The slow recovery of the global economy has travel and tourism companies upbeat as they gathered at the industry’s business-to-business exhibition – the World Travel Market in London.
Hard pressed European countries such as Greece and Spain have enjoyed strong overseas visitor numbers this past summer.
Doros Theodorou, Commercial Director EMEA with TripAdvisor sees more people coming to the region: “We are optimistic when we see people who are not spending in other ways, but who are continuing to travel. So, on a travel perspective definitely optimistic and for Europe even more. Because there are a lot of trends globally that show that a lot of people want to come to Europe more than any other destination.”
Asia is very much in focus, with the UN’s World Tourism Organisation reporting the Chinese are now the world’s biggest spenders on international tourism.
Asian countries, like the Philippines – which has just restarted direct flights between Manila and London after a 15 year break – are keen to attract those European visitors who can afford to travel.
Ramon Jimenez, Secretary of Tourism for the Philippines told euronews: “Europe is very squarely in the sights of the Philippines tourism marketing programme, and very specifically the United Kingdom, where we already receive about 120,000 visits from the UK annually. There is now going to be a tremendous focus on Europe, precisely because they are very lucrative markets and they are good travellers.”
Europe also is a tourism target for Malaysia. The country’s Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mohamed Nazri, explained: “Our target for Visit Malaysia 2014 will be 28 million [visitors]. It is an increase from last year to 2014 by 3 million new tourists coming to the country. Of course in long term we hope the numbers will grow and we have plan up to 2020, when we expect to receive 36 million [visitors].”
The number of people on the move internationally continues to increase.
The World Tourism Organisation calculates this year will see a four percent increase in travelers over last year with 2014 set to do even better. There is big growth in first-time travelers from China, Russia and Brazil.