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What were the travel trends this summer? Ubigi’s annual barometer of travellers’ mobile data consumption.

Word Travel Market from 06 to 08 November 2023

What were the favourite destinations of travellers this year? Where did the foreign tourists come from? To coincide with the Word Travel Market 2023 trade fair, Ubigi, an international mobile operator, is looking back at the major trends in summer tourism in 2023 as part of of its barometer [1] devoted to studying the mobile data consumption of its users.

Ubigi markets eSIM prepaid data plans for more than 190 destinations. The eSIM (or virtual SIM card) meets the mobile internet needs of today’s travellers. It has been present in most mobile devices since 2018 and offers a practical solution without the disadvantages of roaming (high costs), unsecured public Wi-Fi networks (risk of hacking) and local SIM (constraining and doomed to disappear – evidenced by the launch on September 7 of the new iPhone 14 equipped exclusively with the eSIM in the United States).

Global travel trends

Data from July to September 2023

  • Japan is the flagship destination for summer 2023.
  • American tourists favoured Asia over Europe while the United States was a more
    popular travel destination.
  • “K-travel”: South Korea asserts itself as a fashionable destination by entering the top 10
  • France remains the preferred destination in Europe despite declining American
    For their part, French tourists have gone further afield (Asia, Africa, Middle East).
  • In Europe, interest in Portugal and the Nordic countries has increased.
  • Indonesia is once again becoming a coveted destination.
    NB: Chinese tourists are not included in the rankings because they do not have devices with an eSIM card. In addition, due to the conflict in Ukraine, Russian tourists are not represented in the rankings.

Key figures for Key figures for the United Kingdom

Data from July to September 2023

The United Kingdom is the second largest destination in Europe after France with a large
domestic and tourist market:

● 17% of Ubigi’s mobile data consumption over the period, all countries combined, was in the UK.

Ubigi data consumption in the UK between July and September 2023:

34% in local use by the Brits (up compared to summer 2022);

18% by US Americans (up compared to summer 2022);

17% by Japanese (sharp increase compared to summer 2022);

10% by Canadians (sharp increase compared to summer 2022).

Data consumption by the British from July to September 2023:

6.4GB of mobile data used on average by British users, +88% compared to last summer.

Looking at Ubigi mobile data consumption habits, it is possible to conclude that Britons
traveled abroad more this summer:

Top destinations for Brits: Japan, France, USA, Italy and Spain.

Emerging destinations: South Korea, Poland and Thailand.
18% by US Americans (up compared to summer 2022);

1. New countries on the podium of travellers’ favourite destinations

Japan is establishing itself as the trendy destination for summer 2023. Since its reopening to tourists at the end of 2022, Japan has experienced greater relative growth than other destinations. According to JNTO [2] as of July 2023, the number of international travellers to Japan increased by 1,505% compared to the previous year. The exorbitant roaming costs for this destination, the language barrier and the dependence on applications to geolocate, translate, convert currencies are all reasons which encourage the switch to eSIM connectivity.

South Korea is also benefiting from this trend by entering the Top 10.
In line with the expected 20% increase in tourists this summer [3], the United States is more popular, in third place in terms of data traffic.

Finally, unsurprisingly, the traditional destinations of the Mediterranean and Northern Europe remain very popular with more interest in Portugal and Norway. It is important to note that Switzerland has been less popular as a summer destination compared to previous years, where it was perhaps seen as a safer choice due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

2.  Where do international travellers come from?

Americans, Canadians, Australians, French and British account for the majority of traffic in the most popular destinations. Furthermore, the vast majority of Japanese tourists use their mobile data plans while traveling in Europe, even though the United States and South Korea were more popular destinations this summer. Thus, 79% of the total mobile data consumption by the Japanese was carried out in Europe: 22% in France, 18% in the United Kingdom, 14% in Italy.

According to Ubigi data, domestic use is still in the lead in certain countries such as France, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Who has consumed mobile data and in which country?

[1] Study of data consumption carried out on 100,000 Ubigi users between July and September 2023, depending on their country of origin and the location of their mobile data consumption.

[2] Japan National Tourism Organization

[3] Source: ITA’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO)

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