Tourism is big business and is a cornerstone of many major economies. Naturally the performance of the tourist sectors in various countries are dependent on a number of external factors, such as the political and social situation, economic stability and the public profile of a particular country or region. So what can we expect from the travel sector in 2013? Here at HRS we have outlined some of the potential growth areas for the coming year.
National tourism body VisitBritain predicts that literatours and sci-fi adventures will be popular themes for holidays in the UK during 2012 – both from those holidaying at home and visitors heading in from overseas. The UK’s tourism sector has benefited from the feel-good factor of the Olympics, with recent data from the Office for National Statistics showing that although visitor numbers for September 2012 were up just one per cent on 2011, spending by visitors increased by 17 per cent year on year.
VisitBritain expects guests to be “embracing Englishness” further in 2013, with trips built around anniversaries of key cultural aspects: the 200th anniversary of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, and the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Both will also be building on successful similar themes from 2012 – specifically the World Shakespeare Festival and the opening of the Star Wars Miniland Experience at Legoland Windsor respectively.
The group also expects the number of countryside holidays taken in the UK to continue from its 12 per cent growth seen in 2012.
Europe and the BRICS
Euromonitor’s World Travel Market Travel Trends Report 2012 notes that concerns about economic stability in Europe has impacted on tourism demand during the last year, with Southern Europe in particular experiencing a regional slowdown as key states entered recession. Looking forward to 2013, Euromonitor does not expect significant growth in tourism to Europe, yet the role of visitors from BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will be key to shopping tourism’s progress in European destinations.
BRICS nations are defined as such because their growing economies are creating a vastly-expanding middle class of affluent individuals looking to spend. Cheaper prices and a lack of import tax on high-value goods prompts many to combine their spending with a holiday; Euromonitor believes Paris to be the BRICS spending hotspot, yet London, Frankfurt, Milan and Madrid are all in contention. France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and the UK will be expected to receive the biggest BRICS tourism boosts.
The Middle East
Many states in the Middle East have been trying to move away from reliance on the volatile oil market and build themselves an economic safety net – and tourism is the number one option. The social upheaval brought about by the Arab Spring knocked tourism growth in late 2011 and early 2012, but Euromonitor expects there to be a strong end to 2012 with growth continuing into 2013.
Key to attracting guests to the Middle East has been the rise of the hotel built within huge shopping malls, providing a one-stop-shop for accommodation and spending. Further hotel-malls are scheduled for completion towards the end of 2012 and into 2013, providing further “dynamic shopping opportunities”.
Adventure and theme holidays
Experts are also predicting the rise of more specialist holidays in the next year. ABTA’s latest Travel Trends report suggest that customers are not necessarily looking specifically for low prices, but instead are focusing on value. As such, holidays tied to interests – such as adventure sports or culinary tours – look set to see increased popularity in the next 12 months.
Use of the internet
The internet continues to play an increasing key role in holiday spending, with all aspects of organising a holiday – from booking flights to buying essential travel items – seeing the internet take an increased share of spending during 2012. Hotel bookings saw the biggest growth in online spending, and the Euromonitor predictions for 2013 are that the web will take an even bigger market share in holiday spending.
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