Bournemouth University

School of Tourism

Tourists are back in Europe

Date: 17 November 2010

Speakers at the BU Tourism Futures Forum at the World Travel Market 2010

Tourism academics from BU's School of Tourism have predicted that Europe will once again become the destination of choice for tourists.

Talking at last week's World Travel Market, Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, Professor Alan Fyall and Professor Adam Blake and some of the world's leading figures in tourism agreed that an uncertain economy, increases in flight taxation and the need to meet tough carbon emission targets will result in future UK travellers taking shorter plane journeys with long haul flights becoming less attractive.

At the BU Tourism Futures Forum, which was chaired by Professor Buhalis, Professor Adam Blake commented that the airline industry is likely to be impacted in the future by an increased shift towards further green taxation and possible changes to existing taxation, which will see additional costs passed on to the consumer.

The growth of 'staycations' – those staying in the UK during the holiday season – will increase with growth in overnight one-off stays, described by Philip Evans, National Strategy Manager at, as an area 'where the real value is in the British tourism industry'. Philip commented that there was a need to extend the tourism season in the UK and further development was needed to improve transport connections and reduce bank holiday road works.

Flo Powell, Director of the Association of Cruise Experts (ACE), told the audience of 150 that the UK was experiencing a real growth in cruises, in particularly those to northern Europe, as they offer value for money. Cruise operators are seeing consumers choosing cruises as they 'turn their backs on air travel'.

Noel Josephides from Sunvil also commented that it will become increasingly expensive to travel long haul in the future. "Countries such as Brazil and India will no longer be cheap to get to. Europe will become a selling point."

The use of technology and in particular social networking for promoting tourism was also extensively discussed with many participants exploring how they can develop cost effective solutions for promotion on the Internet.

The panel also discussed concerns about how large travel organisations are squeezing small and medium-sized enterprises out of the market as they strive to reduce overheads.

It was also mentioned that 'no frills' flights were damaging the tourism industry as airline travellers increasingly use privately owned apartments rather than hotels, reducing the amount of money being pumped in to the local economy. The group also commented that there was likely to be changes to all-inclusive deals as tourists tighten their money belts, spending less in the hotel and the resort.