According to an industry report by the World Travel Market (WTM) conducted for Euromonitor International, based on a poll of senior industry executives, new and emerging global markets provide the tourism industry with its greatest opportunities – particularly for short-haul destinations. The report shows that the industry is switching focus from the developed markets of the UK, Europe and the US to the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.1
India: The Indian travel market is expected to be $17.6 billion in 2010 (compared to $15.8 billion in 2009), with leisure travel contributing $4 billion. With easing of visa rules and processing, many Indians are taking advantage of short-haul ‘break’ vacations to Africa and the Middle East.2
Taiwan: Taiwanese outbound visits are expected to top 9 million for the first time this year, up from 8.14 million last year. Japan (assisted greatly by a new direct flight between Taipei and Tokyo), China and Thailand are the most popular destinations.3
China: Predictions are that 54 million Chinese will travel overseas in 2010 and spend an additional $4.3 billion US. China’s outbound travellers are also predicted to top 100 million by 2015. The Head of China’s National Tourism Administration (NTA), quoting a report by the Chinese Tourism Agency, says that Chinese tourists spent $43.7 billion US overseas in 2009.4
Russia: Over 6 million Russians went on overseas packaged holidays last year.5 The head of Russia’s Federal Agency confirms that Russian outbound travel is growing quickly, citing preliminary data showing an increase of 30-40% in 2010. Thomas Cook has concluded a joint venture deal with Intourist, giving it unprecedented access to the Soviet travel market. Cook expects this market to grow by a double-digit percentage in the coming years.6
CANADA – LOOKING GOOD, BUT STILL NEEDS WORK
A recent study by the Canadian-based National Travel and Tourism Coalition, notes that although Canada ranked 8th in the world for the number of tourists it drew, in 2009 it had slipped to 15th place.7
A recent study by Future Brand (in partnership with the BBC) showed that the potential of Canada’s prospects to grow the $71.5 billion tourists are spending in Canada may be brightening. Canada climbed to top spot in Future Brand’s 2010 Country Brand Index, displacing the USA, largely because of the increased awareness brought by the 2010 Olympics and the lack of afterglow from the ‘Obama effect’ in the US. However, Canada has much to do to keep its lofty perch: in the Future Brand analysis,Canada scores well in every category of measurement, but it fails to achieve the highest rank in any category8 – suggesting that there is still much to do to stimulate increased economic benefit from tourism. The Coalition has some suggestions – improve our cost competitiveness and infrastructure, facilitate border crossing, increase the labour supply and increase access to marketing resources.
GOOGLE MAPS – TAKING ‘HOT TOURIST SPOTS’ LITERALLY
Google can produce a ‘heat map’ of the world, graphically showing the places in the world that are, well, hot. Using a dynamic tool called Panoramio, the map shows the most-visited places in the world as yellow (high activity), red (medium activity) and blue (low). Access the link on the website edition of this email.
DEPRIVATION VACATIONS – COULD THIS REALLY BE A NEW TREND?
The World Travel Market Report mentioned above, also determined that “deprivation’ vacations, involving boot-camp style resorts or extreme trekking are trends to watch in the post-recession global tourism industry, particularly in the US (so presumably Canada as well).9 Personally, anything with the word ‘deprivation’ in it just doesn’t work for me as a leisure option.
Some interesting products and services are surfacing on the market as a result of another weird trend – concern about bed bugs in travel accommodations. A company in New York uses dogs to sniff out the pesky critters for extermination. Bed, Bath and Beyond is promoting a Bedbug Pillow Protector that can be zipped over hotel pillows. Comes with a lifetime warranty – probably voided if you forget it on the pillow when you check out…
CANADIAN MARKET – CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IS BACK ON THE UPSWING
The Canadian dollar continues to be strong and Canadian employment (up 1.9% over November 2009) is holding steady, but there was a ‘notable decline’ in youths in the labour market10, which could be a sign of young people opting out to return to school to wait out the effects of the recession.
Canadian consumer confidence rebounded in October and November, rising 3.9 points in November (Canadian Conference Board).11 The Business confidence outlook has also improved over the time since the last report, with CFIB reporting a modest level of optimism among small to medium-sized businesses – pointing to a strengthening optimism for future growth12.
Canadians are still taking advantage of great travel bargains and the power of the Canadian dollar to travel to international destinations. In September, re-entry into Canada from the States by Canadian residents increased by 7.3% and from other countries by 11.5%, with an overall increase of 8.4%. Year to date (to September), over 22.5 million Canadians re-entered Canada after travelling abroad – an increase of 9% over last year.13
US MARKET – SPENDING MORE ON US TRAVEL
According to the US Government, US tourists spent considerably more money travelling within the US between January and October of 2010 than they did in non-US destinations – creating a trade surplus of more than $25 million – exceeding 2009’s surplus in the same time period by 45%. Outbound travel increased from June 2009 to June 2010 by 4.5%14
After a dip in September, US consumer confidence improved in October and November. Other indicators monitored by the US Conference Board (using its Leading Economic Index) the show that economic recovery, albeit slow, continues.15
Within the US, retail and food service sales have shown an increase by 6.5% in the 11 months of 2010, over the same 11 months of 2009. Sales are lead by gasoline stations, followed by non-store retailers (including on-line) and auto sales.16 Reporting on Black Friday (November 28) – one of the US’ premiere shopping days – ShopperTrak shows sales are flat over last year’s sales, although foot traffic is up. This discrepancy may be explained by the deep discounts offered by retailers, in addition to a growing trend of getting the jump on BF by offering discounts earlier in the month.17
Canada saw a modest uptick in US visitation in September (1.2%), which confirms that Americans are still travelling internationally and that Canada is still on their radar.18 The US Office of Travel and Tourism shows that, from January to June, the favourite destinations for US travellers (leisure and business) are Oceania, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.19
CANADIAN CULTURAL CAPITALS
Cultural tourists looking for a great experience can head to the three Canadian cities that have won the designation of cultural capital from Canadian Heritage: Vancouver (British Columbia), Lévis (Quebec) and Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island). All three are launching cultural festivals and projects in 2011, designed to bolster the arts and heritage in their regions.
WORD OF MOUTH
“Don’t touch my junk…” A phrase that has received a fair amount of news play in the last month, resulting from a November 13 incident in the San Diego airport in which a local man, John Tyner, refused to undertake a full body scan and subsequently, in a pat-down body search, threatened to have them arrested if they did a groin check. After cancelling his flight and being escorted out of the security area, Tyner, who had recorded the entire incident on his cell phone, wrote about it on his blog. It has since gone viral – by that evening 70,000 people had accessed the entry. “Only 5% say I’m an idiot,” said Tyner, who also stated “I don’t understand how sexual assault can be made a condition of flying.”20
“Still, from Mexico’s perspective, the visas were a slap in the face from a NAFTA partner and a supposedly friendly country. (“Gringo light,” one wag called Canada.) It didn’t help much for Canadians to explain that the fault lay within themselves.” Jeffrey Simpson, from his article in the Globe & Mail “Mexico-Canada relations are frosty, but it’s not quite adios amigo”, November 13. Simpson notes that, despite efforts to beef up staffing at Canadian embassies and speed up visa processing, numbers of Mexicans visiting Canada has plummeted since the visa requirement was introduced.
- “Future in emerging markets: WTM report, November 10,2010, Travel Blackboard (Australia). [↩]
- “Indians meticulous with their travel planning”, The Times of India, November 29, 2010 [↩]
- “Travel fair ends with slight rise in visitors”, Focus Taiwan News Channel, November 8, 2010. [↩]
- “China‟s tourist arrivals in U.S. to top 2 million by 2015: official”, English.news.cn, October 10, 2010 [↩]
- BBC News, “Thomas Cook joint venture deal with Russia‟s Intourist”, November 25, 2010 [↩]
- Ilya Pitalev, “Russia’s tourism industry lacks ‘smile’ – senior official”. RiaNovosti, November 12, 2010 [↩]
- “Looking to 2010: the Future of Travel and Tourism in Canada”, National Travel and Tourism Coalition, October 2010, page 12 [↩]
- Future Brand, 2010 Country Brand Index”, released November 2010. [↩]
- Wardell, Jane, “Travel: „Deprivation‟ vacations among trends in tourism industry, Associated Press (viaThe Record.com), November 25, 2010 [↩]
- Statistics Canada, “Latest release from the Labour Force Survey”, December 3, 2010 [↩]
- Canadian Conference Board, Index of Consumer Confidence Document Highlights, November 2010 [↩]
- Ted Mallet, CFIB Vice-President and Chief Economist, “Business Barometer: Monthly Results of November 2010 SME Business Outlook Survey” [↩]
- Statistics Canada, “International Travel: Advance Information”, Service Bulletin, August 2010 [↩]
- US ITA, “U.S. Citizen Air Traffic to Overseas Regions, Canada & Mexico”, accessed online October 17, 2010 [↩]
- Confidence Board (US), “The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. Increases Again”, Press Release, November 18, 2010 [↩]
- US Department of Commerce (Census Bureau), “Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services, November 2010” [↩]
- ShopperTrak RCT Corporation press release, based on the National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) and the ShopperTrak Retail Traffic Index, November 29, 2010 [↩]
- Statistics Canada, “International Travel: Advance Information”, Service Bulletin, August 2010 [↩]
- US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, TI News, September 22, 2010 [↩]
- Hawkins, Robert J, “Oceanside man ejected from airport for refusing security check”. Sign On San Diego, November 14 (updated November 15) 2010. [↩]
Mahon Jones & Associates is a tourism consulting firm, based in Canada, with special focus on cultural tourism and attracting the cultural tourist. The information above has been compiled via desk research of the internet for clients and key contacts, primarily located in Canada. It is intended to provide contacts with a quick snapshot of currently available market information.
For more information about our services or to discuss how we can assist your organization, government agency or business visit our website at www.mahonjones.com or contact us.