In 2009, Germany, France and UK were all in recession and the Eurozone crisis in the latter half of 2011 prompted speculation that the world’s major economies could slip back into negative growth in 2012.
The world monetary crisis, combined with the Arab Spring in countries with high levels of tourism from Western Europe and a succession of natural disasters from flooding in Thailand to the Japanese tsunami made 2011 a difficult year for the travel industry. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, there were 24 tour operator failures between January and mid-November, with Holidays 4 U in August making the biggest headlines.
At times, it seemed no one was safe: by November 2011, American Airlines had filed for bankruptcy protection, while one of travel’s biggest and oldest names, Thomas Cook, needed a £200million rescue package.
Despite the woes, confidence in travel did return in the first half of 2011 and by end of the year, many destinations, including old favourites such as Spain and Greece, as well less mature destinations such as Croatia, were all reporting record-breaking figures.