From ITB Press: Sporting holidays are gaining ground in Europe

Higher growth than cruises – German tourists keenest on sports – Austria the most popular destination for sporting holidaymakers

Sporting holidays are destined to become a winning trend. According to the latest survey of the World Travel Monitor®, commissioned by ITB Berlin, over the last five years there has been a double-digit increase in sporting holidays among European tourists, which has even overtaken cruises, which five years ago ranked ahead of sporting holidays. Germans in particular are keenest on sports, and account for 42 per cent of the nine million sporting holidays taken by Europeans abroad. At 14 per cent the Dutch rank second. In other European markets sporting holidays make up only six per cent or less.

Among sporting holidaymakers the most popular destination is Austria, which among Europeans attracts 24 per cent of the market, followed by Italy and Germany, which each account for 11 per cent. During the last five years Germans also preferred Austria for testing their sporting limits. At 42 per cent Austria ranks ahead of Italy (18 per cent) and Switzerland (14 per cent).

The most popular activities among European sporting holidaymakers are hiking (38 per cent) and cycling tours (23 per cent). They are followed in third by motor sports (car, motorcycle and motorboat racing) at 14 per cent. At ten per cent golf ranks fourth in the sporting popularity stakes. Among German sporting holidaymakers hiking (34 per cent) and cycling (25 per cent) are the leaders among the top ten most popular sporting activities. Nine per cent of German sporting holidaymakers prefer golf.

Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel and Logistics at Messe Berlin: ”Sporting holidays are a niche segment with a serious potential for tourism in the future. A growing awareness of one’s body and mind means that people are increasingly keen to improve their health when on vacation.“

What is striking is that sporting holidaymakers belong to the wealthier parts of society and as such are a much targeted segment of the market. European sporting holidaymakers average 43 years of age, and most of them live in households without children. More men than women are attracted to sports when they are on holiday. At 45 years of age, German sporting holidaymakers may be a little older than the European average, but in all other respects they are no different than other European citizens.

ITB Berlin 2012 will be taking place from Wednesday, 7 to Sunday, 11 March, and from Wednesday to Friday will be open to trade visitors only. Parallel with the trade show, the ITB Berlin Convention, the largest travel industry event of its kind in the world, will be held from Wednesday, 7 to Friday, 9 March 2012. More details are available at ITB Berlin is the world’s leading travel trade show. In 2011 a total of 11,163 companies from 188 countries displayed their products and services to 170,000 visitors, who included 110,791 trade visitors.

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About Alex Kornfeind

Over 15 years of online strategy, web communication specialist and expert in eBusiness management. Speaker at numerous conferences in Italy and abroad has pioneered the evolutionary IT industry working closely with suppliers in the implementation processes of new IT business models in Italy. Editor and freelance journalist since 1985, IT consultant for companies and organizations. 1998 Former Pacific Asia Travel Association Italy Chapter President and Europe Steering Committee's Member. 1999,2000/01, invited as Visionary Leader at the EyeForTravel Conferences (US&EU) as panelist speaker. 2003, Awarded with the "Piazza Mercanti" by the President of Confcommercio Mr. Carlo Sangalli. 2005, SMAU Advisory Board's member. 2010, Winner of the "Multichannel Communication Strategies" contest organized by the Politecnico Milan with the client Dutch Tourist Office Italy. Lecturer at MIB School of Management of Trieste for the International Master in Tourism & Leisure. IFITT’s Italy Chapter member. Master eBusiness Management by the Politecnico Milan.

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