This is a guest article from David Axiotis, the General Manager of ITB China.
The importance of brand
Over the last 51 years, we have built up ITB as a strong brand. With ITB Asia we have managed to create a major export success. Since 2008 it has continued to expand both in format and size and has now established itself as the leading B2B show for the Asian travel market. As it is showing impressive gains we intend to introduce this strong and successful brand to the Chinese market.
ITB China represents a wide range of the value-added chain of the travel industry and will give the full picture of the Chinese travel trade industry. The event aims to bring the high-quality exhibitors and programming that we’re known for with ITB Berlin to the Chinese market.
Our reputation has been built on a strong focus on content. We believe that knowledge and the permanent identification of trends are the key to sustainable success for all market participants. We’re a leader when it comes to innovation and information about happenings in travel, and now this extends to the Chinese marketplace. Experts set forth their visions for the travel industry’s future during the conference, illustrate current examples of best practices and discuss the challenges now facing us.
Travel crescendos in Asia
Asians travelled more than ever so far last year, with a surge in trips to destinations within the region and including many more beach holidays. After a double-digit rise in international trips 2016, the outlook remains strong for this year. These results were shared at the 24th World Travel Monitor® Forum in Pisa, Italy, showing how dynamic the region is:
Outbound travel by Asians grew by 11 percent in the first eight months of 2016. There was a 14 percent rise in trips to destinations within Asia and an 11 percent jump in travel to the Americas. But: trips to Europe dropped by one percent between January and August 2016.
Once again, China was the driving force for growth with an 18 percent rise in outbound trips (excluding to Hong Kong and Macao). But the Republic of Korea also performed very well this year with an 11 percent rise in international travel, according to World Travel Monitor® figures.
Holidays, which account for an overwhelming 81 percent of all trips by Asians, increased by 11 percent over the first eight months of 2016. There was a healthy seven percent increase in international business trips, as well as a twelve percent rise in the number of leisure visits to family and friends abroad.
Holidays account for 81 percent of all trips by Asians — up 11% in first 8 months of 2016. @ITBChinaShare
Growth extends across trip types
Last year’s boom in Asian outbound travel, especially by the Chinese, is remarkable. Moreover, we can observe an important long-term trend. Asians are starting to go on fewer sightseeing trips taking in several countries. Instead, many of them are relaxing on sun and beach holidays. Yes, they are gradually becoming ‘typical holidaymakers’ like in Western countries.
This shift is reflected in the growth across trip types. Asians are clearly going on more sun and beach holidays, which grew by 20 percent between January and August 2016 (World Travel Monitor®).
There was also good growth for countryside trips, which were up 15 percent, and city trips, which were up eight percent. Despite this growth, the number of touring holidays increased by only two percent. This means that the average length of stay fell slightly to around six nights and average spending per trip (in euros) dropped by two percent. With fewer countries in a given trip, the holidays can be a bit less expensive and lengthy.
World Travel Monitor: 20% growth in sun/beach holidays by Asian travelers betw. Jan and Aug 2016Share
These trends are also reflected in figures from the World Tourism Organization, which show strong growth for many destinations in Asia and the Pacific this year. The region is leading worldwide inbound growth, with international tourist arrivals up nine percent through September, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. This was well ahead of the six percent growth achieved in 2015.
Growth shares across sub-regions
All four sub-regions shared in this growth, led by Oceania (up ten percent), and followed closely by North-East Asia, South-East Asia (both up nine percent) and South Asia (up eight percent). Many destinations reported double-digit growth, with Vietnam leading the pack with a 36 percent jump. The Republic of Korea came in a close second, seeing 34 percent growth, followed by Japan (24 percent and Sri Lanka (15 percent).
Amidst this very positive background, the outlook for Asian outbound travel remains good. IPK International predicts a six percent rise in Asian outbound trips in 2017, a figure based on its Asian Travel Confidence Index which measures travel intentions for the next year. The growth story appears poised to continue to be written across Asia for the rest of this year — and into next.
This was a guest article from David Axiotis, the General Manager of ITB China.