International travel outperforming economic growth

Presentation by IPK International at ITB Berlin 2019 names tourism as a key driver of the global economy

In 2018, the number of outbound trips increased by 5.5%, resulting in 1.4 billion international trips. Hence, once again tourism is a key growth driver of the global economy, which “only” grew by 3.7% in comparison. Growth is coming from all regions worldwide, also from the mature markets Europe and North America, but the strongest gains came from Asian and Latin American markets. For 2019, considering a slowing world economy, also a slightly lower growth rate is expected for international travel. Overtourism could become another growing problem for the tourism industry, with more and more international travellers feeling the effect of overcrowded destinations.

These ndings are based on latest results of IPK’s World Travel Monitor, an annual survey analysing the outbound travel behaviour in more than 60 countries worldwide, covering over 90% of the global outbound demand.

ASIA IS GROWTH DRIVER WHILE TURKEY SHOWING STRONG RECOVERY

Asia was the strongest source region last year, with overall 7% more outbound trips. Latin America followed with a plus of 6%, while there were 5% more trips from North America and Europe. Looking at the destination regions, once again Asia but also Europe were the global winners by receiving 6% more international trips each, while the Americas were clearly below with a plus of 3%. Regarding destination countries, one of the biggest changes was the stagnation of trips to Spain in 2018, a destination that boomed in the recent past. On the other hand, destinations that were avoided by tourist in the past are recovering, above all Turkey with 8.5 million more visitors in 2018 compared to 2017. Holidays once again outperform business trips, due to the continuous downward path of traditional business trips, while MICE trips continued on a growth path. With international travellers staying slightly longer and also spending more when abroad, the turnover of international trips overall increased by 8%.

INCREASING EFFECT OF OVERTOURISM

For the second year in a row, IPK International measures the perceptions of overtourism among international travellers. While residents in affected destinations have been protesting for years, also travellers are feeling more and more impaired by the onslaught of tourist in particularly sought-after cities. IPK’s latest survey results show that meanwhile more than every tenth international traveller was negatively affected by overtourism. This is an increase of 30% over the last 12 months. Cities strongly affected by overtourism were Beijing, Mexico City, Venice and Amsterdam, but also Istanbul and Florence.

In particular, travellers from Asia felt a lot more affected by overtourism compared to e.g. Europeans. Also, according to the statistics, young travellers are a lot more bothered by overcrowding compared to older travellers.

FEAR OF TERROR REMAINS

Similar to gures from 2018, 38% of international travellers currently claim that political instability and terror threats will have an in uence on their travel planning for 2019. At that, travellers from Asia feel a lot more impacted by terror threats than travellers from other continents. In terms of what kind of in uence terror threats will have on the travel behaviour, the great majority states that they will choose only destinations, which they perceive as “safe”. The safety image of most destinations slightly improved over the last 12 months – also for Turkey, Israel and Egypt.

OUTLOOK 2019

With predictions of the global economic growth slowing down in 2019, also the forecast for international travel for this year is slightly below the performance of 2018. Overall, IPK International anticipates global outbound trips to increase by 4% in 2019. Asia- Pacific remains leading with an expected plus of 6%. Growth in the Americas is forecasted to reach 5%, while Europe with 3% is showing a weakening trend compared to last year


Photo: couple in Ubud, Bali