A new report published by the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) and the Trip.com Group has found that international spending on travel is expected to rise by 94 per cent in 2022.
The Trending in Travel report, which is intended to explore the ‘latest traveller trends, behaviour and future booking patterns in the wake of Covid-19’, focuses on ‘booking trends, consumer considerations, and consumer profiles,’ as well as featuring examples of ‘markets whose resilience has provided a platform for the recovery of the Travel & Tourism sector.’
International travel spend to overtake domestic
The report projects strong growth for international spending, which is expected to overtake domestic spending in 2022 as more destinations ease restrictions and vaccination rates continue to rise.
International spending is expected to have risen by 9.3 per cent in 2021, with a further 93.8-per-cent rise forecast for the year after. However, the projected rise follows a 69.4-per-cent decline in global international travel spending in 2020.
The report also found that 70 per cent of travellers in many major countries such as the US, Spain, the UK, Canada and Japan plan to spend more on travel in 2022 than they have in the past five years – including pre-pandemic in 2019.
Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group, said: “Travellers around the world have shown their eagerness to travel, whether limited to domestic travel or able to cross borders, we see a huge amount of pent-up demand steadily being released. To better evolve with the recovery we must understand travellers, and as an industry adapt to emerging trends.”
More demand for traditionally less popular destinations
The report also found that the Covid-19 pandemic and the global response to it has changed the way that people travel substantially, with increased demand for longer stays, higher prioritisation of fee cancellations and strong demand for high levels of health and safety checks.
Younger demographics were found to be faster in returning to travel post-pandemic, and more travellers were found to be seeking ‘secondary destinations’ away from the traditional holiday hotspots of the pre-pandemic years.
According to Trip.com’s hotel booking data, Abu Dhabi (UAE) Chiang Mai (Thailand), Doha (Qatar), Florence (Italy), and Frankfurt (Germany) were the most popular secondary destinations in 2021.
Sustainable travel and greener destinations
Data by Trip subsidiary Ctrip also found that bookings for nature-related attractions are expected to dominate in the short and medium term, with nature-related bookings for the Chinese travel market alone increasing by 265 per cent year-on-year in the first half of the year.
The report says that ‘the pause in travel has also heightened consumers’ eagerness to travel more sustainably,’ with 83 per cent of global travellers saying that they would make sustainable travel a priority in the future.
The report cited data from online travel agency Skyscanner, which found that 68 million travellers have opted to book a Greener Choice-labelled low-carbon flight choice since the option was launched in 2019.
Growing travel and tourism demand is critical to global GDP
The WTTC and Trip.com also highlighted the negative impact that severe and confusing travel restrictions around the world drove a significant rise in domestic tourism. Trip.com reported that its platform experienced a 200-per-cent increase in domestic hotel bookings in 2021 compared with 2019.
However, the WTTC says that despite the much-needed boost experienced by the domestic travel sector in the past two years, the return of international travel is critical to rebooting the global economy. The travel and tourism industries currently represent over 10 per cent of global GDP. The WTTC says that its latest research forecasts that the sector’s contribution is expected to rise by 30.7 per cent in 2021, and 31.7 per cent in 2022.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “It is clear people are really looking forward to travelling again. Consumers are curious, they are looking at new destinations, ‘the great outdoors’ and travel that benefits the places and people they visit.”