Coping With Success: Managing Overcrowding In Tourism Destinations, a report published by the World Travel & Tourism Council in December 2017, identified four major drivers of the increase in global tourism:
1. Affluence — The middle class is growing in many countries — notably India and China — meaning that more people have money to travel. Visa projected that India and China will create more than 900 million new members of the global middle and upper classes between 2015 and 2025, and that by 2025, more than 280 million households will be traveling internationally each year.
2. Demographic shifts — The millennial generation travels significantly more than other generations, the report noted: 72 percent of U.S. millennials plan to take more trips next year, compared with 59 percent of Gen Xers and 40 percent of Baby Boomers. And, with rising life expectancies, more people will be able to travel for more years. Visa projected that the number of trips made by travelers aged 65 and up will double from 2015 to 2025, to 180 million.
3. Convenience — Nearly two-thirds of leisure travelers use online resources for travel research and bookings, and online supply is growing — think Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms. Travel also has become more affordable. In the U.S., domestic airfares fell 44 percent (in inflation-adjusted terms) from 1980 to 2016. The global number of annual air passenger trips is projected to grow 3.7 percent per year through 2035.
4. Awareness — Sources, including sites that review and rate, social media, and destination rankings, are “creating and reinforcing interest in travel, particularly to top destinations and the most popular sites,” the report said. An analysis of online reviews shows that the majority are clustered around a destination’s best-known attractions. The awareness that some destinations, like the Great Barrier Reef, are endangered also motivates some people to visit before it’s too late.
This story is part of Convene’s CMP Series, which enables readers to earn one hour of CE credit toward CMP certification from the Events Industry Council. Find the main story, “Crowd Control,” and other required reading; for access to additional CMP Series stories, go to the CMP Series page.