How will tourism fare in 2016?

Worldwide travel is expected to grow by 3% in 2016, but terrorism has a major impact. 15% of people will either not travel abroad at all or only go on domestic trips within their own country. A further 25% will only travel to destinations they consider as safe.

Tourism research institute, IPK International, presented the latest forecasts for the global and European tourism industry at the world’s largest tourism exhibition ITB Berlin.

Worldwide travel is expected to grow by 3% in 2016, but terrorism has a major impact, as without it, growth would be 4.5 %, says the World Travel Monitor.

Rolf Freitag of IPK International explains, “Recent terrorist attacks in some main source and destination markets of international tourism have created a great deal of uncertainty regarding travel planning for 2016. 40% of international travellers say terror threats will affect their travel plans for 2016, although responses vary widely from region to region.”

The report highlights the impact perceived terror threats have on tourism in 2016. 15% of people will either not travel abroad at all or only go on domestic trips within their own country. A further 25% will only travel to destinations they consider as safe.

According to the World Travel Monitor, Asians will again take more trips abroad in 2016, although the growth rate will be lower compared to previous years. Figures for Japan could be negative opposed to China and India. For outbound trips from the US and Mexico, moderate growth rates can be predicted, but a decline from Canada is expected.

Despite terror fears, international trips by Europeans are expected to continue on a slight upward trend. Demand will increase from the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland and Germany, but will fall from Russia, Greece and Italy.

On outbound travel, IPK predicts 4% growth for the Asian market, 2% growth for Europe, and stagnation for North and South America.

Sadly, IPK predictions came true days after the launch, with a major tourist attack in Africa and the third one in six months in Turkey.

Reassuring statements from government bodies, travel promoters and destinations of “come to us, it is still safe“ may not offset travellers’ concerns. Anyone seeking to convince medical tourists that it is safe to go to a country that has been in the terror headlines needs to present a very strong argument.

Fear of terrorism is becoming an important factor in medical tourist choice, ranking with cost and quality of care. Turkey and Jordan are countries already feeling the impact.