UNWTO/ETC report on US outbound travel

UNWTO/ETC report on US outbound travel

The recent ETC/UNWTO study of the US Outbound Travel Market is the springboard for today’s seminar, organised jointly with ETOA. The session brings together the leading lights of UNWTO, ETC, ETOA and USTOA as well as major operators.

What are the prospects for the US market for Europe this year?  Next year?  And up to 2020?

As the global economic situation remains volatile and the demographic make-up of the USA changes, we can expect changes in the way Americans travel. But what form will these changes take? 

These are a few of the issues discussed at today’s event, which advances some of the main findings from this study on the US Outbound Travel Market to Europe.

The research has unearthed some interesting and reassuring insights into the US outbound market, indicating that in spite of the downward revision of the US economic growth forecast, US tour operators predict Americans will gradually return to Europe in growing numbers (detailed overview of some of the main findings follows this release).

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“Although the industry’s focus has turned towards emerging markets like the BRIC countries, we should not forget Europe’s most significant market, the USA”, said Petra Hedorfer, President of the European Travel Commission (ETC). “In 2010, Europe attracted 11 million US citizens, a figure expected to rise in the future.  It is therefore our duty to strengthen Europe’s image as an exciting and dynamic destination in spite of economic turmoil and changing consumer interests.”

Research also shows that “although US travellers to Europe tend to be more financially resilient than many, they are still keen on finding value for money at every turn”.

Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) underlined that “with US$ 75 billion (euro 53 billion) in expenditure on travel abroad in 2010, the USA is still the second most important source market in the world”. “Europe, traditionally one of the preferred destinations for Americans, should keep pace with its knowledge about the market and identify its emerging trends. With this new research, done jointly with our long-time partner ETC, we expect to help European destinations to better shape their products and marketing to the US outbound market”, he added.

Tom Jenkins, Executive Director of the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), whose members include some of the largest inbound tour operators to Europe, said “The North American market occupies a unique position for European tourism. It combines great wealth with conspicuously strong cultural ties. These two factors mean that it will continue to be the principal engine for inbound demand into the foreseeable future. But, like any other dynamic economy, it is changing. How it is doing so and how we should respond to this change is the purpose behind this seminar.”