Celebrating World Tourism Day: “One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities"

Noah Tratt, Global Senior Vice President
September 28, 2015

Every year the United Nations organizes World Tourism Day on September 27, which aims to foster awareness among the international community on the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values. This year the theme is “One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities” (our industry has never lacked ambition). According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) tourism highlights this year, international tourist arrivals grew by more than four percent and generated $1.5 trillion in export earnings in 2014 – plus UNWTO forecasts a three to four percent growth in international tourist arrivals in 2015. As we look out over the next 15 years, UNWTO expects growth to steadily continue, especially as arrivals in new destinations are forecasted to increase at twice the rate of those in advanced economies between 2010 to 2030.

As a proud member of the travel industry, we wanted to see what our data shows are the top destinations with the highest year over year tourism growth. In looking at our Expedia US data in the first half of 2015, we found that overall the top four places that had the highest number of flight demand included Cancun, MX; San Juan, PR; Punta Cana, DR and London, UK. Interestingly, when looking at what we can consider emerging destinations, half of the top 20 with the greatest percentage increase in travelers are to less well-known islands—such Iceland, Seychelles, New Zealand, Grenada, and others—based on percentage of growth between the first half of 2014 and 2015. This trend in particular could indicate what we are already seeing with up and coming generations of travelers (such as HENRYs) who are looking for experiences and adventures off the beaten path, in pristine places outside of the mainstream.

In today’s digital age, social and video play a big role in raising awareness of destinations and crafting compelling experiences that entice travelers. Travel is a very personal and emotional journey, and these tools help marketers create a vivid picture so that travelers can really get a feel for a place as they dream, research, and book their trip. For instance, we recently partnered with Visit Denmark and Bermuda Tourism to help them reach younger audiences in new ways through interactive videos where viewers can choose their own travel adventure as they experience a day in Copenhagen or Bermuda.

With the wealth of information and accessibility to online content, established and emerging destinations are better equipped than ever to drive awareness, create new jobs and build more sustainable societies through tourism. What a great thing to celebrate.


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Noah Tratt
Global Senior Vice President
As global senior vice president of Expedia Media Solutions, Noah Tratt oversees all facets of the business including product development and execution, engineering, operations, media sales and business development for the Expedia, Inc. brands. Noah has overseen thousands of digital marketing partner initiatives and has significantly grown the Expedia Media Solutions business over the past several years. With more than two decades of marketing and sales experience, Noah has worked at Microsoft and Xylo, and launched Daily Rocket, a tech startup acquired by Fiserv. He joined Expedia, Inc. in 2002 to lead the car rental business, and later served as vice president of supplier strategy for Expedia Corporate Travel. Noah currently is an officer of the U.S. Travel Association, serving as secretary, and is also a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Digital and Social Media Marketing. He has been recognized as one of HSMAI’s Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing, and was inducted into the ClickZ Digital Marketing Hall of Fame. Noah is a graduate of Brown University, and lives with his family in Seattle.
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