Home / Australia / The Wrap: Middle East, Asia and the Pacific led growth in international tourism for H1 2019

The Wrap: Middle East, Asia and the Pacific led growth in international tourism for H1 2019

News Roundup: State of international tourism for first half of 2019 unveiled
by the World Tourism Council, Flight Centre Travel Group’s recently opened new
division caters to B2B market, Amadeus’ agreement with Hertz for worldwide
distribution of rental cars and rates

Destinations: Middle East, Asia and the Pacific led growth in international tourism for H1 2019

Asian destinations, like the Chinese city of Shanghai, are seeing healthy growth in tourist arrivals.
(Image credit: zhuyufanGetty Images )

International tourist arrivals grew 4% from January to June 2019, compared to the same period last year, with the biggest growth from the Middle East (+8%), Asia and the Pacific (both +6%), according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer released by the World Tourism Council.

Europe saw a 4% increase in its tourist arrivals, while Africa (+3%) and the Americas (+2%) enjoyed more moderate growth.

Destinations worldwide received 671 million international tourists between January and June 2019, almost 30 million more than in the same period of 2018 and a continuation of the growth recorded last year.

“Growth in arrivals is returning to its historic trend and is in line with UNWTO’s forecast of 3% to 4% growth in international tourist arrivals for the full year 2019, as reported in the January Barometer,” the UNWTO said.

According to the tourism body, the drivers of these results to a strong economy, affordable air travel, increased air connectivity and enhanced visa facilitation.

In breaking down the regional performances, UNWTO attributed the strong tourism growth in the Middle East to “a positive winter season” and also to an increase in demand during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in May and Eid Al-Fitr in June.

For Asia and the Pacific, tourist arrivals were fuelled largely by Chinese outbound travel. Growth was led by South Asia and North-east Asia (both +7%), followed by South-east Asia (+5%) with arrivals in Oceania increased by 1%.

The association, however, pointed out that “weaker economic indicators, prolonged uncertainty about Brexit, trade and technological tensions and rising geopolitical challenges have started to take a toll on business and consumer confidence, as reflected in a more cautious UNWTO Confidence Index.”

Trade tensions and economic uncertainty have also led to mixed results from source market, with performances uneven across major tourism outbound markets.

• Chinese outbound tourism (+14% in trips abroad) continued to drive arrivals in many destinations in the region during the first half of the year though spending on international travel was 4% lower in real terms in the first quarter. Trade tensions with the US as well as the slight depreciation of the yuan, may influence destination choice by Chinese travellers in the short term.

• Among the Asian markets, spending from Japan (+11%) was strong while the Republic of Korea spent 8% less in the first half of 2019, partly due to the depreciation of the Korean won. Australia spent 6% more on international tourism.

• Outbound travel from the US, the world’s second largest spender, remained solid (+7%), supported by a strong dollar. In Europe, spending on international tourism by France (+8%) and Italy (+7%) was robust, though the United Kingdom (+3%) and Germany (+2%) reported more moderate figures.

• The Russian Federation saw a 4% decline in
spending in the first quarter, following two years of strong rebound. Spending
out of Brazil and Mexico were down 5% and 13% respectively, partly reflecting
the wider situation of the two largest Latin American economies.

Travel: Flight Centre Travel Group creates new division to service the B2B market

The Travel Junction caters to the B2B market

Australia’s largest retail travel outlet, Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), has opened a new a new division to meet the ne of the B2B travel market with direct access to the travel company’s broad range of contracted products.

The division, The Travel Junction – Connecting You, has been developed to act as an intermediary linking travel sellers outside of the traditional Flight Centre retail brands to the product powerhouse of the global procurement business with direct contracts in hotels, tours, experiences and cruise.

James Whiting, general manager
of The Travel Junction, said the new division offered
a connectivity service for B2B businesses to access the company’s specialised,
highly valued range of travel products across wide reaching markets that may
not have been feasible to access previously. 

It also offers a single distribution point to guide the company’s partners through the entire product journey, he added.

“The key focus is on minimising the current
disadvantages seen within the market today and being caretakers for the end to
end customer experience, from supplier to end traveller.”.

The brand will be “the face of FCTG’s strategic move into the world of product accessibility for businesses outside of the group,” said Whiting.

Ground Transport: Amadeus offers Hertz inventory and rates to agents worldwide

More choice of rental cars from Hertz for agents and travellers
(Image credit: Povozniuk/Getty Images)

Amadeus and The Hertz Corporation have entered into a new deal that will see the latter distribute its worldwide inventory of rental fleet and rates to travel agencies and travellers across its Hertz, Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty and Firefly brands.

Travel advisors
will have access to Hertz’s approximately 10,200 corporate and franchisee
locations throughout North America, Europe, The Caribbean, Latin America,
Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Through this agreement, Hertz will gain access to Amadeus’s suite of digital media and business products to reduce cost and improve fleet management. Amadeus Revenue Integrity will process Hertz reservations to identify potential duplicate and non-productive reservations.

“This will allow
Hertz to release inventory that will not be rented and resell it,” said Amadeus
in a statement. 

Hertz is also the first vehicle rental provider to leverage open technology
through XML to offer options and features with more agility.

 “Our goal in mobility is to help car rental providers personalise their offers in the most dynamic way possible and to distribute their content and fares through the Amadeus Travel Platform with accuracy, flexibility and speed,” said Peter Altmann, head of mobility and Insurance at Amadeus.

• Featured image credit (Balloons flight over Cappadocia Valley in Turkey): frantic00/Getty Images