City breaks beat sun and beach

SINGPAPORE, 20 September 2018: City trips worldwide grew four times as fast as the total international holiday market over the past 10 years, according to preliminary findings of the World Travel Monitor from IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin.

For years, city trips have been the fastest-growing segment of the international leisure travel market as Europeans, Asians, North and South Americans head for attractive city destinations in nearby countries as well as overseas.

In worldwide terms, no other form of outbound holiday has grown so strongly in the last decade. Compared to holiday trips in general, city trips grew nearly four times as much in this period.

Since 2007, international city trips have tripled their volume reaching 190 million in 2017. This volume results in city breaks being the number one holiday type worldwide for the first time. Hence, city trips overtook Sun and Beach holidays, which has been the dominating holiday type for years.

Cheap flights and new accommodation types, like sharing accommodation, are driving the growth in city trips.

The growth in city trips is partly driven by travellers from Asia-Pacific and South America, where the number of city breaks has multiplied by around four to five times in the past 10 years. In Asia/Pacific, city trips have surpassed tour holidays as the most preferred holiday type.

Driving the trend are Chinese, Koreans and Japanese going on international city trips, mainly within Asia. But city trips by Europeans more than doubled since 2007, World Travel Monitor figures show. This lower growth rate compared to the other regions is due to the already high volume of international city trips undertaken by Europeans.

In contrast, in North America the outbound city trip segment more than tripled in the past decade.

Worldwide, the most popular country destination for international city trips in 2017 were the United States, followed by Germany, France, Great Britain and Spain.

Together, these five destinations received around 35% of all international city breaks in 2017. Looking at the different continents, nearly 60% of all foreign city trips have Europe as their destination, around one fourth go to Asia-Pacific, followed by North and South America, while Africa ranks fifth.

In terms of income, city breaks are mostly a holiday type for well-off travellers. According to the World Travel Monitor, around 50% of city tourists are in the upper income class, while two-thirds belong to the upper education group.

In 2017, the average spend per person, per night, on a foreign city trip was around EUR170, including all costs. With a share of around 70%, air travel was the preferred transportation type to reach the destination. About 70% of city visitors’ book hotel accommodation. However other accommodation types are increasing, especially sharing accommodation. Within the hotel segment, budget hotel stays are declining, while first class hotels are experiencing steady growth.

Top motivators for city breaks are visiting objects of interest and sightseeing, but city’s ambience, shopping, museums, exhibitions and good food were also high on the list.

IPK International CEO, Rolf Freitag, will present the final results of the World Travel Monitor for the entire year 2018, as well as the latest forecasts for 2019, during the ITB Berlin Convention.

Findings are based on 500,000 representative interviews in more than 60 travel markets worldwide. Regularly conducted for more than 20 years, the research is recognised as the largest continuous study into global travel patterns.

ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention 2019 will take place Wednesday, 6 to Sunday, 10 March, and from Wednesday to Friday will be open to trade visitors only.