On the occasion of World Tourism Day, Ipsos carried out a 12-country study on the perceptions of tourism, revealing a stark contrast between beliefs and reality relating to the perceived economic contribution of tourism, the expectations of leisure travel, and concerns about environmental impact.
The impact of tourism on local economies
56% of respondents across 12 countries consider tourism to be important to their country’s economy. When the proportion of those who think it is “very important” is compared with the share of GDP that is owed to inbound tourism according to the UNWTO, it appears that there isn’t any real correlation between the perception of tourism’s importance and its actual contribution to GDP: Norwegians, Poles and Australians tend to underestimate the importance of tourism while all others tend to overstate it, except for the French who seem to appreciate it proportionately with its real importance.
61% across 12 countries acknowledge that tourism stimulates economic growth and 60% that it creates jobs. The downside most often associated with tourism is that it can cause environmental damage (21%), particularly in Norway (33%) where the country’s unique natural landscape has historically been its main tourist attraction.
Diverse travel expectations and cultural nuances in global tourism trends
If relaxation is what most people expect from travel for leisure (68%), there are interesting differences among nations: Japanese tourists thus put experiencing local cuisine on top of their expectations (60%), while Indians are the most likely to travel to attend a special event (58%). Curiosity about other cultures is the highest in Brazil (70%), while the two nations most likely to look for something new, South Africa (78%) and France (77%), are also the ones where domestic travel prevails and outbound tourism is thus more than in other places a quest for something that can’t be found at home.
After a decline in 2022, the desire to visit nations has increased to record-high levels in 2023. Want to know more about how tourism ranks in the key drivers to visit a country? Watch out for the coming up release of the new Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index (NBI).
About the study
These are the findings of a 12-country survey conducted by Ipsos on its Ipsos.Digital platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 6 000 adults between 1st and 15th September 2023 in Australia, Brazil, Denmark, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.