Euro-based exchange rates and Brazilian economic woes created a slight headwind at an otherwise upbeat ipw this year. Or, it’s all about China. Despite a noble effort to put the best face on the 2015/16 season from Western Europe and Brazil—the two huge markets are experiencing currency difficulties this year—several Western European countries will be flat or down for the 2015/2016 season unless the Euro begins to gain strength. Receptive operators are reporting a 20-30 percent decrease already in Brazilian arrivals to key markets such as New York and Florida.
According to an analysis by Brand USA, it’s China, India, France and the UK that will continue to drive the growth necessary to grow from 75 million international visitors to its goal of 100 million in 2020. To reach that goal would require a 4.3 percent Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR); meanwhile, the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) has forecasted a3.4 percent CAGR. So Brand USA will continue to focus on the markets with the most growth potential—China and India.
So pervasive was the focus on China that it seemed to even seep into just about every press conference as one after another supplier announced new products—followed by their strategy for the China market. Apparently the China references became so all-encompassing that it was beginning to enervate some of the non-Chinese journalists who were accustomed to being the center of attention. Finally, one utterly exasperated Italian journalist blurted out. “I’m tired of hearing about China this and China that; what about those of us from Europe who’ve been loyally covering the U.S. and sending visitors for decades?” This drew a unexpected burst of applause from journalists who were clearly beginning to feel marginalized.