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Global Tourism and Leisure Industry

International tourist arrivals were estimated to rise around 5% in 2011, according to the World Tourism Organization. Over recent years, the economic recession slowed the industry worldwide as consumers put off holidays due to falling disposable income. Companies operating in the tourism and leisure sector face other challenges as well, such as rising oil prices pushing up air travel costs. Consumers are also more environmentally conscious today, cutting down on flights to reduce their carbon footprint. Other modes of transport – like rail, road and sea –pose less of an obstacle for eco-friendly travelers.

The tourism industry is particularly healthy in many islands and countries with warm climates, which helps boost the gross domestic product of certain regions. Manmade and natural tourist attractions are increasingly in demand as income levels rise, allowing consumers to choose from a greater array of holiday choices. Similarly, populations living in urbanized areas and working in office environments are devoting larger portions of their disposable income to free-time activities. 

Regional Markets

The US hotels and motels market generated almost $136 billion in 2010, reports MarketLine. The industry expanded at a yearly rate of 1.5% for the four-year period ending 2010. Leisure led the industry, generating over $101 billion, representing almost three quarters of the overall market. US hotels and motels market growth is predicted to reach almost 7% between 2010 and 2015 to hit nearly $188 billion.

France’s travel and tourism market is recovering well after the negative impact of the economic recession. Airline activity in France is expected to record almost 5% yearly growth between 2009 and 2014 to exceed $13 billion, reports MarketLine. France’s hotels and motels market generated over $36 billion in 2010. The market is expected to record over 4.5% growth between 2010 and 2015 to reach almost $46 billion, reports MarketLine.

The Chinese tourism industry is recording strong growth as both domestic and overseas demand is fuelled by government policies, a growing economy and higher purchasing power. RNCOS stresses the role of the inbound travel market in China, which has expanded to encompass domestic and outbound travel. State measures to encourage tourism include less-strict VISA parameters and granting Approved Destination Status. Online tourism continues to rise, with medical tourism also recording strong growth. Trends also show that wine & rural tourism and the MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Convention, and Exhibitions) market are all proving popular in China. BRIC Data notes China is the third most popular tourist destination in the world, after the US and France. The industry is expected to record more than 9% yearly growth through 2015.

According to Research in China, between the first and second fiscal quarters of 2011 almost 535 hotels were opened in China, a near 7% increase in hotels, adding over 630,000 guest rooms to the market, an 8% increase in one quarter. Budget hotels in China include Motel 168, 7Days Inn, Shindom Inn, Green Tree Inn Chain, Ibis Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, Orange Hotel, Hotel Home, Vienna Hotel, Huatian Inn, Super 8 Hotel, Grace Inn and Holiday Star Hotel.

The UK’s tourism industry, which employs over 1.3 million people, has an estimated value of $133 billion, according to a joint report from VisitBritain. The 2012 Olympics is expected to fuel the industry and boost employment within the industry.

RNCOS forecasts that India will record strong growth in tourist arrivals over the coming years, fuelled by 8% yearly growth between 2010 and 2014 in the numbers of overseas tourists arriving in the country. Market expansion will be bolstered by state initiatives.

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