Research by the UNWTO looked into the different demographic drivers of growth. Tourism continues to grow in 2013 after it had surpassed the important 1 billion mark of international tourist arrivals in 2012 – this happened for the first time in the history of tourism. In the future, tremendous growth is being predicted, making it a quite exciting time for tourism organisations and destinations worldwide. Undoubtedly, regions such as Asia Pacific and North Africa are contributing to that by being one of the top performers in terms of tourism demand. Where is growth happening and how does this impact on the tourism industry is central to marketers decision making in terms of digital strategies (UNWTO).
Emerging economies continue to be a driver of growth as there are more people travelling than ever before. Asia Pacific received a lot of international travellers, mainly from other countries from within the region. The expenditure from emerging countries is also one of the highest, indicating space for opportunities for tourism organisations and destinations when attracting travellers from emerging countries such as China, India and Indonesia. Chinese travellers were predicted as being big spenders when travelling with other countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines following closely and spending a lot on overseas holidays.
When looking closer at research conducted by Amadeus, two demographics could be identified that will drive change in the future. In Asia Pacific, female business travellers and travellers aged over 65 are two demographics that will increase growth. Accounting for around 4.5 million people in 2011, this number is predicted to increase by 400%. This is a tremendous growth forecast! With more and more women in higher managerial positions, their need to travel also increases, and even for smaller enterprises, the need to travel for business purposes will grow in the future.
More traditional markets experience a more dynamic development of tourism. Europe is keeping up good results in terms of travellers’ spending with expenditures growing in countries such as Germany and the UK after stagnating for the last two years. These are positive developments for Europe and other countries such as the USA and Canada also continue to grow their expenditures.
These trends in terms of driving growth are quite interesting to look at as they reveal which traveller demographics are driving growth in tourism. However, with different regions in the world picking up in growth, its good news for tourism as the number of overall arrivals will continue to grow and also travellers’ expenditures will also increase in the future not just from emerging markets but also from the more traditional markets. All in all these are very good news for tourism organisations and destinations worldwide.
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