City trips set to grow

Hong Kong remained the number one destination for Chinese travellers

CITY trips are the fastest-growing part of the international leisure travel market as Europeans, Asians, North and South Americans head for attractive destinations in nearby countries and also overseas.

The outlook for the market segment remains positive despite the short-term impact of the terror attacks in Paris, according to experts.

However, concerns are increasing about the impact of large masses in very popular destinations. These are among the findings in the ITB World Travel Trends Report, which is produced by tourism consultancy IPK International on behalf of ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show.

City trips soared by 82 per cent between 2007 and 2014 to reach a 22 per cent share of all outbound holiday trips worldwide, according to the report. 'This was the really dynamic segment that has driven market growth over the last seven years,' IPK president Rolf Freitag comments. This strong increase has been driven by cheap flights and low-cost accommodation as well as new attractions and activities.

Growth was led by Asia Pacific where city trips increased from about 15 per cent of all outbound holiday trips in 2007 to about 25 per cent last year. This strong growth reflects in particular the dramatic increase in the number of Chinese people going on international trips, many of them on short trips to cities in Asia.

South Americans are also going on more international city trips, mostly within the continent. City trips increased their share of outbound holiday trips by nine percentage points to more than one fifth last year, boosted by travel to Brazilian cities for the football World Cup championship.

In Europe, city trips grew to about 20 per cent of all outbound holiday trips last year from about 15 per cent in 2007, World Travel Monitor figures show.

In North America, city trips had a share of less than one fifth of the outbound holiday market in 2014. This slightly lower figure compared to other regions is largely due to geography as many major outbound city destinations are long-haul trips from a North American perspective. European cities, for example, are especially popular with US and Canadian tourists.

Hong Kong, Paris and New York were the world’s top three ‘metropolitan’ travel destinations (city plus its surroundings) in 2014, according to the World Travel Monitor.

Hong Kong remained number one, when cross-border overnight trips by Chinese residents to the territory are included. The other top 10 destinations were London, Macau, Bangkok, Barcelona, Singapore, Istanbul and Munich.