ITB Berlin: Asia is the driving force in global tourism

30th Nov 2012
ITB Berlin: Asia is the driving force in global tourism

Asia continues to be the driving force in global tourism. According to the latest ITB World Travel Trends Report, this year the number of outbound trips from Asia rose by seven per cent, due in part to rising wages. Yet again, the most frequent travellers came from China and Japan, both countries reporting double-digit growth in outbound travel. During the first six months of this year the number of outbound trips from China grew by 20 per cent. Japan has recovered from the market collapse following last year’s tsunami and during the first nine months of 2012 registered 13.7 per cent growth. Outbound trips from South Korea increased by 6.7 per cent, while most markets in South and Southeast Asia lost momentum. Accordingly, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore reported less than five per cent growth. This year, only Indonesia and the Philippines will exceed ten per cent growth. These are the findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which is compiled by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin. Five years ago Messe Berlin launched ITB Asia in Singapore, which since then has established itself as one of the largest trade shows for the Asian travel industry. This is where, every year in October, industry buyers, suppliers, service providers and sellers gather to make use of networking and business opportunities and to find out about new trends at the convention’s supporting events.

People remain keen to travel

The outlook for most Asian markets is positive, so there is good reason to be optimistic about tourism next year. Only one-third of Asians said the global financial crisis would affect their travel plans, while two-thirds said it had no impact at all. Year-on-year data shows that Asia has recovered slightly. Last year, 36 per cent said the recession would influence their travel plans. This year that figure is down by four per cent. Next year, 29 per cent of Asians intend to travel more than in 2013, while only 16 per cent aim to travel less. A little over 50 per cent said they would undertake the same amount of trips. Accordingly, the ITB World Travel Trends Report forecasts outbound travel from Asia to grow by six per cent.

Better outlook for Japan

In terms of tourism, Japan has largely recovered from the effects of last year’s tsunami and reported strong growth during the first half of this year. However, since news emerged of its island dispute with China the momentum has been lost somewhat. Nonetheless, the Japanese are still optimistic about their travel plans for 2013. Only 28 per cent said the financial crisis would affect their travel decisions next year, compared with 33 per cent in 2012. 21 per cent expect to travel more in 2013, while 54 per cent aim to undertake the same amount of trips. Overall, in 2013 outbound travel from Japan is forecast to grow by around three per cent.


China’s influence remains high

China has also shown itself to be one of Asia’s strongest markets and its citizens’ travel intentions bear this out. 38 per cent (four per cent more than in 2012) plan to travel more next year. 49 per cent said they would undertake the same amount of trips. As a result, outbound travel from China is forecast to grow by 12 per cent.

By contrast, South Korean travel demand appeared to tail off slightly, due in part to declining confidence in purchasing power. Thus, many South Koreans prefer cheaper holidays in Southeast Asia. A similar trend has emerged in Taiwan. By contrast, the economic situation in Hong Kong remains stable, with travellers increasingly discovering new destinations or repeatedly visiting the same ones in their region.

Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics at Messe Berlin: “Over the coming years Asia will continue to be one of the main forces driving international tourism. Despite the economic uncertainty threatening major markets such as China and other countries in Northeast Asia, travellers from those countries will play an important role in global tourism.”

Launched by the consultancy IPK International and sponsored by ITB Berlin, every year at the World Travel Monitor Forum in Pisa, tourism experts and scientists from around the world present current statistics and the latest trends in international tourism.

Details of the studies will be presented by the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which will be published in early December at The report is based on the assessments of around 50 tourism experts from 30 countries, on a special IPK International trend analysis undertaken in major source markets, and on core data supplied by the World Travel Monitor®, recognised as the largest continuous survey of global travel trends in some 60 source countries. The findings reflect trends which emerged during the first eight months of 2012. At the ITB Berlin Convention Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, will present the findings for the entire year, as well as the latest forecasts for 2013.



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