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Encouraging visitors to leave crowded hotspots and go in search of more enriching experiences has never been more important for destinations looking to capitalise on the rising tide of visitors from Asia’s emerging outbound markets. This is especially the case in Europe, where local residents in some of the continent’s most popular tourist hotspots have already started calling for restrictions on visitor numbers and outright bans in some neighborhoods.

While better visitor management is clearly needed in some cities, we believe that not all solutions to this dilemma have to involve clamp-downs, restrictions, bans and penalties. Just as forward-looking cities are learning to integrate the sharing economy into their tourism ecosystem (something we’ve talked a lot about recently in countries such as Portugal and Croatia), they are also finding creative ways to spread visitor spending further away from the city centre, or even to surrounding towns and villages.

This is something that we make clear in the report ‘Stepping Out of the Crowd, Where the Next Generation of Asian Travellers is Headed and How to Win a Place on their Travel Itinerary’.

This comprehensive 150-page report draws on unique consumer research carried out among Asian Millennials, as well as expert opinion, case studies from leading travel brands and data from PATA’s own forecasts on cross-border travel. It also gives practical recommendations on where to start when putting a dispersal strategy in place.

Main features of the report:

  • Unique consumer research from Millennials in 13 outbound markets across Asia on their attitudes towards trip planning, city visits and going ‘off the beaten track’.
  • Data from the PATA five year forecast to show how international arrival arrivals will affect APAC destinations in the coming years
  • Expert opinion from 14 market-leading tourism organisations, travel brands and influencers on how to set out an effective dispersal strategy.
  • Recommendations to public and private sector organisations on how to create more effective and rewarding products that encourage dispersal for Asian Millennial travellers.

How to get the report:
Full report – PATA Store (free for PATA members, US$100 for non-members)
Executive Summary (free download)
PATA press release

Video & Case Study

TOPOSOPHY makes the best of what every place has to offer

As a destination marketing and management agency whose long-term commitment is to help destinations to ‘make the best of what every place has to offer’, TOPOSOPHY is delighted to have been part of such a groundbreaking project. We believe in smart planning that understands market dynamics, combined with innovative marketing that makes use of creative technological solutions. We also know that ‘hidden gems’ are what can put your place on the map. So if you’re interested to learn more about how to make the best of what your place has to offer, just drop us an email or come and meet us at our forthcoming events. We’d be pleased to talk with you!

Click here to watch the case study video 



To build a tourism strategy that lasts and that works for all, you have to be realistic in analysing what works and what doesn’t. In the second of this ‘‘Uncovered’’ series of reports, experts at TOPOSOPHY lift the lid on tourism trends in Mexico and make an honest, frank assessment of the top priorities for government and business in the country today.

Domestic and international tourism in Mexico is continuously growing. The tourism industry growth continues to ride higher than the average national GDP growth and investment in the tourism sector is pouring into the country as the main source market, the United States, recovers from the global financial crisis.

Nevertheless image remains the main concern as incidents relating to organised crime continue to affect parts of the country and Mexican citizens have mobilized to demand more security as mid-term elections approach (Summer 2015). As this report will explain, the media often reports a distorted view of the reality of daily life in Mexico. Furthermore, Mexicans’ views of their own country can often be subject to an inferiority complex or over-influenced by current events.

Discover TOPOSOPHY’s take on the current state of Mexican Tourism in this candid report that aims to provide an external view and an independent perspective on how a tourism industry with high potential can deliver for the country in the future.

Global Travel Trends 2013/2014

Despite ambivalent global economic development, international tourism reached a new record high in 2013, according to the recently released IPK International’s World Travel Monitor® report on Global Travel Trends 2013/14 .

IPK’s World Travel Monitor® recorded a +5% increase in outbound travel to 952 million for the 2013 international travel year. The number of foreign overnight accommodations increased by 4% (7.6 billion nights) and, at 989 billion Euro, international travel spending even rose +6%.

This positive development will continue on a world-wide scale in 2014 and now also extend to numerous “advanced economies.”

Europe – still positive

On the outbound travel of the Europeans in 2013, IPK’s study showed that they took more trips in 2013 than in 2012. Altogether the number of European outbound trips rose three percent in 2013 to 432 million, following a two percent growth figure for 2012. While the number of overnight accommodations remained stable at 3.5 billion nights, travel spending for outbound trips rose by two percent to 368 billion euros.

In terms of the types of holidays the Europeans took during the past year, beach holidays were the most frequent, chalking up +4% growth. In contrast, the number of tours only rose by 1% but, conversely, stronger growth (+5%) was noted for city trips and winter holidays.


According to IPK, in regards to Europe’s most important source markets in 2013, Russia again dominated the European growth figures with an increase of 13 percent.

The German market

The Germans took 335 million domestic and outbound trips in 2013 (+2 percent), and at 1.7 billion, the number of overnight stays also came in twi percent higher.

According to IPK, there was still no change with respect to the top holiday destinations of the Germans: Austria continued to hold first place in 2013 (17 percent market share), followed by Spain(16 percent) and Italy (12 percent). Austria and Spain were able to hold onto their market shares with single-digit growth rates while Italy’s negative growth resulted in the country losing one percent market share. Other popular German outbound holiday destinations last year were Turkey (eight percent), the Netherlands (six percent), France (six percent) and Greece (three percent).

Outlook for 2014

Although the global economy seems to be heading toward recession, IPK anticipates a five percent worldwide growth in tourism for 2014.

Social media will continue to gain more and more relevance, including for the tourism sector. Nearly every second European outbound traveler is part of the social media community and 16% of them already use social media as a source of information for planning and realizing their trips.

View the full report here

Global Travel Behavior Trends 2013

Visa‘s latest Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 has revealed that global cross-border tourism is thriving and travelers intend to increase budgets for their next trip by an average of 5% – with some holidaymakers even suggesting that they would more than double what they spent on their previous trip.

Visa’s regular barometer of travel trends indicates budgets are no longer among the top three reasons behind why travelers choose their next holiday destination. The pull of attractions, scenery and rich culture are instead stronger reasons for travel.


According to the Study, which surveyed 12,631 travelers from 25 countries, the average global travel budget of US$2,390 per trip is set to increase to US$2,501. Top spenders abroad in the past were the Saudi Arabians, spending an average of US$6,666 per trip, while Australian (US$4,118) and Chinese travelers (US$3,824) were not far behind. Future travel budget increases are especially high amongst Asian markets with a predicted increase of 46 percent – travelers from Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong all plan to at least double the budget of their last trip in the future.

United States remains the top choice destination

Attractions, Scenery, and Culture were cited as the key drivers for a future trip regardless of destination. This desire to explore new horizons was evidenced by the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, which revealed that international tourist arrivals grew by four percent in 2012 to reach 1.035 billion.

Visa’s Study revealed the United States ranked as the most popular destination choice for global travelers, both for trips taken in the past two years (17 percent) and for intended travel in 2013 (10 percent).

Other top destinations in 2011 and 2012 included the United Kingdom (UK) (12 percent), France (12 percent) and China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong (all 10 percent). Looking ahead, regional travel is set to increase, especially in reflection of the growing popularity and economic strength of Asia Pacific (APAC). 31 percent of global travel is expected to be to Asia, and new APAC destinations such as Australia (four percent) and Korea (three percent) are making it on to the latest list of most preferred destinations for future travel.

Travelers also ranked Japan (five percent) and Australia (four percent) alongside the UK (five percent) as the top four intended destinations for future trips abroad.

The Rise of the Asian Giant

The increasing popularity of APAC is partially driven from within the region. Among travelers across the four global regions (APAC; the Americas; Middle East and Africa; Europe), respondents from APAC indicated strong intention (77 percent) to travel more in the future – with residents from nine of the region’s markets stating a higher intention to travel than the global average. Much of this increased travel is expected to take place within the region, where 80 percent of Asian travelers have chosen to take trips in the last two years.

APAC travelers are also spending more during their trip – those traveling within the region spent an average of US$273 per day, higher than both the global average (US$239) and any other region.

“The Asian markets have experienced a huge boom in tourism over the past few years due to the continued strength of their economies and the implementation of policies that promote cooperation and coordination in cross-border tourism. The ease of travel within the region, coupled with a rising middle class, has seen a growing demand for travel among the population and we expect this trend to continue into 2013 and beyond,” said Martin Craigs, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

Increasing Ease of Travel

An increasing ease and availability of travel options is fuelling the tourism boom. This is particularly prominent in the airline industry where 85 percent of travelers prefer to fly to their destinations despite a preference for shorter distances. Of this figure, most (71 percent) chose to fly economy class while, perhaps surprisingly, only 16 percent chose budget airlines.

A Profile of Today’s Global Traveler

The results of the study paint a picture of today’s global traveler. They are seasoned travelers, with 79 percent travelling in the past two years, taking 1-2 trips per year. 80 percent plan their holidays in advance, taking an average of 10 weeks to organize the trip. Spending time with family and friends was cited as the most popular (38 percent) reason for a holiday. These trips are more likely to be organized independently (42 percent) and will last an average of 10 nights. They choose hotels of four stars and above (39 percent) with 69 percent choosing to take a trip with family members.

More: corporate.visa.com

Accessible Tourism Development & Marketing- An Analysis

Just as VisitEngland unveiled plans for a national marketing campaign to promote accessible tourism in England next year, we talk with Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) for an analysis of the accessible tourism market.

On the English front, Visit England, the national tourist board will work with five destinations to develop exciting itineraries with top class accommodation and attractions that provide a warm welcome for all visitors including those with access needs. It will identify tourism businesses in their area that provide particularly excellent levels of service to visitors with access needs – such as those with hearing and visual impairments, wheelchair users, older and less mobile people and people with pushchairs.

Copyright Britainonview

The national tourist board will then work with the destinations and businesses to ensure that they all meet the same high standard of accessibility, focussing on key issues such as customer service and visitor information. This will incorporate a number of VisitEngland’s tools and resources, such as Access Statements and online disability awareness training.

As Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) comments, “VisitEngland has a strong track record of supporting its destinations and businesses to help them capitalise on the growing accessible tourism market. It is encouraging to see that English tourism businesses and destinations are getting a helping hand from their national tourism authority, especially as the recession is biting hard.

In the UK, the Equality Act, which has replaced the former Disability Discrimination Act, now applies generally to the provision of services, including tourism. It is important that managers can get practical advice when it comes to compliance issues surrounding access. Creating a destination that is truly accessible for all visitors requires that managers and staff can provide a warm welcome as well as taking care of a various practical issues.

Developing Accessible Tourism

Destinations can – and must – play a key role in binding together the accessibility efforts of local tourism businesses. They can help to design itineraries for customers, pointing out the various attractions, shops, food and drink outlets and accommodation that make up the “chain of accessibility” which can support them throughout their stay. Also, it is essential that public spaces, pavements and local transport meets access requirements, enabling freedom of movement at the destination for all visitors.

The example of leadership shown by VisitEngland should be followed by other National Tourist Boards (NTOs). If NTOs do not encourage their destinations to make services more accessible,  businesses will continue to under-perform as demand in this sector is inevitably going to increase in the coming years due to demographic ageing. While this market accounted for 11% of total overnight stays in England in 2009, the potential or unmet demand may be up to 25% and even higher in the coming years, as population ageing increases the proportion of elderly travellers with both minor and more severe impairments. Doing nothing to improve access will result in customers going elsewhere, to places where accessibility is an integral part of the offer.

Disabled people tend to be loyal to an accessible destination, staying longer and spending more. According to figures from Open Doors Organization (USA), American adults with disabilities or reduced mobility spend about $13.6 billion a year on travel. In Germany, the direct turnover generated by disabled travellers is estimated at €2.5 billion, and rises to €4.8 billion when including indirect effects. In Australia disabled tourists contribute up to 16% of tourism GDP and sustain up to 17% of jobs in the tourism sector, according to research studies.

These figures could rise even higher in future if the gap between the potential customer base and the actual number of travellers can be reduced. In Germany, for example, about 37% of disabled people decided not to travel in the past due to a lack of accessible facilities. Yet 48% would travel more frequently if these were available and as many as 60% would be ready to pay higher travel costs for improved accessibility.

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BRIC Visitors & Shopping – Global Competitive Survey

BRIC markets are teased by all destinations especially because they are seen as active shoppers. But is it a fact or a cliché?

New global competitive survey results report that BRIC tourists are actually shopping 30% more than average.

Based on its reference global benchmarking survey TRAVELSAT© Competitive Index, TCI Research confirms that over 25% of BRIC tourists mention shopping as main purpose of visit: it is twice as much as for other markets!

The survey also reports that more than 7  out of 10 BRIC visitors regularly shop during their stay, which is also 30% more vs average visitors.

Analyzing destinations’ brand experience however, countries and cities may need to extend shops’ opening days and hours if they wish to fully meet their expectations and emerge from competition:

Commenting on the results, TCI Research CEO Olivier Henry-Biabaud adds: “BRIC tourists are not only the fastest growing outbound markets: they also represent valuable visitors in terms of economic impact for destinations who will be able to attract them and meet their expectations better than others.

The “shopping fan” cliché usually associated to these markets is confirmed, however marketing the “BRICs” as a uniform segment is risky: each of the four markets has very specific expectations related to the shopping experience and other facets that drastically impact destinations’ competitiveness (visa and accessibility issues, safety feeling, accommodation, food, environment…).

About TCI Research 
TCI Research is a Brussels based leading independent research agency specializing in destinations’ competitiveness evaluation. It carries out the UNWTO Innovation Award Winning TRAVELSAT Index, a reference global competitive survey benchmarking countries, regions and cities’  brand experience,  helping public and private tourism decision makers increase efficiency of their policy, management and marketing by providing global and comparable demand data combining structured surveys and web social media conversations audits. 

abouTourism is the exclusive representative of TRAVELSAT© Competitive Index in Greece & SE Europe/Eastern Med Destinations. For more information you may contact us at: info@abouTourism.com or  (+30) 210 8941610.

Note: Don’t forget to Subscribe to the dedicated Blog Section of our website, to keep receiving your abouTourism Blog Post updates!

U.S. Outbound Travel Forecast & Business Travel Prospects-Market Analysis

Soon after it was officially announced that U.S. international outbound travel has increased-with U.S. travel to overseas markets reaching 20.0 million until August, up 7 % this year- a new research from GBTA Foundation, analyzing the business travel impact of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions – commonly referred to as the “fiscal cliff” –warns that if the U.S. economy falls over the “fiscal cliff,” it would have an immediate and severe impact on U.S. business travel.

The U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI) recently announced that U.S. international outbound travel was up 4% in August 2012, and up 3% for the year, with 42.2 million American travelers departing during the first eight months of 2012. U.S. travel to overseas markets reached 20.0 million, up 7 percent this year. 


More specifically from the 47% of all U.S. outbound international travel, Europe received the largest share at 19%.

At the same time, a new research from the Global Business Travel Association Foundation (GBTA) addresses a bid dilemma, showing that if the U.S. economy falls over the “fiscal cliff”, it would have an immediate and severe impact on U.S. business travel and slash some $20 billion in travel. However, failure to address deficit spending also will have negative long-term effects.

The report models the potential business travel impact of two scenarios – one in which the fiscal cliff takes effect, and one where no changes are made to current tax and spending provisions.

  • Fiscal Cliff Scenario: If the fiscal cliff occurs, the U.S. economy would enter a recession. This would lead to a total loss of $20 billion in spending on U.S. business travel over the next nine quarters – a 2.5% decline – and a reduction of 32 million business trips.

However, the elimination of tax cuts and reductions in federal spending would lead to reduced deficits and lower interest rates over the long run, resulting in business travel spending and an overall economy that grows more quickly after absorbing the shock of the fiscal cliff.

  • No Fiscal Restraint Scenario: If all provisions of the fiscal cliff are eliminated or delayed indefinitely, business travel would experience more robust trip volume and spending as a result of stimulus from lower tax rates and continued government spending. In the near term, this scenario would lead to a cumulative loss of only 300,000 business trips and a gain of $5.5 billion in total business travel spending over the next nine quarters.

However, by 2014, much of the spending growth would be attributed to higher inflation. Larger budget deficits and growing debt will begin to take a toll, and business travel spending growth would continue to slow beyond the forecast horizon.

It is worth mentioning that according to a previous report by GBTA, American business travelers were expected to take 437.9 million trips this year, down 1.2% from an estimate made in April by the travel and meetings trade group. The outlook for next year was even worse, with the trade group lowering its forecast to 435 million trips, down 1.9% from April’s estimate. At the same time – due to higher prices-  the trade group expected overall travel spending to rise 2.2%  this year to $256.5 billion, and then increase another 4.7% next year to $268.5 billion.

More info: www.gbta.org, OTTI.

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.

Know Your Markets! Summer 2012 – What Lies Ahead?

According to the Travelhorizons™ quarterly report by MMGY Global and the US Travel Association, the outlook for summer travel continues to brighten for the second consecutive year,  with more than three in five US adults (64 %), or an estimated 154 million Americans, planning on taking at least one trip for leisure purposes during the next 6 months. The percentage of Americans planning to travel between May and October is up from 61 (%) last April and 56 (%) in April 2010.

The results are based on a survey of 2,200 US adults taken in April 2012. “The April travelhorizons results come as welcome news for destinations and travel companies ahead of the summer and fall travel seasons,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO of the US Travel Association.

Business travel is expected to improve slightly in the next six months, compared to the same timeframe as last year, with 17% of US adults planning at least one business trip between May and October, a typically slow period for such travel. An encouraging sign that general business activity in the US is on the mend is that business travelers took an average of 6.3 trips in the past 12 months, the highest average number in the past 5 years.

The overall Traveler Sentiment Index™ (TSI), which tracks Americans’ evolving attitudes toward travel, reached 93.5 in April, nearly 10 points higher than April 2011 (March 2007=100). It was also significant that April’s TSI remained essentially unchanged from the level of 93.6 in February, bucking the concern and speculation that higher gasoline prices earlier in 2012 would depress travel sentiment, as it did in 2011.

An other survey, Expedia’s 2012 Flip Flop Report, examines summer vacation behavior and preferences across 5 continents.

Among other findings, Expedia’s Flip Flop Report revealed that the beach is by far the favorite destination for the majority of the world’s travelers. The average beach holiday is just about one week in length, at 7.7 days. Combined with results from Expedia’s Vacation Deprivation® study,  in the US, Americans spend a full 40% of their allotted vacation days at the beach. In fact, when Americans were asked to choose between spending time at the beach and spending time with family, the beach won handily.

Main Findings:

Despite the carefree nature of a sun-drenched week at the beach, beachgoers worldwide remain cost-conscious. In the US, the most important factor for 78% of beachgoers is the total trip price. The beach itself matters too – total vacation price and beach quality are the #1 and #2 criteria for travelers in 14 of the 21 countries surveyed – but the cost of the visit is the top consideration.

The Popularity of the Beach is Unsurpassed

More than half (52%) of respondents plan to holiday at the beach in the next 12 months, compared to 45% who said they took a beach vacation the year prior. And while the average stay for a beach vacation is 7.7 days, this is less true of Koreans, Japanese and Singaporeans, who seem more likely to prefer beach weekends to extended stays.

For Most Beachgoers, the Most Popular Activity is No Activity At All

Relaxing and sunbathing were among the top two activities for beachgoers across all five continents. The Irish, at 75%, were the most likely to relax, while Mexicans (79%) seem to be happiest with lying in the sun. Brazilians (40%) were likeliest to exercise on the beach; when doing so, they may well stumble over the Japanese, who were 14 times likelier to relax (28%) than exercise (2%).

Germans are Likeliest to Sunbathe Nude

Germans displayed the most permissive attitudes towards nude sunbathing. A full 15% of German respondents indicated that they sunbathed naked. Indians and Spaniards (8%) were the second-likeliest to shed their clothing, while the French (5% clothing-free) were more aligned with Americans (2%), the British (2%) and the Japanese (1%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Germans seem to be the most popular beachgoers: when asked if they’d spent beach days with strangers, the Germans (23%) and Brazilians (19%) were likeliest to say they had.

The Flip Flop Survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia.com from February 14 – March 21, 2012 among 8,599 adults, 18 and older, in the following countries: the United States (501), Canada (1,249), Mexico (400), Argentina (312), Brazil (308), United Kingdom (402), Germany (423), France (414), Italy (437), Spain (418), Norway (300), Sweden (300), Denmark (300), Ireland (300), Netherlands (300), Japan (429), India (438), South Korea (346), Singapore (321), Australia (400), and New Zealand (301).

Full Surveys Details: Expedia FLip Flop ReportTravelhorizons™ quarterly report