Tourism is leading the drive out of the recession. Its importance to the world’s economy is suggested by the work produced by the World Travel & tourism Council who estimated that in 2012, tourism generated 6.6 trillion dollars worldwide. This represents 9% of total GDP and a similar share of jobs. Tourism grew faster than the other economic powerhouses such as the financial, manufacturing or retail sectors.
Most of the gains are due to the belief that the bad days are over and because a resurgent airline business is making access easier by laying on more flights. Six months ago, a spokesman for IATA talked about European airlines being on a knife-edge. Now Lufthansa, Easy Jet and IAG, the owners of British Airways and Iberia have announced large profit gains for the most recent accounting periods. Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director general said:
“The strong growth of recent months, coupled with the continuing improvements in air travel demand in September, suggests that there could be a further acceleration in air travel growth before the end of the year”.
Not all of the smaller undifferentiated airlines will benefit from this trend.
People make their independent holiday destination shortlist first and easier access helps the decision process. For countries with limited advertising budgets, it helps if the national airline also promotes their country. A surprisingly high proportion do not. Sell the destination and then your differentiated, easy access service. Why else would you fly with Air Argentina if not to visit that country?
It doesn’t have to be an airline though. Eurostar is giving people a reason to travel on its trains by promoting the hidden treasures of Paris in a charming typically gallic film commercial. See it here.
It makes you want to be impulsive and visit. And Eurostar is so convenient.
Sometimes the favoured destination is served by a number of airlines. Price may be the major factor in the decision, but if this advantage is marginal, then flight convenience, departure airport, and perceived image matters. Skytrax rates airlines on the basis of product and service criteria. The top airline is Emirates because of the age of its fleet, quality of the website, airport service, cabin staff efficiency and friendliness and the on board product. The other podium places were taken by Qatar and Singapore Airlines.
Airlines that don’t pay attention to all the service ideals risk being marginalised and prey for the major operators.
To see the Eurostar video in full: