AMERICAS OUTBOUND TRAVEL

World Travel Monitor outlines ups and downs in 2016 and growth forecast for 2017

2016 was a year of ups and downs for international travel in the Americas. In North America, the US outbound market performed very well thanks to the strong dollar. But in South America, Brazilians cut back on international travel dramatically amid the country’s economic and political crisis, although the picture was set to improve this year (eds: this is reported to be the case). Those were some of the results of the 24th World Travel Monitor Forum, published at the end of 2016 in the run-up to ITB Berlin.

STRONG DOLLAR DRIVES US OUTBOUND GROWTH

In the first 8 months of 2016 (last data available at time of writing), the USA has been one of the world’s best-performing outbound markets with a 7% increase in outbound trips in the rst eight months of 2016, according to World Travel Monitor figures, while the overall North America outbound market grew by 6%. The key factor is the strong US dollar, which has increased the purchasing power of US travellers.

Their average spending per trip increased by 3% to around 1,800 euros. Holidays, which account for about two out of three international trips by US residents, grew by 8% over the rst eight months of 2016. This included an 11% rise in sun & beach holidays, 9% increase in touring holidays and 7% rise in countryside holidays, although the number of city trips was stagnant. Americans have also gone on longer international holidays so far this year. Short trips (1-7 nights) increased by 5% between January and August 2016, but there was a 12% rise in trips lasting 8-15 nights, and a 10% rise in longer outbound trips.

As a result, major destination regions around the world are all profiting, with a 7% increase in US outbound trips within the Americas, a 6% rise to Asia and a 5% increase to Europe, according to World Travel Monitor figures.

“Taking all these figures together, it’s clearly a bumper year for the US outbound travel market,” said Brian Tress, Ernst & Young’s Executive Director Real Estate & Hospitality “Americans are going on more foreign holidays and exploring new destinations around the world.”

The outlook for North American outbound travel remained very positive, with IPK’s Travel Confidence Index pointing to further growth of 6% in 2017.

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