Current trends in Tourism
2014 saw 1.1 billion international tourist arrivals according to UNWTO, roughly 5% rise from 2013. Europe accounts to more than half of these arrivals followed by Asia and America. Outbound tourists from China outnumber those from the USA and Germany, and are expected to increase even further. 50% travelled for leisure and recreation, 27% travelled for visiting family or friends, medical or religious reasons and another 15% travelled on business and profession. This shows that Leisure, VFR and Business remain the top three motivations for people to travel. In the luxury travel market, travellers from US, Europe and Japan are the dominant consumers.
Continued growth in global GDP, change of leadership in countries like India and meetings like BRICs promise increase in economic performance in foreseeable future. In this backdrop, tourism scene looks promising as countries in Asia and Middle East compete to attract investments and visitors, and Europe and America look to seek partnerships with developing countries. Increase in affluence, disposable income and leisure time fuelled the desire to travel for new experiences. Provisions like Visa on Arrival and Visa Waiver Program enable hassle-free entry and saves time on travel formalities. Stressful professional life also necessitates the motivation to take short breaks by young professionals. Business travellers are often combining leisure element or bring their partners on the trips. Low cost business class-only flights like La Compagnie and cheaper business class fares on carriers like Flydubai, Jazeera Airways are striving to cater to this segment. Recent decrease in fuel price may also catapult more travel.
Medical tourism too has been a fast emerging area of tourist interest, due to high cost of treatments and complex healthcare system in America and Europe, coupled with the easily available options for assisted reproduction in India. Health and Wellness tourism encouraging work life balance is also on the rise to Asian destinations, with Sri Lanka, Maldives and India being favourable spots.
Post-retirement travel and Family travel especially around nature, parks, safaris and milestone events seems to grow. Africa is catering to this segment with its numerous animal safaris and adventure travel.
Since shopping and eating occupy significant part of a travel experience, Middle East and South East Asia are catering to Shopping and Culinary tourists by hosting shopping festivals, tax free shopping, food festivals etc.
Eco/ Green Tourism has been on the rise due to the environmentally conscious/conscientious tourists who care about climate change. They also tend to book with companies who show environmental responsibility in their business practices.
Sports Tourism proves a revenue and employment generator that includes travel of both spectators and participants (tournaments, competitions and other organised sports events).
Young urban consumers are using social media and blogs for booking and sharing travel experiences through Smart Phones, Tablets and WhatsApp enabling the viral marketing/ word of mouth about the tourist destinations. The travel companies and hotels are therefore increasingly making their customer service presence felt on the web.