News & Views

Four Tourism Research Reports That Could Transform Your 2019 Strategies

The travel industry is experiencing a moment of impressive growth and momentum— largely thanks to the increasingly globalized world. As the industry grows, it is shaped by the precarious nature of both global affairs and new technology. Therefore, it is essential for travel professionals to remain alert, flexible and innovative. To help industry leaders stay on top of emerging information, we’ve summarized a handful of relevant tourism research reports.


1. Mastercard’s 2018 Global Destinations Cities Index:

This study is a statistical analysis of tourism’s major trends, giving insight on the direction of the industry. In this report, Mastercard reveals that Bangkok, London and Paris hosted the highest number of international visitors in 2017. For those destinations– and countless others– Mastercard uses key data points, such as length of stay, average spending and projected 2018 growth rates, to paint a broader picture. Mastercard highlights that these top cities can teach the tourism industry a few lessons, such as the importance of integrated, reliable infrastructure, the high value in distinct business and leisure attractions and the importance of maintaining local authenticity and culture.

Mastercard closes out their tourism research report by highlighting the success of destinations with memorable, authentic experiences. Additionally, the report suggests cities will see better results if they simplify urban amenities, (such as public transit, financial technology, internet hotspots and access to basic needs) and if they offer a high level of support to consumers as they plan itineraries.

Learn more about the report here.


2. UNWTO’s 2017 Annual Report:

Similar to Mastercard’s report, the UNWTO’s 2017 Annual Report analyzes a large range of data points and emphasizes key themes in the travel industry. In particular, this report uncovers that the global tourism industry has grown an average of 4% per year for 8 consecutive years—showcasing the spectacular growth that the travel scene is experiencing.

The data from the UNWTO 2017 Annual Report suggests that destinations who attract Chinese and American tourists will benefit from the highest financial returns, for these two groups are the highest spending travelers. Chinese tourists spent a total of $258 billion in 2017 and American tourists spent $135 billion.

Curious how your destination can better attract specific tourists? Check out this DCI blog which outlines how to optimize your community for Canadian travelers.

Aside from the data, the UNWTO report included a powerful focus on environmental protection and sustainability, as 2017 was dubbed “The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.” Under this theme, the UNWTO suggests leveraging the shared economy as well as new technologies to mitigate the negative impacts of the travel industry.

Learn more about the report here.


3. Skift’s Reports on the Rise of the Asian Traveler:

As two emerging world leaders, China and India are beginning to alter the foundations of the travel industry. Destinations, enterprises and attractions are racing to keep up with their preferences in hopes of gaining access to their business.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is doing so by integrating Mandarin into their exhibit materials and hiring Mandarin-speaking tour guides. The museum doesn’t stop there—they’re building relationships with Chinese-Americans who live in San Francisco, with the intention that the local Chinese community will recommend the museum as a site to see when they have relatives and friends from China in town. Additionally, the museum is pitching at trade shows and webinars tailored towards the Chinese consumer.

Chinese and Indian tourists alike are provoking a shift in local businesses and financial technology. As the CEO of Alipay explains, the Chinese residents don’t carry cash or cards—they prefer to pay through their phone. Similarly, Indian’s have shown an affinity for mobile paying apps ever since Prime Minister Modi’s demonetization policy in 2016. For attractions and businesses who want to maximize their profits from Chinese and Indian tourists, it will be vital to integrate this new technology into their day-to-day operations. Additionally, companies should tap into the cultural nuances of these two rising countries, such as the extravagance of Indian weddings.

Learn more about the reports here.


4. U.S. Travel Association’s Made in America: Travel’s Essential Contribution to Economic Development

As international tourism to the United States decreases, the U.S. Travel Association writes with a sense of urgency as the travel industry supports many aspects of destinations— such as their economy. This report, written in partnership with DCI, suggests that destination marketers may be a powerful antidote

Through a series of case studies, this tourism research shows that when destinations invest in their travel industry, there is a downstream impact on the entire community. These benefits can include decreased local taxes, increased funding for essential public services, attraction of long-term talent and bolstered communication in the face of disaster.

Interestingly, this report exemplifies that when destinations invest in their tourism industry, the downstream benefits are not just technical, but felt on a community level as well. Destination marketers emphasize existing community-pride and can help to create a more unifying identity in the region. Additionally, these agencies are champions for small businesses, who often represent the unique qualities of communities that they are working with.

Overall, this report shows the dynamic strengths of destination marketing agencies. The countless examples suggest that as inbound travel to the United States takes a down turn, it may be the best time for destinations to invest in place marketing services.

Learn more about the report here.


At DCI, the research team has a passion for sharing statistical insights to prompt new ideas and refine old strategies. Did some of this emerging tourism research shift your thinking? Share your reactions with us on twitter @AboutDCI

Interested in how DCI collaborates with our clients to increase visitors and business inquiries?

Get In Touch
We have updated our Privacy Policy to include GDPR. If you continue we will assume that you agree to our privacy policy.