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Skyscanner reveals the world’s biggest spenders: tourists who splash the cash

Skyscanner reveals the world’s biggest spenders: tourists who splash the cash

Flight comparison site Skyscanner investigates which countries like to flash their cash the most when they travel – Germans in the lead, but China is hot on their trail.

With the world economy apparently on the road to recovery, tourism will play a huge part in many countries’ income and competition is high to capture the biggest share of that market. International tourism is on track for a rebound with growth of 3-4% projected for 2010 – a welcome recovery after 2009’s slump.

But when it comes to international travels, who spends the most and where should travel and tourism organisations be targeting their marketing budgets to attract the big spenders?

At number one, it’s the Germans who spend over $90 billion a year on their travels, a disproportionate amount compared to their population which numbers just over 80 million, less than a third of the next biggest spenders – the USA, who splash $79.7 billion a year on holidays.  Known for tipping big in restaurant and bars, Americans certainly know how to spend.

In third place it’s the UK who splurge $68.5 billion to escape the UK on cheap flights each year. No doubt the lure of sun and sand plays a huge part in the mass exodus, with Spain by far our favourite holiday escape. This is also backed up by recent Skyscanner stats, with cheap flights to Malaga topping the most popular searched in January.


France, which is also the world’s most popular country in terms of tourist arrivals, empty their wallets of $42.1 per year, whilst the Chinese spend $36.2 billion annually on their travels.

China is part of a new force of international tourists. The country’s huge economic boom over the last decade has created a new middle class and with travel restrictions now a distant memory, more and more Chinese are taking advantage of their new found wealth and travelling the world – normally in tour groups.

Italy, Japan, Canada, Russia and the Netherlands made up the rest of the ten big spenders list.

Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and business director commented:
“It will be very interesting to see how tourist spending changes since the downturn. So far, the latest figures show that only the Japanese spent less on international tourism than the previous year. China is fast rising, spending 21% more on their global travels, and are likely set to grow even more. Meanwhile, it’s the Germans who remain the world’s biggest spending tourists, and there would have to be significant change for anyone else to catch up with them.”

1. Germany - $91.0 billion (+2%)
2. USA – $79.7 billion (+4.4%)
3. UK – $68.5 billion (+4.4%)
4. France – $43.1 billion (+9.6%)
5. China – $36.2 billion (+21.4%)
6. Italy – $30.8 billion (+4.9%)
7. Japan – $27.9 billion (-7.9%)
8. Canada – $26.9 billion (+8.4%)
9. Russia – $24.9 billion (+11.8%)
10. Netherlands – $21.7 billion (+9.2%)