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Home to half of the world's top 10 trending tourism destinations, Asia Pacific is making a comeback: Mastercard Economics Institute on travel in 2024

2024/5/16 15:17:08

SINGAPORE, May 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The global travel sector is breaking boundaries in 2024 as consumer spending on tourism remains robust and passenger traffic soars, according to the latest report from the Mastercard Economics Institute (MEI). Released today, the MEI's fifth annual report, "Travel Trends 2024: Breaking Boundaries" provides comprehensive insights into the evolving landscape of the travel industry across 74 markets, including 13[1] in the Asia Pacific region (APAC).

Mastercard Economics Institute: APAC is now home to half of the world’s top 10 trending tourism destinations.
Mastercard Economics Institute: APAC is now home to half of the world’s top 10 trending tourism destinations.

Despite fluctuating exchange rates and varying levels of affordability, travel is booming, with nine out of the last 10 record-setting spending days in the global cruise and airline industries occurring this year[2]. Looking ahead, the MEI anticipates this momentum will continue as consumers around the world prioritize meaningful experiences and allocate more of their budgets to travel. 

Drawing on a unique analysis of aggregated and anonymized Mastercard transaction data, including Mastercard SpendingPulse™ and third-party data sources, the report takes a deep dive into key tourism trends for 2024 and beyond. Here in the Asia Pacific region, a few themes stand out, including: 

APAC destinations are trending in a big way, comprising half of the top 10 hot spots that have demonstrated the greatest momentum among travelers. This is measured and ranked by the change in share of tourism transactions over the past 12 months ending March 2024.

"Consumers in the Asia Pacific region have an intense desire and willingness to travel and are becoming increasingly savvy to ensure they get the best value and unforgettable experiences from their trips," said David Mann, chief economist, Asia Pacific, Mastercard. "For tourism authorities, retailers, the hospitality and F&B sectors, the bottom line is that costs matter. In today's economy, foreign exchange rates and spending power have become vital components in driving a traveler's assessment of value when they are making their plans. This suggests that businesses targeting tourism dollars need to review their current strategies, and shift them if necessary, to maintain their appeal to travelers."

Summer holiday hot spots (June-Aug 2024[4])

While Japan was the top trending destination during the last 12 months[5], looking ahead, Munich ranks as the #1 summer destination (in terms of share gain in flight bookings) due to its hosting of the UEFA EURO 2024 football championship in June. Tokyo comes in a close second while Bali (#6) and Bangkok (#7) are also among the top 10 cities where demand is gaining momentum in the next three months.  

Chinese Mainland Domestic Tourism Rebounds While Outbound Travel Continues to Recover

The Chinese Mainland's travel dynamic has shifted, as more Chinese tourists prioritize domestic trips over international ones.

More Indians are Traveling Than Ever Before

Strengthened by a burgeoning middle class, additional route capacity, and a strong desire to travel, 2024 marks the year when more Indians are traveling internationally than at any time in history.

Leisure for Longer

Thrill Seekers Want Experiences and Nightlife

Consumers globally continue to prioritize experiences over material goods. This is playing out in the travel sector as spending on experiences and nightlife totals 12% of tourism sales – the highest point in at least five years. Meanwhile, retail shopping is recovering at a slower pace.

Casual Trumps Luxury for Fashion and Food 

Tourists today prefer laid-back vibes, except in spots where luxury retail and fine dining provide exceptional value for money.

"Amidst the evolving tourism landscape and continuing surge in travel throughout 2024, the Mastercard Economics Institute aids businesses and policymakers in translating macroeconomic forces and data insights into actionable strategies at the country, category, and company levels, in addition to counseling on possible scenarios and the implications they have on demand," added Mann.

Explore the full Travel 2024: Breaking Boundaries report here. Additional reports and insights from the Mastercard Economics Institute can be found here.

[1] Australia, Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand.

[2] MEI analysis of aggregated, anonymized switched consumer volumes (nominal USD unadjusted for FX) through March 2024.

[3] MEI analysis of Thailand Department of Tourism visitor arrival data through the end of February 2024.

[4] MEI analysis of aggregated & anonymized Mastercard leisure flight booking data provided by third party partners.

[5] MEI analysis of aggregated & anonymized Mastercard leisure travel related switched transactions.

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About Mastercard Economics Institute 

Mastercard Economics Institute launched in 2020 to analyze macroeconomic trends through the lens of the consumer. A team of economists, analysts and data scientists draws on Mastercard insights - including Mastercard SpendingPulse™ - and third-party data to deliver regular reporting on economic issues for key customers, partners and policymakers.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA), 

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.






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