middle class

Boom in International Travel expected over next decade: Study

by Ray Clancy on July 27, 2016

More than 280-million households around the world plan on making at least one international trip each year by 2025, according to new research by Visa in conjunction with Oxford Economics.

The 35 per cent increase year over year is attributed to a greater number of people having the money to travel. The rise of middle class families has created new demand from countries where travelling was previously only a privilege of the wealthy.

great-wall-of-chinaThe study labels these new consumers as the ‘travelling class’ because travelling to other countries is now regarded as a lifestyle necessity.

The report also says that advances in technology and heightened competition in the global tourism marketplace are making international travel more affordable in a greater number of markets.

China tops the list of the 10 countries spending the most on outbound travel and also shows the highest increase in total projected spending over the next decade. In 2015, Chinese travellers purchased $137-billion worth of travel – a number that is expected to climb to $255-billion by 2025. Coming in second is the United States, followed by Germany, the U.K., Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Brazil and South Korea.

‘As households rise into the middle class, there’s also an uptake of new technology that’s fuelling an uptake into new services, which makes it easier than ever before for people to see the world’s travel icons,’ says Richard Lung, an economist and senior director with Visa International.

‘One thing we’re finding that’s interesting, households are not only traveling more, they’re spending more, too.’

The report says that the democratisation of travel will lead to a profound increase in global tourism spending. As a result, Visa estimates that households traveling abroad will each spend more than $5,300 a year by 2025 while outside their home country. The estimate takes food and hotel expenditures into account, but not any purchases made prior to leaving (such as airline tickets.)

The report also suggests that the face of the travelling public will change. Over the last 50 years, the prime travelling population has been individuals between 25 and 65 years of age. The number of travellers within this age group is expected to remain flat over the next decade and begin to decline in 2025.

However, the number of travellers over 65 is expected to grow in the next 10 years. This age group currently takes about half as many international vacations as the average-aged traveller. By 2025, seniors are expected to account for 13% of all international travel. These travellers’ have varying needs and preferences, but most simply want to explore the world as much as possible, especially if they are in relatively good health.

Others may be seeking out medical tourism – a travel category that is primed for accelerated growth as more seniors seek out new treatments for existing health issues. Some of these treatments may not be available in their own country, or they may be more expensive at home.

Only a few years ago, medical tourism was a blip in overall global tourism spending but is now a a multi-billion dollar industry that is expected to increase as much as 25 per cent each year over the next decade. The United States is the single largest hub for medical tourism, followed closely by Thailand, Singapore, Germany, Korea and Spain.

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