Worldwide trends in outbound and inbound travel as well as important current topics affecting the travel and tourism sector were once again in focus at this year’s World Travel Monitor® Forum.
As the World Travel Monitor® results for the first eight months of 2016 made clear, worldwide outbound travel remains on the growth path despite terror attacks and political unrest.
The number of worldwide outbound trips grew by 3.9%, led by Asia (+11%), including 18% growth in the rapidly developing Chinese market, and the USA (+7%). European outbound ravel grew by 2.5%, with good growth from the UK (+6%) and Germany (+4%).
Worldwide inbound tourism increased by 4% in the first nine months of 2016, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. In Europe, destinations perceived as safe benefited strongly as international travellers turned away from countries impacted by terror attacks or unrest. Asia and the Americas generated good growth. In Asia, the Mekong sub-region was highlighted as one of the world’s fastest growing destinations.
The outlook for 2017 is very positive, with world outbound travel predicted to grow by between 4% and 5%, driven once again by Asia and the USA and with stronger growth out of Europe. The Chinese are expected to go on more international trips for many years to come, although there could be a noticeable drop in their sometimes extravagant spending in future, according to one Beijing-based expert.
The impact of terror attacks on the travel industry was a much-discussed topic at the Pisa forum. World Travel Monitor® data showed that the real risk to travellers from terror attacks is much lower than, for example, health problems or crime. However, many people (45%) now have serious safety and security concerns, especially about certain countries, and about two thirds of them plan to only travel to international destinations they perceive as being safe. Speakers highlighted the possible methods that affected destinations can use to improve their tourism image as well as the positive mutual benefits of tourism and peace.
The rise and rise of so-called ‘sharing’ accommodation providers such as Airbnb came under the spotlight as well. They still have a relatively low market share according to World Travel Monitor® figures. An expert analysis showed that fast-expanding Airbnb is primarily a commercial business rather than a ‘sharing platform’ and mostly diverts rental accommodation from residents to tourists while generating additional visitor volumes for destinations.
‘Millennials’ are a large market segment who apparently have special characteristics such as the desire for authentic cultural experiences and who use technology intensively. Yet, according to World Travel Monitor® data, they actually display quite similar travel patterns as older travellers. Technology giant Google explained how it is rolling out a whole portfolio of travel products and services to “help travellers to dream, plan, book and experience”.
Full accounts of these topics and others are contained in the following sections of the World Travel Trends Report 2016/17.
Read the full rteport here.
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