This year marked the first time for me to actually visit the ITB (International Travel Trade Show) in Berlin on an official cause. I was attending the press conference of Norwegian Cruise Line (which I will be posting about separately) and also took some time to check out the other major travel trends for the upcoming year.
While there is no end in sight for the cruise industry´s climb up the popularity scale, the airlines have also taken the battle over world domination to new heights.
It is a struggle between East and West. The long-established network carriers, such as Lufthansa, face year to year stronger and stronger headwind from the Near East. Rivals like Emirates, Etihad Airways, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways churn up the market big time by offering unparalleled luxury aboard their fleet of brand new aircraft. They fly to almost everywhere in the world at mouth-watering prices, while trying at the same time to upgrade the necessary transfer at hubs like Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Doha or Dubai to unforgettable shopping and leisure experiences.
These airlines have grown particularly strong to key destinations like Africa, Asia and Down Under and therefore are very attractive to European customers. While transferring to the US and South America via the Near East does not make a lot of sense, the upcoming years will, in my opinion, show, if Europe´s airlines can defend their eastern markets, or if they have to surrender completely.
But the fight ain´t over yet. Especially Lufthansa is trying to regain lost territory by re-organizing its brand with the addition of a new, low-cost operating platform called Eurowings. Yesterday, the airline revealed a long-distance concept with highly competitive prices from the airport of Cologne/Bonn to popular destinations, such as Bangkok and Phuket (Thailand), Dubai (UAE), Varadero (Cuba) or Punta Cana (Dominican Republic).
In the end, it is up to the customer though to decide, which product is top and which is flop.
Other than that, 2015 could be another fantastic year for the travel industry. Especially countries with a rich natural and historical background seem to be on the front line this year. Greece, for instance, Egypt, Tunisia, Latin America and the Caribbean were visited in high scales.
No matter which type of traveler you are and what lifestyle you prefer, there is plenty of ideas to get inspired by for your dream journey this year. So if you are in or close to Berlin, Germany between March 7 and 8, 2015, make sure to visit the ITB. A way more exciting way to “read” a catalogue…