Travel Trends- Measuring Olympics’ Impact

A new research report just released by ForwardKeys in cooperation with Amadeus, unveil a range of travel data trends, based on actual global air reservations, which details the impact of the London 2012 Olympics.

With approximately 50 days to go before the Games, the findings provide a country-by-country view of where visitors to London during the Olympics period are coming from. The data shows that booking figures for the Olympics period, made by May 12, 2012, are 13% higher than in 2011.

Key trends from the research include:

Top source countries include U.S. and Germany, with arrivals from BRICS increasing by 40%

The U.S. is the single biggest source nation for traffic to the Olympics, accounting for 19% of total expected arrivals – a 12% increase over 2011. Germany is the second largest source market, responsible for 8% of total expected arrivals. Interestingly, BRICS nations (Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa) are emerging as important source nations for long-haul travel to London during the Olympics period: BRICS countries are seeing a 40% increase in bookings compared with 2011, representing a 9% share of total arrivals.

Europe and North America driving traffic to London, but Asia takes gold for biggest growth

Europe is the source region for the greatest proportion of arrivals to London during the period of the Games, accounting for 46% of total expected arrivals, and North America is second with a 23% share; this represents an increase of 18% and 10% over the same period in 2011 for Europe and North America respectively. The third biggest market, Asia, the source region for 9% of arrivals, has seen a significant increase of 27% over 2011 bookings.

New York is most popular source city for travel to London in the U.S.

The 12% increase in expected traffic from the U.S. to London during the Olympics period is being fuelled by traffic from the nation’s largest cities: New York City, in particular, is seeing a dramatic 48% increase in bookings to London for this period compared with 2011. San Francisco is also seeing a remarkable growth, up 29% from 2011, with Chicago and Washington also registering increases of 13% and 18%, respectively. Remarkably, one large U.S. source city – Los Angeles – is seeing a decrease in traffic to London during the period July 23 to August 12, 2012, at -3% compared to 2011.

London’s ‘aggregated traveler index’ up 7%

From the Opening Ceremony onwards, throughout the duration of the Olympic Games, London will experience a high level of occupancy (i.e. number of visitors staying in London), with numbers 7% higher than last year for the period between the Opening and Closing ceremonies. The greatest increase in occupancy compared with 2011 is between August 4 and 8, 2012.

Londoners defer outbound trips until post-Olympics period

It seems that Londoners intend to remain in the city and enjoy the spectacle during the Olympics period: departures to any destination from London for the period before the Opening Ceremony are 5% below 2011 levels. Across the whole summer (from July 2 to September 2, 2012), 2% fewer Londoners will leave the city than in 2011. However, it seems that Londoners aren’t forgoing a holiday altogether, simply deferring it, as three weeks after the Closing Ceremony, departures will increase to 10% more than in the same period in 2011.

Note: The study is based on air reservations processed through online and off-line Travel Agencies worldwide that use any one of the 4 leading reservation systems (GDS), as aggregated within ForwardKeys.com database. Data analysis concluded on 12/05/2012, meaning any air reservations made after this date are excluded from this analysis.

Find the Full Report Here.

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