Travel News | Global Tourism Booming, Expected to Fully Recover by 2024

May 22, 2024
By Carrie Li

The United Nations World Tourism Organization expects that by the end of this year, the number of international tourists will return to the levels seen before the pandemic. On April 17th, UNWTO Secretary-General Pololikashvili mentioned during a major tourism event at the UN General Assembly that the number of international tourists in 2023 nearly reached 90% of the pre-pandemic levels. It is anticipated that by the end of this year, these numbers will completely recover.【Source: Tourism Marketing Watch】

San Francisco Tourism Bureau Starts Roadshow in China

On April 12th, the San Francisco Tourism Bureau began a tour in Shanghai. Scott Beck, the President and CEO, shared that in 2023, San Francisco welcomed 23.1 million visitors, up 5.2% from the previous year. These visitors spent $8.8 billion, marking an 18% increase. Total spending related to tourism, including $494.6 million from event planners and exhibitors, grew by 20%, reaching $9.3 billion. Latest data from 2023 showed more than double the number of visitors from Japan, South Korea, and China.

Since 2019, China has become the top overseas market for tourists in San Francisco and San Mateo County, contributing $633.4 million. In 2023, the top five countries spending the most were China, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Canada. The top five countries with the most tourists were Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and India. China ranked sixth in tourist numbers, with around 208,300 visitors, a 176.3% increase from the previous year. It’s expected that by 2025, tourist spending will exceed the 2019 level, with tourist numbers recovering by 2026.【Source: Travel Agency News】

With the May Day Golden Week approaching, the United States has made it to the top three popular outbound destinations, just behind Japan and South Korea, according to visa data from Ctrip. The U.S. is the most popular long-haul travel destination.

Looking ahead to the tourism market in 2024, Scott Beck, President and CEO of the San Francisco Tourism Bureau is optimistic about the travel industry. He expects that by 2024, San Francisco will host 23.7 million tourists and spend $9.45 billion. Additionally, 2.36 million overseas tourists are projected to contribute $5 billion.

In addition to leisure travelers, business travel will play a significant role. In 2024, 25 events are scheduled at the Moscone Center, contributing over 480,000 hotel room nights. San Francisco’s overall hotel occupancy rate is expected to reach 65%, with the average revenue per available room increasing by 4.7% to $163.82.【Source: Wenlv】

New Zealand Tourism Board

Sichuan Airlines’ Return Is Significant for “Small Group” Chinese Tourists
In February 2024, 38,000 Chinese tourists visited New Zealand, marking a 74% recovery compared to the Spring Festival in 2019. CEO of the New Zealand Tourism Board, Rene de Monchy, noted a shift in Chinese tourist preferences towards smaller, high-value tour groups. These groups, typically consisting of 8-12 guests or large families, offer tailored experiences with their own transportation, combining the benefits of guided tours with the freedom of independent travel.【Source: Global News】

Abu Dhabi’s $10 Billion Tourism Plan

In 2023, Abu Dhabi’s tourism had a booming year, with nearly 24 million visitors. Hotels saw a 27% increase in occupancy, and international visitors rose by 54%, boosting the economy and contributing around AED 49 billion to the UAE’s GDP. Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) activities in Abu Dhabi grew by 44%, further driving up tourist numbers.

Recently, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism unveiled its Tourism Strategy 2030 to ensure sustainable development and position Abu Dhabi as a top global tourism destination. The plan aims to increase visitor numbers from nearly 24 million in 2023 to 39.3 million by 2030 (including both overnight and day visitors), with an average annual growth rate of 7%. It also intends to expand the number of hotel rooms from 34,000 in 2023 to 52,000 by 2030.【Source: Travel Agency News】

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