North America: Tourism trends for 2018 and beyond
Updated: Jul 28, 2018
Today’s AP voice is from our VP of sales for North America, Viola Ncube.
The outlook for North America looks incredibly positive, which is sure to result in bountiful opportunities for independent hoteliers in the region.
Despite constant political ups and downs, the US economy remains strong as does Canada’s. While the current administration’s protectionist policies are a concern for worldwide stability and economic growth, the US’s expected growth rate of 2.2% for 2018 is higher than that of many European countries. Canada’s growth is set to outpace the US (at 3.1%), with 15 of 20 major industries all showing a year-on-year increase.
For those looking to make the most of their marketing and sales, the following trends will be of particular interest.
1) Preference for established destinations: While we know that today’s travellers are wanting new and unique experiences, tried and tested destinations have shown they have lasting power. Orlando, Las Vegas and New York all remain incredibly popular with North American tourists as well as international tourists. In fact, research by Expedia shows that a majority of American travellers prefer to travel domestically (82%). From an international perspective, Chinese travel to Las Vegas increased three times from 2016-2017, while the growth of low-cost airline routes from Europe to the US is also making it possible for cost-conscious Europeans to visit the US. We expect to see these preferences to continue, which highlights the need for independent hotels to tailor their offering for both domestic and international travellers.
2) The boom in business for Mexico and the Caribbean: The most popular reason for travel for American and Canadian tourists is to relax, so unsurprisingly there has been a resurgence of interest to the Caribbean and Mexico. A record 31.7 million international visitors went to the Caribbean in 2017. Mexico saw record revenue from international tourists (and an increase of 8.3% from 2016) as it welcomed 39.3 million foreign travellers in 2017, a 12% increase from 2016. International visitors are attracted by the many new resorts popping up across the Caribbean and Mexico. Instead of just appealing to the more budget-conscious travellers, all-inclusive resorts in the region are now pitching themselves in the luxury market to attract a more affluent audience with deeper pockets. Cruise companies and airlines are also investing in the region, hoping to make the most of this long-term boom.
3) Crazy about Canada: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced 2018 as the Canada-China Year of Tourism. Canada is doing its utmost to encourage Chinese tourists to visit Canada and for good reason. Chinese tourists spent $1.6 billion in 2017 in Canada (the second highest of any group) and there was a 12% increase in Chinese tourists to Canada in 2017. Overall, Canada welcomed 20.8 million international tourists, and of this 14.3 million were US tourists. With travel to the country increasing year-on-year for the past few years, we anticipate this to continue for the next few years as tourists flock to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Vancouver, Montreal and Quebec City.
Of course, trends are all well and good but they only matter if you can make the most of them. As an Americas-focused hotel management consultancy, we recognise the challenges that independent hoteliers face and can help them use their marketing budgets in a smarter and more efficient way to get results. We’re always happy to speak to hotels that are looking for advice on what they can do to drive their business goals.