Steady growth for Asian outbound travel in 2017


5 percent growth in Asian outbound trips - More beach holidays and city trips - Recovery in travel to Europe - ITB Berlin exclusively publishes latest results from IPK's World Travel Monitor®

Asian couple travel and selfie in Paris, France
Asian couple travel and selfie in Paris, France

Asians are going on more international trips than ever, although the growth rate has slowed this year after a 9 percent increase in 2016. The main trends over the first eight months of 2017 include a continued rise in sun & beach holidays, more city trips and a good comeback for travel to Europe after a downturn last year. The outlook for 2018 remains good with further mid-single-digit growth expected. These were some of the results of the 25th World Travel Monitor® Forum in Pisa, Italy (November 9-10). At this exclusive industry meeting, initiated at the invitation of consultancy IPK International and supported by ITB Berlin, around 50 tourism experts and academics from around the world present the latest figures and current trends in international tourism.

The number of outbound trips by Asians grew by 5 percent between January and August 2017, according to World Travel Monitor® figures. This is behind the very strong 9 percent increase achieved in 2016 but is in line with the World Travel Monitor® forecast of 6 percent growth for this year, which was made 12 months ago. "Asian outbound was exceptionally strong in 2016, especially due to high growth for intra-regional travel. This year we are seeing a return to a more normal long-term growth rate," commented Rolf Freitag, CEO of IPK International, which conducts the World Travel Monitor®.

Asian travelers head for beaches and return to Europe

Asian travelers went on more leisure trips than ever this year, especially to beach destinations. Holiday trips increased by 5 percent between January and August, thus maintaining a high 82 percent share of all Asian international trips. The number of sun & beach holidays increased very strongly by 15 percent over the first eight months, and they now account for 23 percent of all holiday trips, according to World Travel Monitor® figures. City trips continued to perform well with a very good 9 percent increase but the number of tours covering several destinations fell slightly. The average length of outbound trips by Asians was 6 nights so far, remaining at the same level as last year, while average spending increased by 2 percent.

In terms of destination regions, Europe has proven popular with Asians this year with a 7 percent increase in trips over the first eight months, according to World Travel Monitor® figures. This is a clear comeback for Destination Europe which suffered a slight drop in Asian visitor numbers last year following various security incidents. In comparison, there was only a low 2 percent increase in Asian trips to the Americas over the first eight months of this year. Most Asians, however, travel within their own region. Intra-regional trips showed a healthy 4.5 percent increase between January and August.

Good year for most Asian destinations

These trends for Asian outbound travel are also reflected in figures from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which show a 6 percent rise in international arrivals in Asia and the Pacific from January to August this year. South Asia has led growth so far this year with a strong 10 percent rise, followed by South-East Asia (+8 percent) and Oceania (+7 percent). However, North-East Asia had relatively more modest growth of 3 percent due to mixed results, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer for January-August 2017.

Dr. Martin Buck, Messe Berlin's Senior Vice President Travel & Logistics, commented: "It looks like Asian long-haul travelers are preferring Europe to the Americas this year, which is a clear sign that they have recovered confidence in visiting European destinations. At the same time, Asians want to relax on sun & beach holidays more than ever, while demand for city trips remains strong. These two trends offer good prospects for destinations around the world."

Looking ahead to 2018, another good year can be expected for Asian outbound travel, which will remain a driver of world growth. IPK International predicts a 6 percent rise in Asian outbound trips in 2018, based on its Asian Travel Confidence Index, which measures travel intentions for the next 12 months.

Alongside special evaluations from IPK International's World Travel Monitor®, ITB Berlin will publish further key data from the World Travel Monitor® as part of the 'ITB World Travel Trends Report 2017/18' in January (Last year's ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/2017). The 'ITB World Travel Trends Report' is based on the latest results and presentations at the World Travel Monitor® Forum, which is an exclusive meeting where current trends in the travel industry are discussed and predictions for tourism developments are made. The annual results of the World Travel