It is a tale of two Americas where travel trends are concerned. In 2011 the South American market remained buoyant, whereas international arrivals in North America rose only slightly and US travel abroad was weak. These are the findings of the latest ITB World Travel Trends Report. Boosted by the strong economic performance of countries such as Brazil and Argentina, South America’s domestic and international travel markets registered high double-digit growth. In America, economic uncertainty dampened many US citizens’ desire for travel. Trips to North America increased slightly over the last eight months, whereas international travel remained at last year’s levels. For next year UNWTO forecasts a four to five per cent increase in international tourists from the Americas, compared with 6.4 per cent in 2010.
South America – a success story
By contrast, many countries in South America can reap satisfaction from a travel market that continues to boom. Even if growth rates have now slowed when compared with previous years, during the past eight months trips abroad by South Americans increased by 15 per cent. Brazilians were particularly keen to travel. With the help of a robust domestic economy and strong currency they spent 45 per cent more on trips abroad than in 2010. Relatively young, well educated and wealthy travellers are characteristic of South America’s three burgeoning markets, those of Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. The arrival of more and more low-cost airlines in South America will further increase the number of long-haul trips. Many holidaymakers who travel abroad have also put South America at the top of their wish list. International arrivals increased by 13 per cent, while trips to the Caribbean and Central America rose by a lowly four per cent each.
US citizens spend their holidays at home
The difficult economic times currently experienced by many Americans is also reflected in how they take holidays. The focus is increasingly on price awareness and travel bargains. ’Staycationers’ either remain at home altogether or go on holiday locally. Only 23 per cent of US citizens intend to take more trips abroad next year, 28 per cent aim to take less, while 23 per cent have no plans at all to travel abroad next year. The US inbound market registered only slight growth. During the last eight months the number of international arrivals rose by only three per cent, compared with seven per cent in 2010.
Now online: a concise overview of travel industry trends
Details of global travel trends can be found in the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2011 which went online today and can be downloaded at www.itb-berlin.com. The findings are based on the assessments of 50 tourism experts from 30 countries, on a special IPK International trend analysis undertaken in leading source markets, and on core data supplied by the World Travel Monitor®, recognised as the largest ongoing survey of global travel trends in some 60 source countries. The findings reflect trends which emerged during the first eight months of 2011. 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 2012.