While North American outbound travel increased by four percent, Latin America was twice as strong with eight percent more international trips. Looking at this year, the latest results of the World Travel Monitor by IPK International point to uplift due to stronger growth in North America.
Overall, North America showed solid increases with a plus of four percent in international travel during the first eight months of 2018, which was in line with the forecasts of 2017’s World Travel Monitor. Despite lower growth rates compared to 2017, Europe remained a growth driver. Trips by North Americas to Europe increased by eight per cent during the first eight months of 2018.
Among the destinations, benefiting most from these increases were Spain and Italy, while trips to the UK stagnated. Trips to Asia grew solidly with a plus of five percent, while inner-American travel rose by three percent.
The strong growth of North American outbound travel was evenly distributed between holidays, visits to friends and relatives (VFRs) as well as business trips. While business trips underperformed worldwide, North America showed opposing developments with a six percent increase. However, as in other parts of world, this growth was due to an increase of promotable business trips (MICE), while traditional business trips continued on a downward trend.
Within the holiday segment, growth distribution was also quite evenly distributed. Cruises reported the strongest increase of eight percent. Tour holidays increased by five percent, city trips by four percent and sun & beach holidays by three percent. Overall, the average length of outbound trips by North Americans decreased slightly, while spending was one per cent higher.
Looking ahead, uplift is expected for North American outbound travel for this year, with IPK’s Travel Confidence Index forecasting eight percent growth for next year.
Latin America outperformed North America during the first eight months of 2018 with eight percent more international trips. One of the key influencing factors was high growth in the Mexican outbound travel market, which declined but recovered strongly between January and August. The main reason for this turnaround was an increase in visits to the US, which dropped in 2017 but picked up strongly again.
Compared to North America, where trips to Europe remained the growth driver, Latin Americans mainly headed to destinations within the Americas. According to World Travel Monitor’s figures, inner-regional travel by Latin Americans increased by 13 percent. Europe reported solid growth rates of five percent, while Asia received two per cent more visitors from Latin America.