Travel analytics firm ForwardKeys has identified the five major travel trends in global air travel for the summer of 2023 between 1 July–31 August.
It was analysing the top destinations and origin markets in comparison to last year and 2019 – pre-pandemic.
The first trend was that the USA dominated scheduled flight booking – inbound and outbound. It attracted 11 per cent of all international visitors – followed by Spain, UK, Italy, Japan, France, Mexico, Germany, Canada and Turkey.
In terms of outbound travel, the USA also ranked top with an 18 per cent share of scheduled bookings. Germany, UK, Canada, France, South Korea, China, Japan, Spain, and Italy followed.
The second trend was that overall travel recovery is still increasing year on year but has not yet reached pre-pandemic numbers. The USA fared the best – 17 per cent up on 2022, and only down one per cent on 2019.
However, other markets were still behind pre-pandemic levels.
- Germany – 21 per cent down
- UK – 20 per cent down
- France – 17 per cent down
- South Korea – 28 per cent down
- China – 67 per cent down
- Japan – 53 per cent down
- Italy – 24 per cent down.
Asia’s post-lockdown recovery is growing increasingly. As many Asian countries were still in lockdown during 2022, the recovery rate is sizeable – South Korea, China and Japan are showing at least triple-digit growth rate compared to 2022.
The type of destination that has been resilient for the industry is the beach, with countries famous for their beaches and coasts recovering the most when compared with 2019 travel levels. The top ten all exceeded the summer of 2019 and most showed strong growth from last year. Top of the list is Costa Rica, with 19 per cent up against 2019 and 15 per cent up on last year.
Finally, the extreme temperatures and subsequent wildfires in Europe only had a small impact on tourism to countries such as Greece and Portugal because holidaymakers had booked their trips in advance. Cancellations affected Rhodes, but flight bookings recovered quickly to normal levels.
Olivier Ponti, VP of Insights at ForwardKeys, said: “Throughout the pandemic, US travellers were an economic lifeline for many Caribbean destinations. As other parts of the world relaxed their entry restrictions, Americans arrived. This summer, they have been extremely helpful to many European destinations.
“Now, the world’s other major tourism powerhouse, China, is starting to revive. Looking ahead to Q4 and further to 2024, I am increasingly optimistic. Right now, global flight bookings for the last three months of the year are just four per cent behind 2019 and for the first three months of 2024 are three per cent ahead. The world region that shows the greatest promise in Q4 is the Middle East, where flight bookings are 37 per cent ahead of 2019. It is followed by Central America, 33 per cent ahead and the Caribbean, 24 per cent ahead.”