Future tourism to be driven by Chinese and Russians
The top five countries in terms of the number of international departures in 2012 were Germany, the US, the UK, China and Russia. But by 2017, China will lead with Germany in second place and Russia in third, a new report by Euromonitor International says.
Cities that appeal to Chinese and Russian travellers will therefore experience stronger growth, the Top City Destinations Ranking explains.
China’s ban on shopping tours, effective from 1 October 2013, may cause a short-term dip to nearby cities with a high share of such trips, such as Hong Kong and Seoul.
However, Thailand in particular is well positioned to benefit from the strong growth of both Chinese and Russian travellers thanks to its proximity, shopping and attractions, although the current political unrest may undermine growth in the short term.
But in the long term, Euromonitor expects that Bangkok will cement its position as the world’s third most visited city (after Hong Kong and Singapore), while Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai will continue their rise in the rankings.
Countries that relax or streamline visa processes, develop strong relationships with tour operators, implement targeted marketing and expand airlift will increase travellers from these countries, which will benefit their main city destinations.
Many countries have embraced the move to better visa processes or exemptions to attract these visitors. For example, on 1 January 2014, South Korea allowed Russians to travel to the country for 60 days without a visa.
Paris has done well courting emerging market travellers, with 320,000 Russians and 204,000 Chinese visitors in 2012, up 7.5% and 16.1%, respectively. For Russians, Italy, Germany and Spain are increasingly on their radar, so Euromonitor says it is imperative that cities there embrace these tourists.
[photo courtesy Prague Convention Bureau]