Travel Business News March 4-8



Updates from ITB

8 March 2019

Data and some other news from ITB Berlin (ITBB) exhibition held earlier this week:

-Another ITB due to be launched – India, from April 2020 – which will be ITB’s 3rd in Asia. We expect its Singapore-based ITB Asia will be recategorised ‘Asia Pacific’ after this year’s event.

-The travel technology segment space at ITBB grew +20%.

-5.5mn Germany residents took at least one cycling trip in 2018. Growth not given but ITBB said this was a record.

-Visa and Oxford Economics, via ITBB, estimate that the worldwide medical tourism business is worth US$100bn and forecast in 2025 it will be 25% higher.


WTTC reports on the UK and US

7 March 2019

WTTC* on the travel businesses in UK and US:


-Travel GDP growth +1% (we assume 1.0) in 2018, below its +6.2% in 2017, and below +3.9% 2018 world average. European Union (which includes UK*) +2.7%. WTTC adds that China was +7.3%, India +6.7%, Thailand +6% (6.0?).

-US$304bn (at US$1 to £0.77) (travel GDP?) in 2018. WTTC reports all other markets (except France) wrongly; we have corrected its data – US is US$156bn, China US$148bn, Japan US$359bn, Germany US$337bn. Below the UK are Italy US$269bn, France US$260bn, Spain US$206bn.

-UK 2018 visitor spend US$36.9bn -9.7%. This indicates that visitor spend represents about 12% of total travel GDP.

-Forecasts 2019 growth +1.4%, compared with world +3.6%, EU +2.4%.


-Travel in 2018 worth US$1595bn +2.2%, 7.8% of GDP.

-Visitor spend US$198.8bn -0.9%.

-‘Chinese travel’ (we presume WTTC means visitor arrivals in the US from residents in the China mainland, excluding Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) flat; +23% average annual growth rate over 2008-18.

-Visitors from China 4% share of US visitors, 11% share of visitor spend.


-A full report on this topic in our WYSK: What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

-WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council), a lobby group for the travel business, has its own methodology for calculating the turnover of the travel business including not just inbound, outbound, and domestic travel, but other industries involved in the business. For instance, if 0.5% of the world’s cars go into the car-rental business, that measure would be calculated into the turnover of the overall travel business.

  Unfortunately, WTTC is not always clear that its data is related to this grand total, and often its commentary appears to be related to just one sector – often, the inbound visitor business. In addition, it sometimes uses the terms ‘travel’ or ‘tourism’ alone; we cannot always determine if these mean something different from ‘travel & tourism’.

  WTTC’s name does not help – the ‘TT’ is ‘travel & tourism’, where we would define ‘travel’ as covering all segments of the travel business, with ‘tourism’ meaning ‘leisure travel’ to most observers, just one segment. This means that most people and bodies the WTTC lobbies may think they are discussing just inbound leisure travel.

  In addition, the group is so careless in its presentations that the professional observer is sometimes left to guess what WTTC’s research shows. We believe its presentations are in contrast with the professionalism of its research.

-At press time, WTTC had not answered our request for clarifications.

-WTTC does not clarify if it includes UK in these EU totals – because the UK is due to leave the EU end-March.


Europe’s city counts

6 March 2019

ECM (European Cities Marketing) on 2018 results*:

-City ‘tourism growth’ (we presume bednights in hotels in member cities) +1.9% – domestic +4.0%, international 0.0%. ECM says this is the first time since the 2008 economic crisis that domestic has grown faster. 2012-17 annual average growth rate +4.8%.

-Top performing cities and ranking unchanged – London top even with -8.7%, Paris +8.9%, Berlin +5.2%, Madrid +2.4%, Barcelona +2.7%.

-Main source markets US 12%, Germany 9%, UK 8%. Of the most important source markets, China was fastest +9.2%, US +6% (presumed 6.0), Japan +5.7%, France -2.3%. Italy +1.7%.


-A full report on this topic in our WYSK: What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.

-Preliminary data from 58 out of 121 cities, representing 435mn bednights.


STR on Brexit

5 March 2019

Some findings by STR (nee Smith Travel Research) on a survey on Brexit’s travel impact:

-61% said Brexit* was not affecting their 2019 travel plans, while 11% said it was. Brexit has had a greater impact on 17%  of British and 15% of European travellers.

-9% of UK travellers said they were less likely to go to Europe in 2019 due to Brexit, and 10% of Europeans said they are less likely to go to the UK.

-38% of Europeans said the Brexit issue had negatively affected their perception of the UK as a visitor destination.

-17% from the rest of the world said they would be less likely to travel to the UK in the future because of Brexit.


Brexit. Term now used loosely. It originally related to the referendum vote in the UK in June 2016 to leave the European Union, since fixed for March 2019. Some reports are written as though the exit has taken place (‘since Brexit’), but which therefore mean since the Brexit vote. But it is now also used to mean the actual exit (‘after Brexit’). The word is ‘BR’ for Great Britain, and ‘exit’ for that. Technically, then, ‘BR’ is wrong to describe the UK, whose formal name is the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. That NI is missed out of ‘Brexit’ is ironic in that NI is one of the three major problems in negotiating the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU.

-STR does not clarify if it includes UK in these EU totals – because the UK is due to leave the EU end-March.

-A full report on this topic in our WYSK: What-You-Should-Know monthly-report contains some important additional information, qualification, and analysis.


TBA Tracking: February travel stocks’ ups and downs

4 March 2019

Travel stock prices (US, Asia Pacific, Europe) in February. Airlines: biggest growth, China Southern +15%; biggest fall, Norwegian -53% (sic). Hotels: Shangri-La +10%, MGM -10%. Tech: eDreams +9%, Booking -11%. Others: Avis +35%, TUI -32%.

Previous month: Airlines: biggest growth, Southwest +24%; biggest fall, Norwegian -28%. Hotels: Wynn +32%, Shangri-La -12%. Tech: cTrip +25%, Trivago -2%. Others: Boeing +27%, Thomas Cook -5%.

TBA Travel Stocks Index: World 224, Asia Pacific 98, Europe 194, US 380. Index previous month: World 227, Asia Pacific 98, Europe 194, US 388.

NVTT (Net Value Travel Tech) Stocks Index: 124; previous month 125.

Stockmarkets. Biggest growth, Shanghai +12%; biggest fall, India -2%. Previous month: biggest growth Istanbul +12%; biggest fall Kuala Lumpur -0.1%.


-That shocking fall for Norwegian follows a -28% fall in January. It is now 67% below its end-2017 price. Technically, this fall is making it a cheaper buy for an investor. But would an investor be interested if it seems clear the airline’s business-model is not working?

-Although TUI fell most among Others, Malaysia’s Genting (quoted in Hong Kong) was not far behind, -26%. In fact, a fall for this leisure (include gambling) group, is unusual.

-Also rare to fall is Booking (née Priceline).

-One to watch is ICAG. Although down ‘only’ 10%, is this Brexit related? With three of its airlines based in the EU, it has British based in soon-to-be non-EU UK. For long ICAG has been saying that there would be no problem. Now, although it is still in partial denial, it is clear that some things will change. All options/changes are worse – if it deems current conditions are good.

-Shangri-La fastest hotel stock this month, but last it fell furthest!

Info from Travel Business Analyst. Details in next month’s editions of WYSK: What-You-Should-Know, published by Travel Business Analyst.



The Fox. Remember, I’m an industry expert in the parallel world.

*Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.