The UK tourism industry needs to target emerging middle classes and baby boomers from vast potential markets of China and India.
They are creating new patterns of travel demand in the West, and important new source markets in the East in the coming years, according to business advisory firm Deloitte
Chinese visitors to the UK are still relatively low at around 90,000 each year, with France, Italy and Germany proving more popular.
However, they stay a long time (on average 13 nights) and spend £1,300 during that time (compared to £550 on average for all visitors).
The UK is the third most preferred international destination for Indian tourists, who are forecast to number 50 million by 2020.
Global managing director of tourism, hospitality and leisure Alex Kyriakidis said: “As the global population is evolving, so the pockets of disposable income available for travel are shifting.
“Affluent baby boomers, the inventors of backpacking, are moving into retirement, living longer and are hungry for travel experiences.
“They have strong purchasing power, are interested in culture and are used to travel. They also have larger budgets than in their youth, making them the most desirable market demographic niche today.”
Speaking at the Abta Travel Matters conference, Kyriakidis added: “The middle classes in the emerging markets are expanding rapidly and most of the new entrants will come from China and India.
“Despite their disposable income lagging behind that of the West, international tourism from these two source markets will accelerate over the next few years.”
Amongst the baby boomers, those from the US are forecast to account for 60% of the nation’s wealth and 40% of spending by 2015.
Kyriakidis said: “Hospitality operators in the UK who understand the drives and needs of these growing demographics will reap the rewards and become the future leaders in the industry.
“In the UK, the 2012 London Olympic Games will provide arguably the greatest opportunity to launch holiday GB to the world.”
A survey of 115 tourism and hospitality companies by Deloitte found that 60% thought that London 2012 would result in an increase in demand for their services, with just 8% thinking it would lead to a decrease.
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