The Global Luxury Travel Ecosystem 2019

  • According to a new report released by ILTM and Barton, in collaboration with Wealth-X, the Global Luxury Travel Ecosystem - a complex mixture of food & drink, cultural activities, wellness, sporting events, performance arts and outdoor pursuits that make up the ‘experience economy’ of travel – is worth an estimated $1.54trn a year.

  • This $1.54trn is the total spent on Ecosystem activities by domestic and international travellers - but exclusive of all lodging and airfares. If this Ecosystem were a country, it would rank in the world’s top fifteen economies. 

  • The report, powered by Wealth-X data, reveals that the Outbound (international travellers) Ecosystem is around 23% of the total, at $347bn. Outbound HNW travellers (those with more than $1m in wealth) – the archetypal ‘luxury travellers’ - contribute 37% of this ($130bn), despite being only 0.3% of the global population. There are an estimated 22.8m individuals globally with more than $1m and this group control over $94trn in wealth – which is almost $10trn more than total annual global GDP.

  • The report also uncovers that HNWs as a whole contribute an estimated 44% of the annual Outbound travel spend ($113.8bn) on Food & Drink experiences and 41% of the Outbound Wellness spend ($9.6bn), emphasising their great attraction to these activities, and the enormous experiential value that they bring.

  • These wealthy individuals are increasingly conscious when it comes to travel. Influenced by knowledge of their travel’s impact on the environment and local communities, they are choosing places to stay and travel pursuits within the Ecosystem which have strong sustainability pledges and which minimise the impact of their arrival and presence.

  • Though HNW individuals are a group of focus for luxury travel businesses and advisors, the 63% of spend on the Outbound Luxury Travel Ecosystem by non-HNW individuals – a far larger audience in population – shows that experiences are valued by all luxury travellers, whether genuinely wealthy or aspirational.

  • Download your copy of the report: Defining the Global Luxury Travel Ecosystem: In-Depth Analysis of the Size and Significance of the Global Experience Economy at


Thought leadership

Below are a select number of articles written by Barton Founder & Principal, and Luxury Society contributor, Winston Chesterfield:

The San Pellegrino effect: wealth, cuisine & travel

Luxury automobiles are here to stay

The post-luxury consumer

Luxury menswear: a star retail sector on the rise