International traveling seems to be on the rise of late.
People around the world are interested in traveling internationally, and Americans in particular want to travel overseas. The U.S. is the world’s second largest outbound market, and grew by 6% in 2014, according to figures from the latest UNTWO World Tourism Barometer. Based on statistics from a survey by Choice Hotels, 11% of Americans are planning on visiting Europe this year. More than half of these survey respondents want to visit Europe’s historical sites, and 40% want to immerse themselves in European culture. UNTWO’s annual tourism report revealed that in 2014, 588 million international tourists visited Europe from all over the world. Instead of visiting Western Europe, many choose to visit Northern Europe and the Southern Mediterranean. Additionally, Asia and the Pacific are the fastest growing regions for international tourism, with 263 million visitors in 2014. International arrivals grew by 7% in South Asia and 6% in Oceania.
Millennials in particular are traveling more, and now represent 20% of international tourism, according to the World Youth Student and Education Travel Confederation. In 2012, millennials spent $217 billion on traveling, making them a significant demographic for the tourism industry. The Travel Confederation found that millennials are looking for an authentic cultural experience overseas. However, according to a study by the U.S. Travel Association, international travelers say that the two greatest challenges they face when traveling overseas are visa issues, and an unwelcoming arrival experience.
More people are also choosing to visit America from overseas. The United States’ share of total international arrivals was 6.4%. The U.S. received 62.3 million international arrivals in 2011, and approximately 27.9 million of those arrivals were from overseas. Most international travelers coming to the U.S. come from countries where English is not the first language. According to the study, 21 million travelers from China visited the U.S., while 13.4 million visited from Mexico. 3.2 million Japanese tourists and 1.8 million German tourists also visited the U.S. It’s been forecasted by the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Travel and Tourism Industries that the number of visitors from China will increase by 274% in 2016. Visits from Brazilians will increase by 135%, and visits from Russians by 131%.
International airports can make the traveling experience better for American visitors by having an easier arrival process. Airports can invest in card scanning technology so security agents can quickly verify the identities of Americans traveling internationally without worrying about language barriers.
A single ID scanning solution that can recognize passports from different countries can be very useful for places that get a lot of tourists from all parts of the world. Because so many people come to the U.S. from countries where English may not be widely spoken, international airports within the U.S. can benefit from technology that makes the arrival experience easier. ID verification solutions can cut down on long lines at the airport, and help international travelers get through security quickly. As international tourism increases around the world, airports should invest in making the arrival experience easier for all travelers.