Travel and exploring the world is one of the most exciting things a person can do. It’s also a vital part of the global economy.
International travel has increased over the past 40 years thanks to government travel policy changes, lower travel costs and increased wealth. What was once an activity enjoyed by the rich is now enjoyed by a much broader group of people.
In 2015, tourism contributed 7.2 trillion to the global economy, according to World Travel and Tourism Council reports. That’s nearly 9.8% of the world’s gross domestic product.
Annually, more than 900 million people travel abroad.
The following companies are innovators in the tourism field because they offer ways for travelers on a budget to book the vacation of their dreams.
Offering tours to China’s growing middle class.
Has tours specially designed for travelers 18 to 35 years old.
Negotiates wholesale prices for hotels, airlines and other rates.
1. Wild China
“We empower you to discover the China that lives amid the aromatic sizzle of street-side woks, in bustling city markets and far-flung mountain villages, and most of all, in the hearts of the people you will meet along the way.” – Wild China
Wild China has won several awards including the 2014 50 Travel Tours of a Lifetime by National Geographic. It offers private travel, small-group events, field trips and corporate events to international travelers and China’s growing middle class, now 66% of the population, according to Fast Company which named Wild China one of the 10 most innovative travel companies in the world. Tours are conducted in China, Bhutan, Laos and Myanmar.
Wild China’s goal is to offer tourists a different view of China, especially rural China, and flexible itineraries. It is headquartered in Beijing.
The tourism market in China is forecasted to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2023 from $500 billion in 2013, according to Fast Company. By 2025, China will overtake the United States as the nation with the largest investment in tourism, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council reports Ski Resort Management. This investment will total $278.7 billion.
In 2020, China is forecasted to have 137 million inbound tourists, accounting for a 8.6% global share, and 100 million outbound Chinese travelers, accounting for 6.2% of outbound tourists, reports Travel China Guide.
Travel spending in China is estimated to reach $939 billion in 2020.
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“Empowering young Americans to explore the world.” – Contiki
Founded in 1962 and headquartered in Anaheim, California, Contiki caters to the 18- to 35-year-old demographic. It offers group tours to individuals from around the globe to 270 locations. Half of all of Contiki’s travelers travel alone.
Tour prices include hotels, restaurant reservations and tourist attractions.
Contiki says it offers unbeatable prices, a number of choices, experience, “me” time and only offers trips to the 18-35 demographic.
Company revenue is $19 million annually, according to Owler.
In 2015, international tourism grew 3.6%, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. This travel was valued at $1.4 trillion including accommodations, travel, food, entertainment and shopping.
“Tourism is today a major category of international trade services,” UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai said, “Despite a slow and weak economic recovery, spending on international tourism grew significantly in 2015, proving the sector’s relevance in stimulating economic growth, boosting exports and creating jobs for an increasing number of economies worldwide.”
Tourism will continue to grow, according to UNWTO reports Phillip Island and San Remo, reaching 43 million international arrivals until 2030, a 3.3% annual increase. The area forecasted to see the largest increase is Asia-Pacific, growing 8% and expected to have half a billion visitors by 2030.
Millennials are rich on time, but poor in funds. However, they tend to take longer vacations, which means they spend an average of two-thirds more than other travelers, according to Trekk Soft. In addition, Millennials prefer to pay for experiences, not objects.
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3. Friendly Planet
“Enjoy the comfort of great hotels, the convenience of included airfare, plus many extras you won’t find elsewhere. All delivered with the same warm, caring personal attention we’ve offered for 35 years. It’s what we do for our friends…because we look forward to seeing them again.” – Friendly Planet
Friendly Planet offers travel packages to groups, individuals, custom groups and luxury tours on six continents. The company negotiates wholesale prices for accommodations, travel and other fees. Founded in 1981 as Great Touring Adventures, Friendly Planet is headquartered in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, but has customers around the world.
In addition to travel, Friendly Planet also participates in philanthropic projects that assist the needy in Africa and Southern Asia.
In 2015, 50 million more tourists traveled internationally than did the previous year, according to the Center for Responsible Travel. Leisure travel accounts for 77% of all travel. Developing nations are seeing the highest rate of tourists, growing 4.4% annually compared to 2.2% annually for the developed world.
Environmentally responsible travel has grown in popularity. In 2015, 66% of travelers were willing to pay more for a travel experience that was environmentally friendly.
Other travel trends, according to World Travel Market, include cycling tours replacing golf tours among middle-aged men, hostels offering hotel features such as Wi-Fi and free breakfasts, cooking classes and restaurant tours, the Middle East attracting Westerners, surfing off the African coast, and rail travel across India.
Despite tourist attacks in 2015, a survey by TripAdvisor found that 90% of U.S. travelers had no intention to change their travel plans in 2016, reports USA Today. The top destinations for 2016 are Botswana, Japan, Cuba, Myanmar, Iceland and Columbia.
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