When I think about where I would love to go on vacation, I dream of far off destinations. Exotic locations I’ve never been to before, with stunning scenery and a new, exciting culture to experience. But when it comes time to actually planning my holiday, I inevitably look for somewhere a little closer to home.
This mainly comes down to money, but also time. As much as I would love to travel somewhere far away, I just don’t have the vacation time or disposable income to do so. Am I the only one who feels this way? It would appear not. It would seem I’m not the only one who chooses holiday destinations near to home. Let’s take a closer look.
You will have heard it before; Australians love to travel. It’s one of the things they’re well known for. So, when they go on vacation, where do they go? Well, most Australians stay within the country, which makes sense given their geographical location and the fact that Australia is already an incredibly appealing holiday destination across the globe.
However, international travel rates have dramatically increased over the past ten years. This is down to a fall in flight prices, a high dollar, and the fact that Australia has enjoyed solid economic growth in recent years.
Those that do travel abroad tend to go to summer destinations. The top ten travel destinations for Australians are:
- New Zealand
- The UK, the Channel Islands and/or Isle of Man
It’s no surprise to see New Zealand make it on the list, nor other countries in the Asia-Pacific region and South-East Asia. The cost and convenience of traveling to these countries seem to have made them appealing destinations. However, smart marketing tactics from New Zealand may have also played a helping hand. This just comes to show that there are other factors that influence travel trends.
Americans aren’t particularly known for traveling internationally, which in part is to do with the fact that they don’t get or use up much of their vacation time. In fact, according to a report by Oxford Economics, Americans are taking less time off work than at any time in almost 40 years.
In terms of domestic tourist destinations, the top ten projected tourist visits in 2015 were:
- New York
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in Americans going abroad. In 2014, over 68 million Americans traveled abroad, up 10% from the previous year. That being said, while there has been an increase in travel, the destinations visited have not experienced much change.
Mexico, Canada, and Europe are still the top three destinations, with 55% of US travelers only going so far as Mexico and Canada. The top two spots are easily rationalized by proximity and convenience. The draw to Europe can in part be explained by the fact that Americans do not require a visa to travel to most European nations.
With the euro experiencing a drop of 10 to 15 percent last year, Americans were able to get more euros for their dollars than the previous year. This meant that traveling to Europe became more affordable, and this instant discount seemed to attract even more travelers, with Europe experiencing an increase of 4% from the previous year.
Asia Pacific has enjoyed twenty years of rapid economic growth, and its rising affluence is helping to make it an important source market for international tourists. So much so, in the case of China, that several countries have taken note by enticing travelers with simplified visa applications.
This has been key in attracting Chinese tourists; for South Korea, it meant a boost in arrivals to Jeju Island of 260% from 2008 to 2012. Similarly, UK experienced a soar in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country, up 37% in 2015, following simplifications with the visa process.
With more Asians traveling outside the region every year, airlines are finding it difficult to keep up with demand. Asia faces a serious shortage of well-trained pilots, which has led to the opening of a well-equipped training center in Singapore.
So, what effect has this had on travel trends in Asia? Regional destinations are the most popular destinations, with long-haul destinations taking up the remainder. The top ten countries for arrivals from China in 2012 were:
- Hong Kong, China
- South Korea
For those making their first overseas trip, Macau and Hong Kong appear to be top choices. Again, this appears to be thanks to affordability and proximity, as well as a lack of language barriers. Pop culture has also had its impact on tourism trends, with the popularity of Thai soap operas being partly culpable for a growing interest in Thai culture.
Much like Americans, it would seem that Europeans prefer to vacation in their own country. In 2013, 75.3% of all tourism trips for the EU on average were spent in the country of residence. Domestic trips outnumbered destinations abroad in all but four EU member states.
Those that do leave the country tend to visit neighboring or nearby countries as their top destinations and 85% remained in Europe. The top three outbound destinations for Europeans traveling abroad are Spain, France, and Italy. Outside of Europe, the top destinations were Asia, Africa, North America, and Central and South America.
So, for many European countries, the most popular holiday destination is Spain. The beaches are most often visited during the summer periods, with the Spanish coasts being particularly appealing to those from the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Italy. The most popular region for the British, Italians, and Swedish are the Canary Islands while the French and Germans prefer Catalonia.
The popularity of Spain comes down to several different factors. In part, it’s the weather and the beaches, but it’s about much more than that. Spain is still considered by many to be an exotic destination thanks to its attractively different lifestyle compared to the rest of Europe.