2012 was a landmark year for the travel industry, with one billion international arrivals clocked in worldwide, contributing to an estimated nine percent of the global GDP. The arrival number is more than double that just over a decade ago, with the UNWTO reporting 435 million in 1990.
Continuing good news for the industry came in the recently released Global Travel Intentions Study 2013, commissioned by Visa, which spells out a positive outlook and highlights some impressive predictions for the year. The survey was conducted with over 12,630 respondents representing 25 countries, and below are some of the findings from the research.
The top three reasons influencing people's choice of destination for the last trip taken, in order of descending importance are: good weather, budget, and rich culture. For the next planned trip, however, respondents named the top deciding factors as: attractions and good scenery (tied for most important), with rich culture coming in at a close second.
The three most important factors when deciding on a destination stated by the most affluent group of respondents -- defined as having a monthly income exceeding GBP6,001, SG$11,000, HK$50,000, USD9,001, THB100,000 or AU$8,501 in their respective markets -- are good weather, rich culture, and good attractions.
The average number of leisure trips taken within the last two years is three, with Singaporeans the most well travelled, averaging five vacations in the past two years. Also within the same two-year timeframe, among the more affluent group of travellers in the study, the average was two trips per year.
The exclusion of budgetary concerns in the top destination deciding factors are reflected in the average expenditure per person, per trip. The research concluded that today's typical traveller spent US$2,390 on their last trip, with the expenditure expected to increase to US$2,501 for the next trip.
The top spenders are Saudi Arabians, who on average splashed out nearly triple that of the average, totalling US$6,666 per person, per trip, while Australians and Chinese rounded out the top three spending power groups spending US$4,118 and US$3,824 respectively.
The affluent group naturally have a slightly higher budget, with an average US$3,465 spent on the last trip and a significant jump to US$4,501 for their upcoming trip. Meanwhile, according to the survey, at the bottom of the spending tables in order of ascending spend, are travellers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the UK, and Thailand, with the latter spending an average of US$1,304 on their last trip.
That said, travellers from Hong Kong, the UK, and Thailand, have all indicated that their future spend will increase by a whopping 92 to 94 percent.
One would expect airfare and accommodation to take up the bulk of travellers' expenditure, but the Visa survey showed otherwise. In the average expenditure breakdown, 5% goes towards airfare, with another 9% towards accommodation and 7% paying for local logistics and transport.
Surprisingly, nearly half of a trip's total expenditure goes towards activities and dining (21% and 24% respectively). The big surprise is the bulk of spending, some 30%, is spent on shopping during trips.