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 http://www.itb-convention.com. 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

Destination Strategy Manager and Marketer. Awarded in 2003 with the Piazza Mercanti from Confcommercio President Dr. Sangalli, in 2005 he became a member of the Advisory Board SMAU05. In 2010 he won the contest "Multichannel Communication Strategies", organized by the Politecnico di Milano, with the Dutch Tourism Board. Teacher since 1999, he has a Master in Management of eBusiness at Politecnico di Milano. Publications: "The mobile tourism. From opportunity to undisputed reality", co-author Francesca Ghersinich. Publisher: Risposte Turismo. Destination Manager e Strategy Marketer. Premiato nel 2003 con il Piazza Mercanti dal Presidente Confcommercio Dottor Sangalli nel 2005 è membro dell'Advisory Board SMAU05. Nel 2010 è vincitore del contest “Strategie di Comunicazione Multicanale”, indetto dal Politecnico di Milano, con il cliente Ente del Turismo Olandese. Docente dal 1999 vanta un Master in Management dell’eBusiness del Politecnico di Milano. Pubblicazioni “Il turismo mobile. Da opportunità a realtà indiscussa" co-autrice Francesca Ghersinich. Editore: Risposte Turismo.

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