Number of air passengers expected to double in 20 years to reach 7.3bn

According to The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of air passenger is expected to more than double within the next two decades, The Scotsman has reported.

In its first 20-year growth forecast, IATA said that nearly 3.3 billion passengers are forecast to travel this year, and the overall aviation market is set to grow by 4.1 per cent a year over the next two decades. IATA, the trade association for the world’s airlines representing nearly 240 global airlines, predicts that global passenger numbers would reach 7.3 billion by 2034.

By 2030, China is predicted to overtake the United States as the world’s largest passenger market, in terms of passengers travelling to, from and within the country, IATA said. IATA also predicts that India could overtake the UK to become the world’s third-largest air travel market in 2031.

While Asia-Pacific is expected to register annual growth rates of 4.9 per cent, Europe is set to have the slowest growth at 2.7 per cent and North America will have 3.3 per cent.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s director-general, said: ‘It is an exciting prospect to think that in the next 20 years more than twice as many passengers as today will have the chance to fly. Air connectivity on this scale will help transform economic opportunities for millions of people.’

‘By 2034, the aviation sector could support about 105 million jobs – against 58 million today – and contribute $6 trillion (£3.8tn) to the global economy,’ Tyler said, adding: ‘Air connectivity can only thrive when nations open their skies and markets. It’s a virtuous circle. Growing connectivity stimulates economies [which] demand greater connectivity.’

‘If aviation were a country, it would be amongst the top ten largest contributors to climate change on the planet,’ the report quoted Lang Banks, director of environmental campaign group WWF Scotland, as saying.

‘Despite all the promised efficiency gains, the growth in passenger numbers and flights predicted by the industry are totally incompatible with the need to curb emissions from this sector,’ Banks added.


Inbound tourism registers significant growth across Britain

Inbound tourism has grown significantly across all of Britain’s regions in 2013, and will continue to grow by over 6% a year for the rest of this decade, VisitBritain has said, citing figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Strong growth has been registered across all sectors, viz. Holiday visits, Business visits and VFR (Visit to friends and relatives) visits.

A record number of Holiday visits to British regions were registered in 2013 – at 12.726 million, an increase of 6.4%, with spending up 12.0% year on year at GBP8.448bn.

Business visits reached 7.945 million, up 7.0% but still down on the 9 million achieved in 2006. Spending by those visiting for Business reached GBP5.014bn, up 11.4% on 2012.

Meantime, VFR (Visit to friends and relatives) visits increased 4.2% to 9.327 million, which was below the record established in 2008 of 9.727 million. VFR visits generated GBP4.524bn in spending in 2013, up 14.6% on the year before.

Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman of VisitBritainm said: ‘We are delighted with these final results for the key post-Olympic year. Every single nation across Britain has seen an uplift in visitor numbers and, even more importantly, there have been substantial increases in spending for one of Britain’s largest export industries.

‘VisitBritain encourages visitors to explore all our nations and regions so I am particularly pleased that spending growth across the Rest of England (outside of London) and Scotland is faster than for London, which itself had a record breaking year.

‘These strong results underpin the forecast that inbound tourism will continue to grow by over 6% a year across the rest of this decade, making a significant contribution to the UK’s balance of payments and continuing to offer rapidly growing employment opportunities.

‘Tourism is, and always will be, a major part of the British economy.’

VisitBritain is the national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and developing Britain’s visitor economy. The agency, which is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, works with partners in the UK and overseas to ensure that Britain is marketed in an appropriate way around the world.


Global tourism registers five percent growth, helped by Europe

Global tourism has grown by five percent in the first eight months of the year, hitting a record 747 million international tourist arrivals, Travel Weekly has reported, citing the latest figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Helped by strong results in Europe, Asia/Pacific and the Middle East, the 2013 figures were 38 million more than in the same period of 2012. Europe, registered a 5 percent growth, with an estimated 20 million more arrivals in the region.

Speaking at the opening of the European Tourism Forum in Vilnius, UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai, said: ‘While global economic growth is in low gear, international tourism continues to produce above average results in most world regions, offering vital opportunities for employment and local economies.

‘This is particularly important for Europe, where unemployment is a major concern in many destinations and where the tourism sector has been a source of job growth in the last decade.

‘Furthermore, through its value chain, tourism creates businesses and jobs in many other sectors and produces significant export revenues which contribute favourably to the balance of payments in many countries.’

While the 100 million figure was exceeded for the first time in June, the peak summer months saw international arrivals exceed the 125 million mark in both July and August.

The largest international tourism earners saw receipts increase in double-digits, including Thailand at 27 percent, Hong Kong registering 25 percent, Turkey at 22 percent, Japan at 19 percent, the UK at 18 percent, Greece at 15 percent, India at 14 percent, Malaysia by 12 percent and the US by 11 percent.

Tourism spending was slower in the advanced economies, with Canada, the UK, France and the US registering less than 5 percent increase, Germany at zero percent increase, while Japan, Australia and Italy saw declines in expenditure.

The emerging economies are ahead in international tourism expenditure, with all BRIC countries except India, reporting double-digit growth, the report said.


Premier Inn reports healthy quarter’s sales growth

Whitbread-owned Premier Inn, a budget hotel chain with its headquarters in Luton, UK, has reported strong sales growth in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year.

The hotel brand reported sales growth of 14 percent during the 11 weeks to February 14, Whitbread’s fourth quarter. Total room nights sold by the brand in the first 50 weeks of the year were up by 11.2 percent to 13 million.

Revenue per available room (revPAR) grew by 1.6 percent, and occupancy grew by 1.1 percent, to 77.4 percent. The company’s UK regional revPAR was only down by 0.3 percent for the quarter, compared to a comparable industry average reduction of 0.9 percent. Meanwhile, the company’s London revPAR was up by 2.2 percent, compared to a decline for the sector as a whole of 5 percent.

Andy Harrison, the chief executive of Whitbread, commented, ‘For the financial year to date, Whitbread has again delivered outstanding organic growth in a flat consumer market, growing total sales by 14.8 percent. Our strong brands continue to win market share, supported by our highest ever guest satisfaction scores and rapid expansion of our network.

During the fourth quarter, we maintained our strong momentum with total sales growth of 16.9 percent, although the headline like-for-like sales growth of 2.7 percent was slightly suppressed by adverse weather conditions in January, particularly affecting the restaurants business.

Premier Inn continued to outperform its competitive set and delivered total sales growth of 14.1 percent, together with like-for-like sales growth of 2.9 percent.

We see no change to market conditions, although we expect a more competitive environment. We shall continue to deliver good organic growth and are on track to achieve our 2016 growth milestones.’


June 2012 Travel Bookings Indicate Growth in Travel Industry

Holiday Extras, a UK-based travel company offering pre-booked hotels and airport parking, has reported a 47 percent increase in airport parking bookings for June 2012, compared to figures achieved in the same period last year.

On April 30 this year, the company registered a record number of parking bookings through its website and through its customer service centre, a 6 percent increase from its previous record number of parking bookings made on April 3, this year.

The increase in parking bookings is thought to indicate a growth in travel bookings in general, and an upward trend in the travel industry. The figures also appear to indicate that vacationing is still a major priority for residents in the UK, despite the financial uncertainty brought about by the credit crunch.

However, the parking bookings do also infer a bargain hunting instinct among holidaymakers, as they aim to pre-book airport parking space to save money. The new survey results show that pre-booking airport parking slots often results in major savings of as much as 60 percent.

Matthew Pack, the company chief executive officer, said, ‘Early figures show that the Olympics are not stopping people booking their holidays for this summer. Holidaymakers are fighting the mood of austerity, which is really positive news for the travel industry.’

There are around 100 different car parks available for booking parking slots in advance, at around 26 airports in the UK. Parking slots are predictably most expensive around the major airports, including Birmingham, East Midlands, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Manchester and Stansted.

Healthy growth of international tourism in first half of 2011

International tourism grew by almost 5% in the first half of 2011, totalling a new record of 440 million arrivals. Results confirm that, in spite of multiple challenges, international tourism continues to consolidate the return to growth initiated in 2010.


International tourist arrivals are estimated to have grown by 4.5% in the first half of 2011, consolidating the 6.6% increase registered in 2010. Between January and June of this year, the total number of arrivals reached 440 million, 19 million more than in the same period of 2010.

Growth in advanced economies (+4.3%) has maintained strength and is closing the gap with emerging economies (+4.8%), which have been driving international tourism growth in recent years. This trend reflects the decreases registered in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as a slight slowdown in the growth of some Asian destinations following a very strong 2010.

“The sustained growth registered in tourism demand in such challenging times clearly makes the case for the sector and reinforces our call to consider tourism as a priority in national policies. Tourism can play a key role in terms of economic growth and development, particularly at a moment when many economies, for the most part in Europe and North America, struggle for recovery and job creation,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

All world (sub)regions showed positive trends with the exception of the Middle East and North Africa. Results were better than expected in Europe (+6%), boosted by the recovery of Northern Europe (+7%) and Central and Eastern Europe (+9%), and the temporary redistribution of travel to destinations in Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+7%) due to developments in North Africa (-13%) and the Middle East (-11%). Sub-Saharan Africa (+9%) continued to perform soundly.
The Americas (+6%) was slightly above the world average, with remarkably strong results for South America (+15%). Asia and the Pacific grew at a comparatively slower pace of 5%, but this more than consolidates its 13% bumper growth of 2010.

Results from recent months show that destinations such as Egypt, Tunisia, or Japan are seeing declines in demand clearly reverting. “We are very encouraged to see demand picking up in such important tourism destinations and call for continued support to these countries, which are today fully ready to receive travelers from all over the world,” added Mr. Rifai.


So far, the growth of international tourism arrivals is very much in line with the initial forecast issued by UNWTO at the beginning of 2011, 4% to 5%, for the full year 2011, a rate slightly above the 4% long-term average.

As international tourism receipts were more affected by the 2008-2009 crisis and recovered somewhat slower than arrivals in 2010, this year should also see their further improvement.

Following an encouraging first half of 2011, growth in the remainder of the year is expected to soften somewhat, as recent months have brought increased uncertainty, hampering business and consumer confidence.

“We must remain cautious as the global economy is showing signs of increased volatility,” said Mr. Rifai, “Many advanced economies still face risks posed by weak growth, fiscal problems, and persistently high unemployment.

“Simultaneously, signs of overheating have become apparent in some emerging economies. Restoring sustained and balanced economic growth remains a major task.”