2018: The joy of travel is unbroken | DW Travel | DW | 10.12.2018
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2018: The joy of travel is unbroken

The tourism industry can look back on a successful year: 2018 saw more people travel abroad than ever before. Particularly enthusiastic about travel were Asians and Latin Americans.

Europa Italien Ruinen aus der Römischen Kaiserzeit (picture-alliance/imageBROKER/J. Tack)

Visitors in Rome, Italy

A year of travel with less terror attack anxiety has led to a strong increase in foreign travel. These are the latest findings of the World Travel Monitor®, published by the tourism consultancy IPK International. The last quarter has not yet been evaluated, but all indications point to a resounding success.

Kroatien Touristen (picture-alliance/PIXSELL/M. Cikotic)

Tourists in Split, Croatia

Asia and Latin America are travel world champions

Asian and Latin American travelers are leading the list each with an increase of eight percent. Chinese and Mexicans in particular embarked on a journey to get to know other countries and cultures. Between January and August 2018, the willingness of Europeans to travel increased by five percent, that of North Americans by four percent.

England York City Sightseeing, Touristen-Bus (picture-alliance/imageBROKER/J. Pigozne)

Sightseeing in York, England

City trips lose momentum while round trips experience a revival

For years, city breaks saw the sharpest increase, but in 2018 that changed for the first time. The growth rate was significantly lower than expected. "This could also be an effect of over-tourism, which has recently been ubiquitous in the media and may have discouraged travelers from visiting major cities," explains Rolf Freitag of IPK International. On the one hand, however, beach and bathing vacations benefited from this, overtaking the growth rates of city breaks for the first time in years. On the other hand, the classic round trip is experiencing a comeback with an increase of four percent.

Griechenland Santorini Touristen schauen sich den Sonnenaufgang an (picture-alliance/robertharding/M. Parry)

Sunset on the Greek island of Santorini

Less fear of terror attacks

According to IPK International, the influence of terrorist attack threats on travel behavior has stabilized at a slightly lower level. Compared to 41 per cent at the same time last year, 38 per cent of international travelers said that recent terrorist warnings had influenced their travel plans. So not traveling at all was an option for very few respondents. Rather, destinations perceived as safe were preferred.  Destinations with a particularly good security image include Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries, Canada and Australia. However, Egypt and Tunisia were also able to improve their rather negative image in this respect.

Junge sonnengebräunte Frau liegt in der Sonne (picture-alliance/blickwinkel/P. Royer)

Beach holiday remains popular

Turkey recovers - Spain stagnates

As far as European travel is concerned, Turkey is the clear winner with almost 30 percent more visitors. Greece can be pleased with an increase of 19 per cent in the first eight months of the year. Great Britain recorded around three percent fewer visitors in the same period. After years of strong growth, Spain has to be content with stagnation.

Deutschland Sonnenaufgang in München (picture-alliance/dpa/G. Bergmann )

Sunrise in Munich, Germany

Positive outlook for 2019

And the success story is set to  continue, at least that is what the tourism experts at IPK International expect. They are forecasting an increase in foreign travel of around six percent.

The World Travel Monitor® is based on 500,000 representative interviews in more than 60 travel markets worldwide. It has been carried out regularly for more than 20 years and is regarded as the largest continuous study of global travel trends.

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