International Travel Increase

Glenn Haussman from Hotel Interactive writes:
International travel is not just expanding, it’s booming. No matter what area on earth you look – OK, maybe not Antarctica — tourism between countries is on the rise. And it’s climbing so much it looks to be at record levels.

But the real incredible news is not that more people are traveling to foreign countries than ever before, but this trend is expected to continue for decades. That’s right, decades. According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, global tourism will increase at an annual percentage rate of at least 3.8 percent through 2030. Wow! For the complete year, UNWTO forecasts 2013 to end at a four percent increase or slightly above, exceeding the organization’s initial estimate for the year.

This year alone tourism is surging to incredible new levels as that new rising middle class we speak about frequently here at Hotel Interactive is actively exploring the world around them and visiting new countries. In all, International tourist arrivals (that’s a fancy way for saying people visiting other countries) increased by 5 percent during the first half of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012. In all, nearly 500 million folks traveled to a country other than their own during the first half of this year, according to the UNWTO.

In fact, this group of 25 million new international travelers is being powered by countries with emerging economies, which saw a year over year increase of six percent compared to those with advanced economies. Those rose a steady and predictable four percent signaling plenty of opportunities for hoteliers looking to find customers in areas that had previously been fodder for potential hotel guests.

“The fact that international tourism grew above expectations confirms that travelling is now part of consumer patterns for an increasing number of people in both emerging and advanced economies” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “This underlines the need to rightly place tourism as one of the key pillars of socio-economic development, being a leading contributor to economic growth, exports and jobs.”

He’s right. Just look at how the numbers play out for regions with established international travel patterns compared to emerging ones. Europe was up 5 percent, but was propelled by Central and Eastern Europe, which saw a 10 percent jump while Southern and Mediterranean Europe rose 6 percent. Asia and the Pacific climbed six percent overall but was driven by South-East Asia which was up 12 percent while South Asia climbed seven percent. Mature markets such as the Americas ( 2%), South America and the Caribbean were at the end of the list. Which makes perfect sense since these markets already have robust travel.

No mention of Africa mind you…….