The evolution of tourism is one of the great challenges of the sector. Projections on the growth of tourists and on the evolution of the habits of the traveler are a widespread practice throughout the history of tourism. With more or less success, from different business and public levels, attempts have been made to predict the future scenario of the sector as a way to maintain confidence and justify the importance and weight that tourism has, and is expected to have, in almost all major economies
It is known that the international scene has undergone a radical turn during the last 10 years at all levels (economic, social, environmental and political) that has hindered and put in between the figures of evolution of the sector at every minute. We move in such a volatile scenario that a security problem in a great Mediterranean destination, can generate levels of distrust and insecurity in international operators that have a positive effect in the form of diverting the flow of potential tourists to others competing areas Or even that a natural catastrophe in one area causes the transfer of tourists to another area of similar characteristics and thereby alters the expected results for that year.
A complicated environment, without a doubt, to which we must add the constant change of the habits of the traveler: more experienced, more informed, with more offer, more channels to access the offer, more possibilities to reinforce the previous phase and decision of the destination,…,. And an environment in which the role of low-cost companies grows like foam in the impulse or contraction of tourist destinations.
The fact is that, despite all this, tourism maintains very positive growth prospects in the future horizon, already set in the year 2020. Practicing tourism will continue to be one of the main activities among the world population, one of the priorities among consolidated and developing societies, where China and India are positioned first as the main potential drivers of tourism growth worldwide. If we look at the information published by the newspaper Expansión we will find the keys to reach such an optimistic tourist horizon:
According to estimates by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals will grow between 3% and 4% in 2010, reaching between 906 million and 915 million travelers. Gone will therefore be the negative stage of 2009.
The evolution reflects an exponential increase: 25 million international tourists in 1950, 277 million in 1980, 438 million in 1990, 681 million in 2000 ... up to 880 million travelers in 2009.
In the next decade, according to the UNWTO, the sector will double the current number of international tourists, reaching close to 1.6 billion travelers in the year 2020. In the next ten years international tourism will add almost as many new customers as those obtained in recent six decades
China and India will be the new global powers of the future. This new multipolar world will have an almost symmetrical reflection in the business field. And the power of both Asian giants will also be evident in tourism.
Europe will maintain its undisputed global leadership for the moment. In 2020 it will continue to be the region with the highest number of international tourists, with 717 million, which gives it a 46% share of the world market, according to UNWTO forecasts
However, despite the firmness of the figures and the conviction of the entire sector that now more than ever tourism is the activity of the future and that we are moving towards a more tourist society than ever, in supply and demand.