Despite a weak economic recovery, the U.S. is expected to continue to experience growth in domestic and international demand for travel, the newly released WTM (World Travel Mart) Global Trends Report (GTR) 2012 says. The report is produced in association with Euromonitor International and highlights the emerging trends in the global travel and tourism industry.
Stable demand, combined with weak supply, will likely lead to a more favorable pricing environment for the hotel and airline industries in the U.S., the GTR says. “It is a different story for the rest of the Americas, unscathed by the global recession, which will see demand and supply expand thanks to more positive economic conditions.”
Among the GTR’s conclusion for the Americas:
Americas - The attraction of forbidden lands:
• Since 2010, previously off-limits countries became open to American tourists, hoping to benefit economically from the additional source of tourism revenue.
• In January 2010, North Korea eased travel restrictions on Americans, allowing visits to the secretive nation at any time of the year and for longer than five days.
• August-September are popular months due to the Arirang Mass Performance, recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest gymnastics and artistic performance.
Paving the way for new endeavors:
• In 2010, Libya began issuing visas again for Americans, but the political instability and outbreaks of violence following the revolution led to fewer travelers than before.
• In January 2011, President Obama relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba, allowing Americans to visit the country for religious, academic and other non-governmental travel.
• Restored diplomatic relations with Myanmar in 2012 are likely to boost American arrivals.
• Euromonitor International predicts American arrivals to Myanmar will increase by 71 percent to reach 24,400 in 2016, with many visitors following responsible tourism guidelines.
Americas - New borders for Americans:
• With travelers seeking authentic and unique experiences, countries traditionally closed to US visitors are likely to see more American holidaymakers.
• Baby Boomers are expected to lead the way, given their time, resources and preference for more active and off the beaten track holidays.
• Tour operators and travel agencies, with sufficient resources and tolerance for risk, will likely create packages and itineraries catering to the growing demand for these destinations.
• Due to difficult entry requirements and unfamiliarity with the destinations, countries such as North Korea, Libya, Myanmar and Cuba could provide great opportunities for group travel.
• Insight Cuba and Collette Vacations were able to obtain licenses to offer tours to Cuba and industry sources estimate that around 400 to 500 Americans travel to North Korea annually.
Bumpy ride ahead:
• However, a great risk remains as rules surrounding American travel to those nations can change quickly and political instability or violence can deter travelers.
• In particular, the rules of American travel to Cuba can vary, depending on policy.
On a global basis the key finding include:
UK: Tingo Rips up the Rule Book. Tingo, owned by TripAdvisor, takes advantage of cancellation and refund policies to offer customers the best hotel rates.
Travel Technology: The Power of Smart TVs. Smart TVs are on the verge of taking off, integrating TV, Smart TVs internet and social media with opportunities for travel brands.
Americas: The Attraction of Forbidden Lands. Previously off-limits countries welcoming increasing numbers of American visitors as travel restrictions ease.
Europe: BRICs' Grand Shopping Tour. Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC nations) turn to shopping tourism in major European cities to purchase luxury goods.
Middle East: Rise of Shopping Hotels. Following the popularity of shopping in the Middle East, hotels are locating within or next to shopping malls.
Global Village: Digital Detox. As consumers become increasingly addicted to their devices, hotels are offering detox holidays to help them de-stress.
Africa: Destination Nollywood. Nigeria’s film industry is the world’s second largest and attracts intra-regional visitors, drawn to its film locations and culture.
Asia: Car Brands Take on Hotels. Luxury car brands are leveraging the popularity of luxury brands across Asia and making inroads in the hotel sector.
India: Gold Rush on Low Cost. Indians’ love of gold helps drive outbound travel to the Middle East to visit the gold souks, taking advantage of low-cost fares.
The report was released November 5, the opening of the World Travel Mart in London Copies of the 55 page report can be requested online.