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Global Tourism Industry Analysis

The global travel and toursim industry and more particularly the tourism sector continue to thrive. The industry is showing signs of recovery following the last economic recession, which saw falling demand for tourism activity as consumers postponed trips to concentrate their household budgets on the essential areas.

As disposable incomes rise and a social trend towards traveling and exploring new destinations grows, the different segments of the global tourism industry, including the cultural attraction segment, are attracting greater numbers of consumers eager to travel and experience life in other countries or just optimize time off work to unwind by taking holidays.

Key Regional Markets

The US tourism industry has suffered due to the economic crisis. According to the US Travel Association, if the overseas travel industry were to climb to previous heights, it could create employment for close to 1.5 million people by 2020, adding almost $860 billion worth of cumulative economic output.

The passenger transportation sector never felt the recession as people always need to travel.

The EU receives more than 475 million international arrivals each year, and had a 50% share in the global tourism industry, reports UNWTO. The region totals more than $388 million from international tourism receipts which benefit the drinking location market (bars & pub). France, Italy, Germany, and Spain are among the countries with the majority of arrivals. The EU’s long-haul markets are expected to see a change from North and South America, which currently represent over 55% of trips from overseas, to trips from developing markets.  

Factors fuelling the Chinese market expansion include government initiatives, liberalization, and rising affluence. Improving technical infrastructure is boosting online tourism, with e-commerce and internet paving the way for this market segment. Tourism in China has been bolstered by events such as the Asian Games, the Shanghai Expo and the Olympic Games in 2008. State investments of $1.2 trillion will help improve China’s transportation infrastructure, further supporting the country’s tourism industry.

India’s tourism industry overlaps with and contributes to related industries such as civil aviation, transport, and hospitality, notes RNCOS. Domestic tourism is strong, and leisure and pilgrim tourism are both leading sectors. Rising income is fuelling outbound travel, with Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand as popular destinations. The industry is fragmented and intensely competitive, though not very organized.

Market Outlook

As consumers become increasingly informed about social and environmental factors, the tourism industry will need to focus on combining luxury and conscientious concerns to offer high-end comfort with sustainable and ethical tourism practices, especially in the hospitality sector.

Leading Industry Associations


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