ITB Berlin 2018: Europe is major driver for international tourism growth

Last year was an exceptionally strong year for international travel, with Europe being the main growth driver as both a source market as well as a destination region.

Worldwide, the number of outbound trips has increased by 6.5 per cent, reaching nearly 1.2 billion international trips in 2017.

The results of the IPK International, World Travel Monitor, were released at ITB Berlin.

For the first time since IPK started surveying the impact of terrorism on international travel, terror sensitivity decreased, and destinations are perceived as “safer” than before.

The findings are based on latest results of the World Travel Monitor, an annual survey analysing outbound travel behaviour in more than 60 countries worldwide, covering over 90 per cent of the global outbound demand.

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In 2017, Europe was the strongest source region for international travel with an overall increase of seven per cent compared to last year, followed by North and Latin America with both six per cent and Asia with five per cent.

Also, as a destination region, Europe could profit most with eight per cent more trips in 2017.

Looking at destinations on a country level, Spain takes the lead, with the USA and Germany ranking second and third.

France and Italy are the fourth and fifth most successful destinations.

When it comes to holiday types, city trips have been the main growth driver last year with an increase of 18 per cent.

Sun and beach holidays, which represent the largest holiday market share, grew by nine per cent.

On the other hand, tour holidays worldwide decreased by one per cent.

Overtourism has made headlines worldwide recently due to record visitor numbers at many destinations, prompting well-publicized protests by residents and diverse measures by local authorities.

As this topic not only impacts destinations, tourist attractions, local infrastructure and residents, but also travellers themselves, IPK International conducted a special survey among international travellers in February.

The results show that 24 per cent of all international tourists had the feeling that the destination they visited was overcrowded.

However, only nine per cent said that this overcrowding actually affected the quality of their outbound trip.

Most affected cities were Mexico City (23 per cent), Shanghai (22 per cent), Venice (20 per cent), Beijing (19 per cent), Hong Kong (18 per cent), Istanbul, Amsterdam and Florence (17 per cent each) and Barcelona (16 per cent).

For the fifth time, IPK International conducted a special survey on the influence of terror threats on international travel behaviour in main source markets worldwide.

The study revealed that for 37 per cent of international travellers the recent instability and terror warnings will have an influence on their travel plans for 2018, compared to 41 per cent in October 2017.

Regarding the question what kind of influence the current situation could have on the travel behaviour, 24 per cent stated that they will still be travelling abroad, however only to destinations they perceived as “safe”.

For some destinations, the safety image has improved, and they are rated slightly safer compared to October 2017.

This applies to some of the biggest destinations such as Spain, USA, Germany and Great Britain.

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