One of the most reliable sources of forecasting worldwide tourist trends, are the reports published annually by the World Tourism Observatory, a forum that gathers nearly 500,000 global respondents together in a common database.
According to its latest report, in 2014 tourism continued to grow globally and in spite of wars, terrorism, economic crisis and fear of pandemics. The number of trips increased last year by 4.5% and the forecasts for 2015 are similar, between 4-5%.
Of all the types of trips, sun and beach vacations remain in first position, with a 28% quota of total trips and growth of 18% in the last 5 years. Following them are organised tours, with a quota of 23% and growth of 32%, thanks to their popularity amongst Asian travellers.
Of them all, the segment that has grown the most is urban tourism, thanks to low-cost flights and accommodation. The number of this type of trips has increased 58% and now accounts for 20% of the total tourist market. By contrast, breaks in rural areas have descended 17% in the last 5 years and now they only represent 11% of the total. They are followed by business trips and other trips for family, educational, religious or health reasons.
Combining the global increase in travellers with the lengthening of stays by 3% and the increase of average expenditure of 2%, total tourism revenue grew by 6% in 2014, (the world GDP increased by 3.31%), with it now reaching a quota of 9.8% of the global economy, (whilst agriculture “only” represents 6%).