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Santiago Jimenez, Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Amadeus IT Group shares his insights.

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup just around the corner, you may be wondering just how many travellers are going to visit Brazil during June and July to watch their favourite football teams in action, or how many nights on average travellers will stay in Brazil.

These are just two of many questions that will undergo extensive statistical analysis during and after the World Cup. Amadeus’s data crunching capabilities – let’s call them ‘travelmetrics’ – means we are able to transform raw data into meaningful information by generating ‘advanced statistics’ in order get a better and deeper knowledge of the travel industry and travel patterns. This can help empower our partners to exploit market inefficiencies.

Let’s take the World Cup as an example. Last year Embratur – the Brazilian Tourism Institute estimated that around 600 000 foreign tourists will visit Brazil for the World Cup. Let’s see if we can through our ‘travelmetrics’ get a better understanding of those statistics and take a more precise look at those predictions.

Please note that this is a light approach to the full scope of travel intelligence and in order to get bullet proof conclusions, we would need to include a multitude of further factors such as real bookings and seat-load factors – some of which are not yet available. But it serves as a sneak-peak to the ability of Amadeus’s “travelmetrics” to dig further into data.

If one looks at the search volumes out of Europe for travel to Brazil from 1 October 2013 to 25 February 2014, there was a significant peak in search volumes on December 6, 2013 – the day FIFA held the final match draw and search volumes remained relatively high after that date.

But how do we know these were really driven by the World Cup? By looking at the departure dates entered in searches for travel to Brazil, we can see that there was a spike in searches for departure days around June 12, 2014 – the day the World Cup kicks off. This is 10 times higher than searches for departure dates in May or August.

By looking at this data it would seem that Embratur’s predictions may be correct. However, when one looks at the capacity increase in scheduled flights to Brazil during June and July, we know that capacity will increase by 7% and 5% respectively. While this may be a notable increase when compared with last year’s 1% and 3% hikes in June and July, will it be sufficient to translate into bigger tourism flows to Brazil? It is not that much when you consider that it is just about the average growth for the year and that August will see an 8% increase in available seats. The statistics therefore beg the question: Will those potential 600,000 new foreign tourists have difficulty getting to Brazil?

The statistics also show that the most searched for city pairs from Europe to Brazil for June and July 2014 are London – Rio (No 1), Paris – Rio (2), Frankfurt – Rio (3), Moscow to Rio (4) and London to São Paulo (5). Amadeus search and seat capacity data has revealed that 47% of searches have Rio as a destination, but seats available to Rio are less than half of the seats available to São Paulo, which only gets around half of the searches.

Does this mean airlines are missing a business opportunity by not offering enough flights to Rio? Or that the World Cup will not bring the massive flow of new travellers expected? This last question will only be answered in time.

Don’t forget to share your comments with us here or on the Amadeus Africa Facebook Page. We look forward to hearing from you.