The economic situation in the United States and Canada is improving and with it has come a renewed increase in foreign trips in 2014.
At the same time the weaker-performing economies of Brazil and Argentina have led to slower growth in tourism in South America.
These are the findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Report, conducted by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show.
This year the foreign travel markets of North America reported a growth rate of five per cent.
People in North America travelled more often than last year and stayed longer at their destinations, with stays of more than four overnights increasing by eight per cent.
Accordingly, spending on foreign trips rose significantly, by 19 per cent.
At plus six per cent, holiday travel was among the market’s driving forces, while the number of business trips rose by only four per cent.
As a trend, holidays focused more on individual travel, local destinations and authentic experiences, resulting in high demand for custom travel packages.
Despite rising GDPs and lower unemployment the forecast for next year is less positive: in 2015 trips abroad by people in North America will most likely increase by only three per cent.
By contrast, South America was unable to maintain its above-average growth rates of recent years.
During the first eight months of 2014 it registered five per cent growth.
However, this fell short of the increases between 2009 and 2013 which at times were in double digits.
Economic insecurity in South America, particularly in Brazil and Argentina, has led to this decline in the growth rate in foreign travel.
At plus three per cent, the IPK Travel Confidence Index also forecasts slower growth in foreign travel for South America in 2015. This marks a continuation of the current trend.
With the FIFA World Cup taking place in Brazil, 2014 was naturally a special year in terms of tourism arrivals in South America.
During the first eight months the number of international arrivals rose by seven per cent, considerably more than during the same period last year (up 2.5 per cent).
People from Argentina, Chile and Colombia travelling to the World Cup accounted for a large part of this figure.
During the event South America’s largest country welcomed a total of around one million foreign visitors.
Holiday spending averaged around 2,000 dollars per trip, while 55 per cent of visitors stayed between four and 15 nights and took the opportunity to get to know the country.
Some 78 per cent said they would like to visit it again.