World crises weigh heavily on 2013 outlook for luxury travel

By Danny King
2012ILTMexterior410There may be a handful of Ferraris parked in front of the Palais des Festivals et des Congres for the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes, France, but the event’s keynote speaker preached a far more leisurely pace when discussing the 2013 world economy and its potential effect on the high-end travel industry.

“Still in the Slow Lane” read a background graphic that John Andrews, consulting editor at The Economist, showed to an audience.

Andrews, who also gave keynote speeches at ILTM in 2010 and 2011, listed civil unrest in Arab countries, Iran’s efforts to get nuclear weapons, Israel-Palestinian tensions and the slowdown in the Chinese economy as potential negative factors.

“Europe is a disaster,” added Andrews, noting that The Economist’’ prediction of a 0.3% economic growth rate across the continent for 2013 may be charitable. “Germany’s austerity measures [for indebted eurozone nations] will be self-defeating, and may provoke serious social unrest.”

Andrews did point to a few possible bright spots. He estimated that Asia’s economies, excluding Japan, will grow at more than 6% next year, and added that advanced oil-exploration technology will help boost North American petroleum supply and cut gas prices, which could aid the U.S. economy.

Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.
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