International travel sees one of the highest growth rates in the past twenty years
2017 has been an exceptionally strong year for international travel, with Europe being the main growth driver as both a source market as well as a destination region. On Wednesday, March 7, Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International presented the first preliminary figures of the World Travel Monitor for travel year 2017 at ITB Berlin, stating that worldwide, the number of outbound trips has increased by 6.5%, reaching nearly 1.2 billion international trips in 2017. IPK’s World Travel Monitor is an annual survey analysing the outbound travel behaviour in more than 60 countries worldwide, covering over 90% of the global outbound demand. On a highly positive note, for the first time since IPK began surveying the impact of terrorism on international travel, terror sensitivity has decreased and destinations are perceived “safer” than before.
EUROPE DRIVES GLOBAL OUTBOUND GROWTH WHILE SPAIN REMAINS TOP DESTINATION
In 2017, Europe was the strongest source region for international travel with an overall increase of 7% compared to last year, followed by North and Latin America with both 6% and Asia with 5%. Also as a destination region, Europe benefitted most, with 8% more trips in 2017. Looking at destinations on a country level, Spain takes the lead, with the USA and Germany ranking second and third. France and Italy are the fourth and fifth most successful destinations. When it comes to holiday types, city trips have been the main growth driver last year with an increase of 18%. Sun & beach holidays, which represent the largest holiday market share, grew by 9%. On the other hand, tour holidays worldwide decreased by 1%.
ONE IN TEN INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLERS AFFECTED BY OVERTOURISM
Overtourism has made headlines worldwide recently due to record visitor numbers at many destinations, prompting well-publicised protests by residents and diverse me a sur e s by loc a l authorities. As this topic not only impacts destinations, tourist attractions , local infrastructure and residents, but also travellers themselves, IPK International conducted a special survey among international travellers in February 2018. The results show that 24% of all international tourists had the feeling that the destination they visited was overcrowded. However, only 9% said that this overcrowding actually affected the quality of their outbound trip. Most affected cities are Mexico City (23%), Shanghai (22%), Venice (20%), Beijing (19%), Hong Kong (18%), Istanbul, Amsterdam and Florence (all 17%) and Barcelona (16%).
TRAVEL BEHAVIOUR STILL INFLUENCED BY TERROR FEAR YET TO A LESSER EXTENT
For the fifth time, IPK International conducted a special survey on the influence of terror threats on international travel behaviour in main source markets worldwide in February 2018. The study revealed that for 37% of international travellers the recent instability and terror warnings will have an influence on their travel plans for 2018, compared to 41% in October 2017. Regarding the question what kind of influence the current situation could have on the travel behaviour, 24% stated that they will still be travelling abroad, however only to destinations they perceive as “safe”. For some destination s, the safety image has improved and they are rated slightly safer compared to October 2017. This applies e.g. to some of the biggest destinations such as Spain, USA, Germany and Great Britain.
Although different travel risks do exist, IPK International anticipates global outbound trips to increase by a robust 5% in 2018. According to IPK International’s Outbound Travel Forecast for 2018, Latin America is expected to be one of the high performers with an increase of 7%, closely followed by Asia (+6%). International travel from Europe as well as North America is forecasted to grow by 4% each