Eastern Europe is still often overlooked as secondary market, but given the rapid economic growth, relatively stable political situation and safe, non-conflicting environment, it’s regarded by WTO as one of the faster growing economic region in terms of travel. 80% of EU countries with fastest economic growth are in CEE region with the ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) wealth from 10m$.
When Forbes examined the world's billionaires for our annual survey in March 2018, they found set of young moguls in Eastern Europe taking advantage of new technologies and privatization to stake a claim to riches. In 2018 16 billionaires come from former Warsaw Pact followed by Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria. All are self-made, having taken advantage of the region's rapid-fire privatizations in the 1990s.
In terms of travel, international airlines are more focused on CEE cities converting them slowly into significant hubs. Emirates and Qatar airlines have doubled flights from/to Prague having two flights daily on A380 and Warsaw, Sofia, Dubrovnik are becoming more and more significant.
Growth in the number of outbound travel from Europe is expected to remain positive in 2019 and 2020. Although Western Europe countries rank among the highest for outbound travel from Europe, outbound tourism from developing markets in CEE is at much higher rate over the same period.
CEE countries also have easy accessibility to major Western European hubs (London, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich) and have great connectivity for inter-European flights, dominated by Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France, next to an array of low-cost aero-suppliers.
In the past 5 years the number of luxury agencies and concierge has doubled, and local affluent clients prefer to switch to domestic contacts over international global concierges. Also, dependency of luxury agencies on major German tour Operators is decreasing as the number of travel experts in each country is growing and the urge for own business and independent agencies is increasing.
Due to geopolitical instability in some markets (Egypt, Lebanon, Venezuela, Turkey) popular to CEE’s travelers, peaceful beach destinations or experiential ventures gained on popularity, besides Indian Ocean and Caribbean we see increased interest in African Safari and Southeast Asia. Also the trend varies from beach evergreens to more adventurous and experiential travel, especially for younger generations. Dubai became more fashionable destination to go for a short ‘weekend’ trip to relax, shop and enjoy the quality offerings of F&B and nightlife the city has to offer.