According to the European Travel Commission’s latest tourism report in 2013 Europe hosted 563 million international visitors, some 29 million more than in 2012. This vigorous growth of 5.4% was well above the forecasts and 2014 is looking to be robust with expectations of a 3% – 4% increase in international tourism.
In view of that, European travel landscapes – specifically the Northern, Eastern, Central, and Southern regions – are showing great potential and travel players have a real opportunity to shape the future of travel here. Russia and Turkey are two of the fastest growing markets in our region, in terms of potential and capacity to purchase travel today and number of trips per person. The hotel market also shows significant untapped potential and exciting possibilities are emerging in leisure travel.
But developments in the mobile space could have the most influence in our region. Mobile is already a must in today’s world and our region was amongst the first ones to implement our new mobile suite platform, Amadeus Checkmytrip Premium, to selected customers. 70% of mobile searches are followed up by a consumer action within one hour and 64% of the people who viewed a mobile ad have made at least one purchase as a result. Smartphones are increasingly becoming the point of sale and decision, and this channel shift to mobile will have a huge impact on travel in our region. We are currently working hard with our colleagues in the region and in Amadeus to leverage these opportunities in mobile and 2014 is shaping up to be a significant year.
Modern travel in its current state is fragmented. However, as technology improves, travellers will expect a seamless, personalised and connected travel experience. We are leading this change in the region by supporting our customers as they become more sophisticated. Part of this change is enabling them to harness new opportunities and simplify travel for their travellers. And at the heart of this change is the importance of customer intimacy or more precisely a profound knowledge of our customer’s businesses to support them in achieving their goals.
We have a clear vision to shape the future of travel and we are constantly moving closer to the integration of all content from all providers into one single seamless travel experience. I look forward to working with our customers and partners in the region to see this vision become a reality.