BRIC countries: Russia leads the rankings for trips abroad

ITB Berlin and IPK International present an analysis of the dynamic developments and outbound travel volume of the BRIC countries in a five-year comparison – Among the BRIC countries outbound trips have grown at different rates: Russia leads, followed by China, while Brazil and India lag far behind

Berlin, 30 July 2012 – They all display dynamic economic growth but in terms of trips abroad the picture is different for each country. When it comes to travelling abroad and their economic situation the so-called BRIC countries* display no similarities. Neither China and Brazil, the economic powerhouses of the BRIC countries, nor China and India, the most populous in this group, generate the largest volume of trips abroad – instead it is Russia that leads the ranking in this category. According to a special analysis of the World Travel Monitor commissioned by ITB Berlin, there is no correlation between trips abroad, economic prosperity and population density. Russia is the most sparsely populated of these countries and its economy ranks third, but in terms of outbound travel the Russians come first. They undertake 1.3 times as many trips as the Chinese, 3.4 times as many as Indians, and 4.6 times as many trips as Brazilians.

In terms of growth in outbound trips Russia also ranks first. Five years ago 15.9 million Russians and 13 million Chinese went on trips abroad. According to the latest surveys, 23.8 million Russians and 18.3 million Chinese (not counting trips to Hong Kong and Macau, which remain the most popular destinations) travel abroad. During the period surveyed Russian lust for travel rose by 50 per cent, as opposed to a 41 per cent increase among Chinese.

As far as outbound travel from India and Brazil is concerned these BRIC countries lag a relatively long way behind. At 7 million trips abroad, India’s total exceeds that of Brazil (5.2 million trips). However, developments in these countries over the last five years show India growing by 30 per cent (previously 5.4 million trips abroad in 2006) and Brazil expanding by 85 per cent (in 2006 Brazilians undertook only 2.8 million trips abroad). By comparison, Brazil’s figures may indeed be lower and its economic growth less than India’s, but the Brazilian market is the more dynamic of the two. Looking at China and Russia, despite reporting a high outbound volume for many years, Russia’s growth rate is higher than China’s. Thus no parallels can be drawn between economic developments and the number of trips abroad, as China has the highest economic growth rate.

At close to three billion, despite the population of the BRIC countries being nearly six times larger than that of the EU (around 500 million), these countries’ citizens still travel abroad considerably less. In 2011 they undertook 54 million trips abroad, approximately six times less than EU citizens (345 million). Overall, however, the volume of travel abroad in the BRIC countries continues to grow. Five years ago the citizens of the BRIC countries undertook nine times less trips abroad than Europeans.

Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin: “The tourism figures for the BRIC countries, in particular for Russia, are very promising for the tourism industries of the host countries and destinations. They show that the BRIC countries are now catching up, not only economically but as well in terms of outbound trips. This is a process that will no doubt continue.“

*As the period surveyed was from 2007 to 2011 it was not possible to include South Africa (i.e. BRIC instead of BRICS). You can follow ITB Berlin on You can Follow IPK Internartional on

About Alex Kornfeind

Destination Strategy Manager and Marketer. Awarded in 2003 with the Piazza Mercanti from Confcommercio President Dr. Sangalli, in 2005 he became a member of the Advisory Board SMAU05. In 2010 he won the contest "Multichannel Communication Strategies", organized by the Politecnico di Milano, with the Dutch Tourism Board. Teacher since 1999, he has a Master in Management of eBusiness at Politecnico di Milano. Publications: "The mobile tourism. From opportunity to undisputed reality", co-author Francesca Ghersinich. Publisher: Risposte Turismo. Destination Manager e Strategy Marketer. Premiato nel 2003 con il Piazza Mercanti dal Presidente Confcommercio Dottor Sangalli nel 2005 è membro dell'Advisory Board SMAU05. Nel 2010 è vincitore del contest “Strategie di Comunicazione Multicanale”, indetto dal Politecnico di Milano, con il cliente Ente del Turismo Olandese. Docente dal 1999 vanta un Master in Management dell’eBusiness del Politecnico di Milano. Pubblicazioni “Il turismo mobile. Da opportunità a realtà indiscussa" co-autrice Francesca Ghersinich. Editore: Risposte Turismo.

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