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Asia Remains the Largest Tourism Growth Market

Trips abroad from Asia are continuing to increase. After surging by 7% in 2018,  they rose by a further 6% during the first eight months of 2019. This is in part due to international trips within Asia, which are a significant growth driver. Despite an anticipated decline in year-on-year growth, the prospects for 2020 remain good.

These are the findings of the first trend analysis of the World Travel Monitor, which were presented by IPK International at this year’s ITB Asia in Singapore. The report was commissioned by ITB Berlin. The World Travel Monitor is based on the results of representative interviews with more than 500,000 people in more than 60 global travel markets. It has been compiled for more than 20 years.

Growth in Asia’s Outbound Travel Market Exceeds Global Average

According to the report, between January and August 2019, outbound travel from Asia rose by 6%, once again making Asia the biggest growth driver in the international tourism market.

“Growth in Asia’s foreign travel market continues to exceed the global average, which during the first eight months of the year was only 4%,“ said Julia Mühlberger, marketing consultant, IPK International, at ITB Asia 2019.

A closer look at the latest figures shows a further upward trend in trips to destinations within Asia. During the first eight months of 2019, for the first time foreign trips within Asia accounted for nearly 80% of the market. During the same period, European countries registered a slight increase in travelers from Asia. At 15%, they occupied a sound share of the market. In contrast, America’s popularity with Asian travelers fell for the third year running. The country now accounts for only 8% of the market.

Per trip, Asian travelers spend considerably more than other nationalities, despite shorter stays. Asians stayed for an average of 5.9 nights on outbound trips. This was a slight increase over last year’s figure (5.6 overnights). However, the figure was much lower than the global average (eight nights).

City Breaks are Booming. Round Trips have Recovered Slightly. 

Among Asians, city breaks remain by far the most popular form of outbound travel. They recorded the highest increase, as in the year before, and between January and August 2019 grew by a further 9%, occupying 35% of the market. Following a downturn last year, round trips recovered. Asia’s second largest holiday market grew slightly by 3% and accounted a market share of 24%. Beach holidays continued the previous year’s upward trend, rising by 6% and occupying 21% of the market.

Rising MICE Segment

Asia’s growing economy is having a positive impact on the business travel market. From January to August 2019, 17% of Asians traveling abroad were on business/MICE trips, which compared to the previous year was an above-average increase of 8%. The MICE segment, with incentive travel and trips to trade fairs, was largely responsible for this growth, whereas traditional business trips were in decline.

Travel Agencies Continue to Play an Important Role

While Asians continue to rely heavily on the internet for information and bookings, nearly 50% of Asian travelers still attach great importance to the personal advice offered by travel agencies. Furthermore, they make much greater use of this individual service than the global average. The World Travel Monitor shows that during the first eight months of 2019 85% of Asian outbound travelers booked over the internet, but also 40% booked at travel agencies.

Slower Growth Expected in 2020

According to IPK International, in 2020, outbound travels by Asians will grow by 5%, outpacing the forecasted global trend. Against the backdrop of global economic developments, the experts anticipate slightly lower growth rates for next year. These forecasts are based on the findings of the World Travel Confidence Index of IPK International, which, as part of World Travel Monitor, polls people’s travel intentions for the next 12 months.