World Travel Monitor Reveals Global Upturn

IPK International uses ITB Berlin to present forecast data

Considered to be the world’s largest travel survey, the IPK World Travel Monitor forms the basis of the ITB Berlin Convention’s essential Future Day presentation, Wednesday March 8th. Delivered by Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, the findings usually form the basis for decision-making across the entire tourism industry.

Despite political unrest and security fears impacting a number of important destination countries in the last year, such as Turkey and France, the survey found that people around the world kept travelling more than ever before in 2016. Worldwide, the number of outbound trips increased by 4%, reaching nearly 1.1 billion international trips. Asia remains the number one source market region for growth in international travel with an overall increase of 9% compared to the previous year, followed by South America with 5%. Outbound trips from North America and Europe both grew by 3%. But Europe prevails as the number one source market with more than half of the outbound travel volume worldwide. When it comes to inbound tourism, Spain outperformed the US as the number one travel destination in 2016 while Germany is still in third place.


Further revelations included the fact that, despite terror alerts, city trips are the fastest-growing holiday market segment, catching up with sun and beach holidays which are still the number one. Touring holidays had the third largest market share in 2016. For the third time, IPK International conducted a special survey on the ways in which travel behaviour is influenced by fear of terrorism. The study revealed that for 45% of international travellers the recent instability and terror warnings will have an influence on their travel plans for 2017. This is a 6 percentage points increase compared to February 2016. However, the survey exhibits regional differences between source markets in Europe, Asia, North and South America.

Regarding the question what kind of influence the current situation could have on travel behaviour, 16% of international travellers indicated that they will not travel abroad in 2017 or will only go on domestic trips within their own country. A further 29% stated that they will still be traveling abroad, yet only to destinations they perceive as “safe”. For some destinations the situation regarding safety has actually deteriorated compared to the previous year. For example, while in February last year 64% of the respondents perceived Turkey as “unsafe“, in February 2017 this figure has increased to 76%. Hence, shifts from “unsafe“ to “safe“ destinations will further continue in 2017. Translating the data into a tourism forecast, IPK International anticipates global outbound trips to increase by a robust 4% in 2017.

Asian outbound travel is once again expected to be the main growth driver with an increase of 5%, but North America can also expect a strong outbound travel year while international travel of Europeans and South Americans is expected to continuously show moderate growth, potentially 3% for both.