunities for relaxation as well as for making new experiences, either on board or on local excursions. When on cruises, Europeans especially enjoy relaxing, sightseeing as well as exploring foreign countries and cultures. Ultimately, it is also important to them to enjoy ’the sea, water and nature’.

Cruise tourists spend more money

There are many opportunities for tourists to spend extra money while being on a cruise – be it on an excursion, while shopping or enjoying an on-board spa. Even if cruises are said to no longer be as exclusive or expensive as they used to be, spending in this holiday segment is significantly higher than in others. While Europeans on average spent 107 euros per night on all holiday trips in 2015, cruise tourists more than doubled that figure with an average of 218 euros.

Large number of travel agency bookings

At 60 per cent, the internet is also the preferred booking channel of Europeans when it comes to cruises. However, travel agencies continue to account for an above-average number of cruise bookings. On average, 25 per cent of European holidaymakers book via travel agencies, whereas among European cruise tourists this figure is 42 per cent and hence much higher than in any other holiday segment.

High growth of younger travellers

While travellers over 45 years still represent the core cruise market, in recent years the number of younger people going on cruises has risen continuously. Thus, in 2015 around 35 per cent of European cruise tourists were aged under 45.

In addition to the results of the special analyses by the World Travel Monitor® by IPK International, ITB Berlin will be publishing more data from the World Travel Monitor® as part of the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/17 in early December. Last year’s ITB World Travel Trends Report is available here: http://www.itb-berlin.de/media/itb/itb_dl_all/itb_presse_all/WTTR_ITB2016_8_Web.pdf. The ITB World Travel Trends Report is based on the latest findings presented at the World Travel Monitor® Forum, which will take place in early November 2016 in Pisa, Italy. The World Travel Monitor® Forum is an exclusive industry gathering that discusses the latest travel industry trends and the forecasts for future developments in tourism. The overall findings for 2016 of the World Travel Monitor®, the world’s most comprehensive survey of global travel trends, will be presented by IPK International at the ITB Future Day, part of the ITB Berlin Convention.

About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention

ITB Berlin 2017 will take place from Wednesday to Sunday, 8 to 12 March. From Wednesday to Friday ITB Berlin is open to trade visitors only. Parallel with the show the ITB Berlin Convention, the largest event of its kind, will be held from Wednesday, 8 to Saturday, 11 March 2017. More details are available at www.itb-convention.com. ITB Berlin is the global travel industry’s leading trade show. In 2016 a total of 10,000 companies and organisations from 187 countries exhibited their products and services to 180,000 visitors, who included 120,000 trade visitors.

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