Travel industry leaders increasingly optimistic about growth prospects

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The FINANCIAL — Confidence within the UK travel sector remains strong, with industry leaders predicting an increase in overall travel numbers and growth for their own companies in 2015 and 2016.

The Barclays Travel Forum 2015 survey revealed that 66% of respondents expect an increase in travel this year, with just 2% predicting a decrease. When considering the 2015 outlook for their own companies, 76% described themselves as ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ confident, with 90% expecting their business to grow this year, up from 74% a year ago. Looking forward to 2016, the figures are even more positive, with 75% ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ confident and 95% predicting growth for their business.

The 10th annual travel survey of over 200 senior industry representatives from tour operators, travel agencies, online agents, cruise companies and other travel businesses also asked participants to consider which geographies and travel sectors they expected to experience growth. Europe was identified as the region that the most respondents expected to experience the greatest increase in tourism in 2015 (45%), long haul/tailor made was the sector that was considered to have the most growth potential this year (31%), and business travel was predicted to increase by over two thirds of those surveyed (73%).

The industry representatives were also asked about the technology used to book and pay for travel. Responses to these questions demonstrated the scale of change expected in this area in the near future with just over 4 times more participants expecting over 30% of holidays to be booked using mobile technology, such as mobile phones or tablets, in 3 years’ time than are booked in this way today (33% compared with 8%). When looking at payment methods, more than half of those surveyed expect that in 3 years’ time more than 10% of sales will be paid for using mobile payment services (53%).

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When asked to consider the biggest risks to the industry, currency volatility was expected to be the most significant cause of price increases this year (37%), with global political unrest identified as the external factor that respondents were most concerned about in 2015 (43%).

Commenting on the findings of the Barclays Travel Forum 2015 survey, Chris Lee, Head of Travel at Barclays, said: “These figures highlight the widespread optimism felt by travel industry experts and again show that the travel industry is in good shape and that prospects for the future remain strong. The expected increase in mobile bookings and payments using systems such as Pingit over the next 3 years demonstrates the changing environment that industry leaders are operating in and emphasises the need for companies to embrace technology to ensure they stay ahead of the competition.”


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