Travel faces terror, challenges and threats
Global travel and tourism demand has grown consistently over the past two decades and shows very little signs of slowing, having doubled in size. By 2020, it is expected that 1.5 billion international trips will be taken. Geopolitics, whether terrorism or political uncertainty, have led to a veritable rollercoaster ride for traditional sun and sea destinations, scattered around the Mediterranean Sea, with safer destinations winning out. However, the reality of war in the Middle East has tipped over into the rest of the world and global terrorism is a real threat regardless of region.
Since so-called Islamic State has called for attacks in the US and Europe as part of its caliphate, the number of sporadic terror attacks on European soil has increased, with France under particular attack which has led to a prolonged state of emergency following the Paris and Nice atrocities with much loss of life. France is the world’s leading tourism destination with over 84 million arrivals per year. We expect inbound arrivals to France to be minimal at 0.5% helped by the Euro 2016 Championships, whilst Belgium is likely to decline by -0.4% in 2016.
Egypt has been at the forefront of revolution and more recently terror attacks with inbound arrivals dropping sharply in 2016 by a forecast 20%. In 2015 a Russian aircraft crashed and in 2016 an Egypt Air crash as well as various kidnappings that have led to travel bans. The UAE and Saudi Arabia continue to perform well, the former due to strong connectivity and stronger safety record whilst the latter benefits from religious tourism.
Humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale
The routes taken by refugees and displaced persons to escape danger often intersect with the global transport links used by business and leisure tourists, as well as economic migrants. The UNHCR reported that globally 63 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes in 2015 because of conflict or persecution.
Greece, Turkey and Italy have witnessed increased migration flows with much media attention, with 1 million refugees arriving in Europe via the Mediterranean in 2015 and Turkey host to 2.5 million, yet Europe hosts only 6% of the world’s refugees. Coupled with the impact of sustained terrorist attacks, Turkey has seen a decline in inbound arrivals of -1% in 2015 and -5% in 2016.
The Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes, has been reported in Brazil and been transmitted across the Americas since 2015. It affects predominantly pregnant women and has led to concern from that demographic group for travelling to the region. We expect that the Zika virus will not reduce demand for the Rio 2016 Olympics, and that growth will be around 7% – less than the 10% seen during the FIFA World Cup due to other challenges such as political and social unrest following the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. There are many global threats and challenges for the travel industry to tackle.
Skift Global Forum Overview
Skift Global Forum is the largest creative business forum in the global travel industry. In two years — 2014 and 2015 — it has become what media, speakers and attendees have called the “TED of travel.” It is the first conference focused on top Marketers, Strategists and Technologists in travel, the people creating and defining the future of travel. Skift carefully curates topics and speakers to inspire the professionals in travel about the business and creative potential of the world’s largest industry. Our Global Forum helps top travel professionals understand the changing trends in travel across sectors, geographies, and the functional silos in travel industry.
Date: 27-28 September,
Location: Alice Tully Hall, NYC
Registration Link: http://bit.ly/244B9ta
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