By Thierry Malleret, economist
By Thierry Malleret, economist

 Over the past years, we have analysed the negative impact that the trifecta of “security concerns + political instability + terrorism threats” have had on various travel/wellness industries. But a look at markets like the UK and Turkey show that there is nothing “inevitable” about that trifecta, with some positive data indicating that it can be overcome.

Consider the UK: despite the series of terrorist attacks in March, May and June there, the revenue per available room (RevPAR) is rising faster in the UK than in the U.S. and the rest of Europe (8.7 percent in May). Also, the forward booking situation is bullish for the UK as a whole. For July and August, advance bookings for London (which represent 85 percent of all international travel to the UK) were up 12 percent compared to last year at the same date, but down from 16 percent just prior to the London Bridge attack. All in all and very tentatively, the positive effect of the GPB depreciation seems to supersede the negative effect of concerns about terrorism.

The issue of “security concerns + political instability + terrorism threats” is, of course, a critical issue for the travel/wellness industries in the Middle East and the Levant. But if the recent revival in Turkish international tourism gains traction and becomes an enduring trend, this will tell us that there is nothing inevitable about the trifecta’s impact on tourism. Last year, the number of international travellers to Turkey dropped by about a third, to 25 million people (the lowest in ten years); but this year, tentative numbers point to a solid rebound. Turkey’s travel, tourism and wellness industry is not out of the woods yet, but there is a real glimmer of hope…

There is other evidence that terrorism risks and security concerns in northern Africa and the Middle East are spurring a wave of tourism inflows in other Mediterranean countries perceived as safer, like Croatia and Slovenia, most of it in the high-end wellness segment. To provide a sense of perspective, last year Croatia, a country of 4.2 million people, welcomed an incredible 16.3 million tourists (91 million guest-nights), a 14 percent increase compared to the year before.

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