Tourism Tech Report 2020

Author: Sylvia Pavlova MBA, Co-Founder PrEXCELerator Bulgaria

Zoom out to Global Tourism before Covid-19
In 2019 Tourism was ‘a true global force for economic growth and development’ ( UNWTO, 2019 ) and international tourism outpaced for a consecutive year the global economy. 2018 was the 9 th consecutive year of sustained growth. And 2019 was not an exception.

Tourism contributed to 1/10 of world’s jobs; 10.4 % of world’d GDP and 30 % of service exports ( UNWTO, 2018 ) which made it the second fastest growing industry in the world. In 2019 tourism grew faster than merchandise trade generating USD 5 billion per day in exports.

‘Driven by a relatively strong global economy, a growing middle class in emerging economies, technological advances, new business models, affordable travel costs and visa facilitation, international tourist arrivals grew 5% in 2018 to reach the 1.4 billion mark. This figure was reached two years ahead of UNWTO forecast.’ ( UNWTO, 2019 )

Let’s talk in figures about each of these factors:

Number 1 factor was the favourable economic environment which reached +3,6 % 2018 global GDP and the low interest rates.

Next came the strong demand for air travel with +6 % in international passenger traffic and stable fuel prices at -60 % fares as compared to their 1998 levels.

Digital technologies have been constantly transforming the travellers’ experience, as AI becomes one of the most wide-spread technologies from virtual assistants to hyper-personalized customer experience.

And the fourth factor is related to the rise of eVisas and visas on arrival.

In 2019 Europe accounted for 51 % of the world’s international travel. 58 % of travellers chose air mode of transport, and 56 % travel for leisure; 27 % – for health, religion; and 13 % for business. Figures don’t differ much for 2018.

Zoom in to Central & Eastern Europe tourism state before Covid-19

In 2018 1 tourists’ arrivals grew with +5 % compared to +4 % in Western Europe and +8 % in Southern & Mediterranean Europe. This CEE tourism growth in 2018 marked an 8.8 % increase compared to 2017. ( UNWTO, 2019 )

As for the international tourist arrivals, the CEE world market share in 2017 was 10 % just the same as North America’s. In 2018 the CEE market share in Europe’s tourism was 19.9, and the region’s global market share was 10.1 % (again equal to North America’s).

Zoom in to Bulgaria tourism as part of CEE before Covid-19

In 2018 Bulgaria marked a 7.1 % increase in international tourist arrivals as compared to 2017.

Both in 2017, and 2018 Bulgaria kept its stable positions at 1.3 % of Europe’s tourism market share in international tourist arrivals, with +4.4 % increase on a yearly basis (2018 compared to 2017), and +7.6 % increase in 2017 as compared to 2016. ( UNWTO, 2019 | UNWTO, 2018 )

In 2017-2019 Bulgaria had a 3 % GDP annual growth, and the unemployment rate was below 5 %. These trends are definitely affected negatively by the pandemics. See the elaborated analysis of Elitza Stoilova, CEO in Tourism and Technologies in Bulgaria below.

Then came Covid-19.

“Crisis can be… a catalyst or can speed up changes that are on the way — it almost
can serve as an accelerant.”
( CBInsights, 2020 )

► Read the full analysis in BULGARIA: Tourism Tech Mapping Report 2020 – the 1 st report on Bulgarian Tourism Tech solutions.

Following 29 Sept. 2020, the Report will be available for free downloading here .

The official presentation of the Report results will be on 29.09.2020 | 18:30 – 20:00 | Sofia, Metropolitan Hotel

Reserve your seat at . Seats are limited to 20.

We reserve our right to convert the event from physical to digital depending on circumstances.