International Tourism Growth Expected to Slow Slightly in 2016

Travel Trends

Following two years of robust global growth in cross-border travel, growth in international trips is expected to slow slightly in 2016, with the Americas, the Asia Pacific, and Europe bucking the trend.


International tourist arrivals were up by 4.4% in 2015, with nearly 1,850 million travelers spending at least one night abroad.

It was the sixth straight year that above average growth in cross-border travel was recorded, the United Nations World Travel Organization reports.

The Americas, the Asia Pacific, and Europe all experienced 5% growth in inbound tourism last year. Middle Eastern arrivals were up 3% while arrivals in Africa fell 3%.

Growth in inbound tourism is expected to continue in 2016, but at a slightly slower pace. The Americas and the Asia Pacific are expected to lead the way with 4 % to 5% growth, followed by Europe with 3.5% to 4.5% growth.

Travel destinations in Africa and the Middle East are expected to register growth in the 2.5% to 5% range.




Chinese travelers have leapfrogged over the Americans to become the biggest spenders when they travel abroad with spending up 28% during their overseas trips in 2014.

As a result, an increasing number of hotels and other service providers in the travel industry are launching Chinese language websites as well as hiring Chinese-speaking front-line staff.

Some hotels are providing Chinese language newspapers to hotel guests and offering Chinese dishes on the menus of their food and beverage outlets.

Rounding out the top 5 countries spending the most money on overseas trips, spending by American travelers increased by 7% in 2014 followed by Germans, up 1%; Brits, up 4%, and Russians, down 6%.


According to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), travelers around the world want to expand their horizons in 2016, with 69% wanting to “try something new”.

Political and economic uncertainties, meanwhile, do not seem to be dampening demand for leisure travel. One in three travelers say they plan on increasing their expenditure on leisure travel this year.

  • Baby Boomers (65 years old and over) will spend an average of US$7,500 on travel;
  • Generation Xers (35 to 64 years old) will spend an average of US$5,000 on travel;
  • Millennials (18 to 34 years old) will spend an average of US$2,400 on travel.

According to TripAdvisor, air-conditioning tops the list of “must-have” amenities at hotels. Complementary in-room Wi-Fi comes in second place.

A lack of these facilities or services will send them scampering to find a hotel that has them.

  • 63% of global travelers must have air conditioning in their rooms;
  • 46% of global travelers must have in-room Wi-Fi;
  • 40% of global travelers want breakfast to be included in the price of their room;
  • 26% of global travelers want their hotel to have a swimming pool.

Travelers are also being increasingly influenced by what they see on television. Travel destinations featured in TV shows are likely to receive a tourism boost thanks to the indirect publicity they receive.


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