Tourism One Minute Report
A global market scan in one minute or less.
November 30, 2017


Despite the ongoing political soap opera, terrorists and a host of other uncertainties, tourists were on the move in the summer of 2017.  Perhaps that is because there is a good feeling in many first and emerging economies that the future is a lot less uncertain.  In fact, global growth is expected to rise to 3.6% in 2017 and projections anticipate 3.7% growth in 2018.

However, a note of caution: while the overall outlook is positive, there are still areas of concern while inflation remains below target in most advanced economies1.

Here’s the latest on outbound travel on some major travel markets…


CANADA: 2.77 million Canadians embarked on international travel in August, up 0.7% from July and 4.5% from August of 2016. Almost 1.1 million of the international trips made in August were to overseas destinations, an increase of 5.6% compared with the same month last year and the highest figure for the month of August since record-keeping began in 19722.

The Canadian unemployment rate held steady at 6.2% in both August and September. This record low has not been reached since October of 2008. Employment increases of 112,000 were mostly offset by declines of 102,000 in part time employment leaving overall employment growth at 0.1% for the month of September3.

UNITED STATES: US outbound travel resulted in spending increases of 8%, 7% and 4% in the critical months of June, July and August of 2017. The % of American planning to take a vacation in the next 6 months surged in October to its highest level since 19784. At the same time, travel into the US is dropping – in the first six months of 2017 the US experienced a drop in inbound travel from overseas countries (excluding Canada and Mexico) of 5.7%.  Overall the drop is 3.9%5.

Consumer sentiment in the United States spiked to 101.1 from 95.1 in September, well beyond market expectations and reaching its strongest number since January of 20046. This is reflected in the fact that even though travel into the US is falling, it still maintains a travel surplus – probably due to strong domestic travel within the country. This may be affected if inbound travel continues to weaken.

Falling below market projections of 4.4%, unemployment in the United States dropped from 4.4% in August to 4.2% in September, the lowest rate of unemployment the country has seen since February 2001. Labour force participation increased by 0.2% to 63.1% and the number of unemployed persons declined by 331,000 to 6.8 million7.


UK: 5.78 million UK residents travelled internationally in July, a 2.2% decline from the 5.91 million residents that travelled internationally in 20168. International spending abroad in the month of July tallied £4.48 billion, down 1.93% from the £4.57 billion spent in July of 20169.  The UK economy expanded slightly in Q3, up 0.4% in the three months from July to September, compared to the 0.3% growth of the previous quarter. This growth was moderately ahead of initial forecasts which anticipated expansion of 0.3%. The pace of economic growth is still slower than it was last year, however, and after growing a mere 1% in the first three quarters, the UK has slowed to a pace they haven’t experienced since the recession in 200910.

FRANCE: Following a rise in both July and August, unemployment in France dropped a staggering 1.8% in the month of September – the largest monthly drop on record. This is the biggest decline in unemployment since 2001. 64,800 fewer French residents are seeking full time employment while 3.73 of the country’s population remain out of work. The marked improvement supports the hope that Macron’s government reform is bringing about more jobs and growth for the country.11.12.

GERMANY: Declining from 3.7% in July, the unemployment rate in Germany slid down to 3.6% in August. This marks a 0.6% decline in unemployment compared to the same month last year and is the lowest jobless rate the country has seen since September 198013.

ITALY: In line with market expectations, unemployment in Italy slid slightly from 11.3% in July to 11.2% in August. This decline can be attributed to an increase in employment by 36,000 and a decrease in unemployed residents of 42,0014.

SPAIN: The months July to September have proven to be pivotal for Spain with unemployment falling to 16.38% – the lowest it has been in almost nine years. The decline marks a reduction of 0.84% in unemployment from the previous quarter. The total number of employed residents has risen by 521,700 to 19.05 million since the same quarter last year15.

GREECE: Unemployment in Greece fell slightly from 21.3% in June to 21% in July – a decrease of 2.4% from the 23.4% recorded in July of 201616.


CHINA: China became the world’s top international spenders in 2012 and has continued to lead global outbound travel since. The first half of 2017 has been no different, with China continuing to lead international outbound travel. Approximately 62.03 million trips were taken between January and June of this year17.

In the ten years to 2016 Chinese traveller spending spiked from $24 billion, or 3% of the world’s total in 2006 to $261 billion, or 21% of the world’s international spending, in 201618.

JAPAN: 1.63 million Japanese travelled internationally in September, a 4.4% increase from the 1.55million in the same month last year. A total of 5 million Japanese embarked on outbound travel in Q3, a 3.7% increase compared to Q3 of 201619. For the third consecutive month, unemployment in Japan remained at 2.8% in August20.

AUSTRALIA: Australians embarked on a total of 878,500 international trips in August, a 5.7% increase from the same month in 2016. The outbound travel tally January to August totalled 6.8 million, an increase of 3.5% over the same 8 months in 201621.


Singaporean passport holders now hold the world’s most powerful passport. “Visa-free global mobility has become an important factor in today’s world, [and] more and more people every year invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a second passport to offer better opportunity and security for their families.” said Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital.

Singaporean passport holders are able to visit 159 countries with ease either without a visa, or by acquiring one on arrival. This passport indexing is an online tool that ranks the world’s passports based on their cross-boarder access and was developed by Arton Capital. Other top-ranking countries include Germany, Sweden and Denmark with the lowest-ranking countries including; Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq22.


  1. “World Economic Outlook, October 2017”. International Monetary Fund, October 2017 []
  2. “Travel Between Canada and Other Countries, Seasonally Adjusted”. Statistics Canada, October 20, 2017 []
  3. “Canada Unemployment Rate”. Trading Economics, October 6th, 2017 []
  4. US Conference Board, cited in US Travel Association’s US Travel Outlook, November 2017 []
  5. Source:  U.S. Department of Commerce, ITA, National Travel and Tourism Office from the Summary of International Travel to the U.S. (I-94) report00 []
  6. “United States Consumer Sentiment”. Trading Economics, October 6, 2017 []
  7. “United States Unemployment Rate”. Trading Economics, October 6, 2017 []
  8. “UK Residents’ Visits Abroad by Month”. Office for National Statistics, September 22, 2017 []
  9. “Spending by Overseas Residents in the UK and Spending by UK Residents overseas by Month”. Office for National Statistics, September 22, 2017 []
  10. Chapman, Ben. “UK Economic Growth Beats Expectations but Brexit Problems Continue”, Independent, October 27, 2017 []
  11. “France Sees Big Drop in Unemployment Rate in Boost for Macron”. The Local, October 25, 2017 []
  12. “France Posts Record Drop in Unemployment”. France 24, October 24th []
  13. “Germany Unemployment Rate”. Trading Economics, October 2017 []
  14. “Italy Unemployment Rate”, Trading Economics. October 2, 2017 []
  15. Day, Paul. “Spain’s third quarter unemployment rate falls to lowest since 2008”, Reuters, October 26, 2017 []
  16. “Greece Unemployment Rate”, Trading Economics, October 5, 2017 []
  17. Tungsirisurp, Chotika, Bajaj, Aishwarya. “China Drives Tourism Growth in Asia Pacific”, Bangkok Post, October 18, 2017 []
  18. Jim Butler October 26, 2017 ((Butler, Jim. “China Accounts for 21% of International Tourism Spending – UNWTO”, The Pie News, October 26, 2017 []
  19. “2017 Foreign Visitors & Japanese Departures”. Japan National Tourism Organization, March 2017 []
  20. Japan Unemployment Rate, Trading Economics, September 29, 2017 []
  21. “Overseas Arrivals and Departures in Australia, August 2017. Australian Bureau of Statistics, October 16 []
  22. Cripps, Karla. “Singapore Now Offers the World’s Most Powerful Passport”, CNN Travel, October 25, 2017 []

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 or contact us.

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