Global travel slowing down

GLOBAL travel spending is still growing, but at a slower pace, despite weakening economies and fears over terrorism.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (世界旅遊業理事會), a group which promotes tourism, said on 22 August that global travel spending for 2016 is expected to grow by 3.1 percent. That is down from a March forecast of 3.3 percent but still outpacing global economic growth, which the council expects to be 2.3 percent.

Macroeconomic problems have a much bigger impact on travel than terrorist attacks, the group’s president, David Scowsill, said.

“Travellers aren’t going to allow isolated terrorist attacks to put them off travelling,” he said. Tourists worried about safety in France () have chosen Spain (西班) or Italy () instead, for example.

Scowsill said destinations with tourist-specific attacks usually take two years to recover, while other types of attacks lead to a faster resumption of travel.

Other travel groups are also seeing the slowdown in travel spending.

The International Air Transport Association (國際航空運輸協) recently noted that while more people are flying, the upward trend “has moderated since January” and the percentage of seats occupied has actually slipped slightly.

“The fragile and uncertain economic backdrop, political shocks and a wave of terrorist attacks are all contributing to a softer demand environment,” said the group’s head, Tony Tyler.

Back in April, the Global Business Travel Association (全球商務旅遊協) warned of slowing volume from US-originating business travellers.

(This article is published on Sing Tao Daily on 30 August 2016)

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