China to over­take France as top travel des­ti­na­tion by 2030

Yuma Sun - - DESERT LIFE -

LON­DON — China is set to over­take France as the world’s num­ber one tourist des­ti­na­tion by 2030 as a grow­ing mid­dle class in Asia looks to spend more on travel, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts at mar­ket re­search group Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional.

In a re­port pub­lished Tues­day at an in­dus­try con­fer­ence in Lon­don, Euromon­i­tor said it is pre­dict­ing there will be 1.4 bil­lion trips made in 2018, up 5 per­cent from last year. Stronger growth in many ma­jor economies mean in­dus­try re­ceipts will rise by an es­ti­mated 11 per­cent.

By 2030, in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals are ex­pected to have risen by an­other bil­lion, cor­re­spond­ing to around $2.6 tril­lion in re­ceipts. China is ex­pected to have over­taken France by then to be­come the world’s num­ber one des­ti­na­tion.

Much of the sus­tained boom in travel and tourism, which has out­paced growth in the global econ­omy for eight years, is cen­tered in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, where trips are ex­pected to grow by 10 per­cent this year. The re­gion has ben­e­fited from rapidly grow­ing economies as well as an ex­pand­ing mid­dle class that seeks to spend dis­pos­able in­come on leisure.

Euromon­i­tor’s se­nior travel an­a­lyst, Wouter Geerts, said the grad­ual process of loos­en­ing visa re­stric­tions has made trav­el­ling in the re­gion eas­ier, with 80 per­cent of ar­rivals in Asia orig­i­nat­ing from the re­gion. He also said sport­ing events will likely fur­ther boost the re­gion, with Tokyo host­ing the 2020 Sum­mer Olympic Games and Bei­jing the 2022 win­ter event.

“Tourism is a key pil­lar of the Chi­nese econ­omy, and much in­vest­ment has been made to im­prove in­fra­struc­ture and stan­dards, in ad­di­tion to tourism-friendly poli­cies and ini­tia­tives,” he said.

Other bright spots in the fore­cast are coun­tries like Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, which have seen sharp falls in tourist num­bers over the past few years linked to se­cu­rity con­cerns.

Egypt, in par­tic­u­lar, ap­pears to be do­ing well, fol­low­ing a long pe­riod of de­cline largely linked to the po­lit­i­cal up­heaval since a pop­u­lar up­ris­ing in 2011 and the down­ing of a Rus­sian pas­sen­ger plane over Egypt’s Si­nai penin­sula in 2015 by an Is­lamic State af­fil­i­ate, killing 224 peo­ple.

Though Egypt’s book­ings were up 134 per­cent in 2017-18 from the year be­fore, ac­cord­ing to Euromon­i­tor, the in­dus­try is still short of where it was in 2010. Egyp­tian gov­ern­ment fig­ures show 8 mil­lion tourists vis­ited the coun­try last year, way down on the 14 mil­lion recorded in 2010.

Europe is also prov­ing re­silient and grow­ing strongly de­spite eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal tur­moil in some coun­tries and a slew of ex­trem­ist at­tacks in re­cent years.

One source of un­cer­tainty for the out­look cen­ters on Brexit. A ‘no-deal’ Brexit, which would see Bri­tain crash­ing out of the Eu­ro­pean Union in March, would see mil­lions opt to stay at home — an es­ti­mated 5 mil­lion in 2022 — rather than book overseas hol­i­days, the re­port says. That would have a rip­ple ef­fect across many des­ti­na­tions, no­tably in Spain, where U.K. trav­el­ers ac­count for one-fifth of tourist-re­lated rev­enues.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

CHINA’S K-8 AIR­CRAFT FROM the Aer­o­batic Team “Hongy­ing,” mean­ing Red Ea­gle, of Chi­nese PLA’s (Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army) Air Force, per­form dur­ing the 12th China In­ter­na­tional Avi­a­tion and Aerospace Ex­hi­bi­tion, also known as Air­show China 2018, Tues­day in Zhuhai city, south China’s Guang­dong prov­ince.

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