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December 06, 2017

25th World Travel Monitor® Forum in Pisa: North American outbound travel grows strongly as Latin America makes good progress

Boom in North American travel to Europe – Latin Americans make more intra-regional trips – ITB Berlin exclusively publishes latest results from the World Travel Monitor®

The Americas can celebrate a good year for international travel and tourism. North Americans are travelling strongly to destinations in Europe and Latin America this year, while source markets such as Brazil are on the path to recovery. The outlook for both North America and Latin America next year is for a continuation of these positive trends. 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.

Strong growth for North American outbound travel

North Americans are travelling strongly this year, with a 7.5 percent increase in outbound trips between January and August, according to World Travel Monitor® figures. This is even higher than the expected 6 percent rise for this year, as predicted by last year’s World Travel Monitor®. Travel from North America to Europe is booming with a very strong 15 percent increase over the first eight months of this year. There is also good growth of 6 percent in trips to destinations in the Americas and moderate growth of 4 percent for Asia.

Travellers from North America are diversifying their international trips this year. The number of holidays and visits to friends and relatives are both 9 percent higher. Among different kinds of holidays, city trips are proving particularly popular with a 15% increase between January and August. This is a clear comeback for city breaks after a slight decline last year.
While touring holidays are losing market shares in other regions of the world like Asia and Europe, North Americans went on more tour holidays in the first eight months of this year, with an increase of 10 percent. But sun & beach holidays are also in demand, as a 9 percent increase shows. Overall spending per trip is 3 percent higher this year, with an average length of stay of 8 nights.

“This year’s strong growth for North American outbound travel is due to different reasons, such as good economic conditions and a strong US dollar,” explained IPK International consultant Juan Alberto García.
Looking ahead, another good year for North American outbound travel is expected in 2018. IPK’s Travel Confidence Index forecasts further growth of 4 percent next year.

Good development for Latin American outbound travel

Latin American outbound travellers went on more international trips in the first eight months of 2017. The number of outbound trips grew by 5 percent and hence even exceeded the initial forecast of 3 percent that was made at the beginning of this year, according to World Travel Monitor® figures.
There was a 6 percent rise in holidays, which comprise over 70 percent of all international trips by travellers from the region, but a 7 percent decline in visits to friends and relatives. Reasons for this development are among others the tensions with the USA, particularly when looking at the Mexican outbound travel market, which usually includes a higher share of trips for visiting friends and relatives.

Latin American travellers went on different kinds of international holidays this year. The highest growth rate within the holiday segment can be seen for holidays in the countryside, nevertheless the segment only accounts for less than 5 percent of the total holiday market. In comparison, city trips and tour holidays, which each make up around 25 percent of the total holiday market, could also register high growth rates (city trips +9 percent, touring +8 percent). In contrast, the number of international sun & beach holidays declined by 2 percent.

This good development from Latin America looks likely to be consolidated next year. IPK’s Travel Confidence Index forecasts slightly higher growth of 6 percent in Latin American outbound travel in 2018.

More international visitors for most destinations in the Americas

The World Travel Monitor® figures are supported by the latest Americas destination figures from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). These show an overall 3 percent rise in international arrivals to the region between January and August 2017.

Most destinations continued to enjoy positive results, led by South America (+7 percent) and followed by Central America and the Caribbean (both +4 percent). North America welcomed 2 percent more international visitors, with robust results in Mexico and Canada contrasting with a decrease in the United States, the region’s largest destination.

“Overall, it has been a good year for international travel in the Americas,” commented Dr. Martin Buck, Messe Berlin’s Senior Vice President Travel & Logistics. “North Americans are visiting Europe more than ever and in general are going on more tour holidays. This positive development in regards to tour holidays is a contrast to what we see from other parts of the world.”

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 (Link to last year’s ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/2017 here). 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 Monitor®, which is the largest worldwide study on global travel behavior, will be presented by IPK International at the ITB Future Day at the ITB Berlin Convention.

About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention

ITB Berlin 2018 will take place from Wednesday to Sunday, 7 to 11 March. From Wednesday to Friday ITB Berlin is open to trade visitors only. ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. In 2017 a total of 10,000 companies and organizations from 184 countries exhibited their products and services to around 169,000 visitors, who included 109,000 trade visitors. Parallel with the show the ITB Berlin Convention, the largest event of its kind, will be held from Wednesday, 7 to Saturday, 10 March 2018. Admission to the ITB Berlin Convention is free for trade visitors and exhibitors. More details are available at, and at ITB Social Media Newsroom.

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