AP outbound travel maintains strong growth

Berlin : Asia Pacific remains a leading growth market for world travel with a 5 percent rise in outbound trips so far this year despite the slowdown in the Chinese economy.

Even stronger growth of 6.1 percent can be expected next year, according to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which is produced by tourism consultancy IPK International on behalf of ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show. This means that the region will once again outpace world travel growth in 2016 and continue to gain market share.

The number of outbound trips made by travellers from Asia Pacific increased by about 5 percent between January and August this year, according to preliminary World Travel Monitor figures. This followed growth of 6.5 percent in 2014.

In comparison, the number of outbound trips worldwide increased by 4.5 percent in the first eight months of 2015, the World Travel Monitor found. Rolf Freitag, IPK International president, commented: “These are very robust figures and show that Asia Pacific has grown slightly faster than the overall worldwide outbound travel market this year, although somewhat more slowly than in 2014.”

Inbound travel to and within Asia Pacific has also remained on the growth path this year. International tourist arrivals to the region rose 4.3% over the first eight months of this year, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

At a sub-regional level, Oceania (+6.6%) led growth, followed by South-East Asia (+5.6%), where Thailand showed a strong rebound after weaker results last year. Arrivals grew by 4.2% in South Asia and by 3.2% in North-East Asia, where Japan continues to show extraordinary growth.

The latest figures confirm Asia Pacific’s importance as a growth driver for world travel. Since 2007, the total number of outbound trips by travellers from the region (excluding Chinese travel to Hong Kong and Macau) increased by 65 percent to a total of 170 million trips, according to World Travel Monitor figures. This growth was more than twice as much as overall world growth between 2007 and 2014. Key trends in the Asia Pacific outbound market over this period include rises in short trips, beach holidays and city trips, along with a move to up-market hotels and higher average spending.

Looking ahead to next year, IPK predicts a 6.1 percent rise in Asia Pacific outbound travel, based on its Travel Confidence Index which measures travel intentions in the region for the next year. According to the index, 70 percent of travellers in Asia Pacific want to travel at least as much in 2016 as this year, including a high 27 percent who want to travel more. Significantly, confidence remains high in China and double-digit growth is expected in 2016.

Dr. Martin Buck, Messe Berlin’s Senior Vice President/Director Travel & Logistics ITB Berlin, commented: “These very positive figures show that Asia Pacific remains the top growth market for world tourism. It is especially encouraging to see the high levels of confidence for outbound travel from China next year. We can look forward to another strong year for Asia Pacific outbound travel.”

The results and findings in the ITB World Travel Trends Report are based on presentations and discussions at the annual World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa, which is supported by ITB Berlin. Initiated at the invitation of consultancy IPK International, more than 50 tourism experts and academics from around the world present the latest figures and current trends in international tourism