The next 10 years are set to be a “golden decade” for global travel growth, according to a recent report released by Amadeus.
The report, “Shaping the Future of Travel,” looks at macro trends driving industry growth over the next decade. It forecasts that overnight travel is set to grow by 5.4% a year over the next 10 years, outstripping global GDP, which is expected to grow by just 3.4% over the same period.
The report also states that overnight tourist flows are up 16.5% for the period 2009-2012, which is faster than the pre-recession 2004-2007 period.
Commissioned by Amadeus and written by Oxford Economics, the report echoes other industry indicators that point to a shift in major growth patterns from West to East and from the developed economies to the largely untapped potential of emerging markets.
It suggests China will surpass the US as the world’s largest outbound travel market this year and the largest domestic market by 2017. With the number of Chinese households able to travel abroad forecast to more than double by 2023, the report expects China’s share of global outbound travel to reach 20% by then, up from just 1% in 2005.
However, the report states that a number of other emerging economies are forecast to average annual growth in outbound travel spending in excess of 5% over the next 10 years, including Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia and Turkey. In addition, the Crimea crisis notwithstanding, Russian outbound travel spending is expected to double from $50 billion in 2013 to $100 billion in 2023.
In the business travel sector, expenditure is predicted to grow throughout the next decade, driven largely by Asia. The report forecasts that between now and 2023, Northeast Asia will drive 42% of future outbound business travel growth, followed by Southeast Asia (13%), Western Europe (15%), and the US (7%).
According to the report, Western short-haul business travel has not yet recovered to pre-recession levels, and doesn’t expect European business travel spend to reach pre-recession levels until 2018.
And while intercontinental premium air traffic has recovered strongly from the effects of the recession, the recovery is weaker in the intra-continental sector, with the US and Europe yet to return to pre-recession levels.
Low-cost carriers (LCCs) are capturing much of that growth, with Asian LCC journeys up 150% in the past five years. LCC traffic has also almost doubled in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America over the same period.
However, the report also stated that the cost gap between LCCs and full-service carriers (FSCs) narrowed from 3.6 to 2.5 US cents per ASK between 2006 and 2012, with FSCs “aggressively reducing costs” and unbundling their offer, the report says, while LCCs “are increasingly turning to higher value business passengers to ensure continued growth.”