International tourism continues its growth momentum and Europe remains a key global ingredient

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s latest barometer, international tourist arrivals grew +6% in the first six months of 2018 after a record year of growth in 2017. All world regions enjoyed robust growth in tourist arrivals in January-June 2018. The increase was fuelled by strong demand from major source markets, supported by an upswing in the global economy.


Summary:

  • International tourist arrivals grew +6% in the first six months of 2018, according to latest World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) data;
  • The increase was fuelled by strong demand from major source markets, supported by an upswing in the global economy;
  • The UNWTO predicts growth prospects for the remainder of 2018 “remain positive” though growth is predicted to be at “a slower pace”;
  • Travel remains a top priority for discretionary spending in Europe – at least two thirds of adults have travelled in the past year, according to Phocuswright research.

The latest data serves to prove the resilience and relentless growth trajectory of the sector and Europe remains an important part of that path. By region, Europe and Asia and the Pacific led growth with a +7% increase in arrivals. The Southern Mediterranean Europe and South-East Asia had the strongest results among these regions, both welcoming +9% more international tourists.

Elsewhere, the Middle East and Africa also recorded sound results with arrivals growing +5% and +4%, respectively. The Americas saw +3% growth in arrivals over the six-month period, driven by South America (+7%) and North America (+5%). On the demand side, France, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation all reported double-digit increases in outbound spending in Europe. India and the Republic of Korea drove growth in Asia and the Pacific, while the world’s top source market China reported similar spending as in the same period last year.

The first half of the year accounts for about 45% of annual international tourist arrivals. The second half represents 55% as it is three days longer and includes the Northern Hemisphere high-season months of July and August. Against a strong first semester, growth prospects for the remainder of 2018 “remain positive” overall, according to the latest UNWTO Confidence Index survey, though growth is predicted to be at “a slower pace” with the Index value for May-August and expectations for September-December “somewhat lower” than the Index value for January-April.

Travel remains a top priority for discretionary spending in Europe. Over the past year, at least two thirds of European adults have travelled, according to new travel research by Phocuswright. This highlights that travel remains an important ingredient of European culture, and while travellers may dedicate fewer resources to travel overall, several annual trips and long-duration escapes remain a priority.

The newly published ‘Europe Consumer Travel 2018: Core Consumer Metrics’, the latest in Phocuswright’s European travel research series, provides insights into the three largest travel markets in Europe, France Germany and the United Kingdom.

Together these three countries account for nearly EUR120 billion in gross bookings and more than four in 10 European bookings. The report explores key European traveller metrics, including travel frequency and spend, top travel destinations and more and notes that the UK has the highest percentage of travel incidence, pulling ahead of both France and Germany.