Where is tourism going in 2022?23 December 2021
/ Travel trends for 2022: experts weigh in on the future of the travel sector /
2O2O was the year we were all grounded, the year of no tourism. 2021 has been the year of apartment stays (and plenty of uncertainty, both for tourists and for professionals). What will happen in 2022 in the tourism industry? As usual, December is the month when experts have their say on the expected trends for the following year. Here’s a roundup of their forecasts.
The trip of a lifetime
“Forced to sit at home for months on end, we’ve all had some time to reflect on what matters most. Now that we can travel again, many of us realize that there’s no time like the present to make that trip of a lifetime,” writes Daniel Batchelor of Amadeus. “Whether the dream is to finally sail around the world or take that long-haul trip to visit relatives on another continent, in 2022 many people will finally book those meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime trips.”
One of the major players in the business of searching, pricing and booking travel tickets, Amadeus has access to a lot of data of what people are really searching for and looking forward to, in real time; so knowing that, based on their data, things are looking up, is definitely good news. But it’s perhaps more interesting to know that searches for big, epic (and faraway) destinations and experiences are on the up: +36% for Tanzania (where travelers can see the Big Five in the wild), +50% for the region of Machu Pichu, and a considerable rise for places ranging from Petra in Jordan, to the Indian Ocean islands, and even to Antarctica.
The trend is confirmed by Expedia’s 2022 Travel Trends Report, which revealed that 68% of Americans are planning big trips to international destinations like Rome, Bali, London and Paris in 2022. The study also found that travelers are more willing than ever before to splurge on their future travels (40%).
And this is the other aspect of the 2022 much awaited vacation: whether near or far, people are looking for what Expedia dubs the “splurge-cation.” “After canceled trips and postponed celebrations, travelers are ready to make up for lost time and go big to put themselves first,” write Expedia experts. “From indulging in luxurious experiences (15%) to upgrading on rooms or flights (16%) to visiting a bucket-list destination (32%), 2022 will be all about splurging on the things that make a trip go from good to great.”
The coronavirus crisis also made many people open their eyes to the reality of climate change and to the weight of human activities on the planet. As such, there is a renewed interest and commitment towards sustainable travel.
“Reducing one’s carbon footprint when traveling will be increasingly top of mind for travelers moving into 2022,” confirms a report from Hilton hotels, which cites data from Accenture and American Express to underline that 86% of travelers want to travel more sustainably and 77% want to be more conscious about supporting small, local businesses while traveling. “More than ever, guests are looking at brands that are eco-conscious and doing their part in communities around the world,” concluded Hilton analysts.
Data from Amadeus confirms the same attention. “Searches for travel from the US to the eco-paradise of Costa Rica are up by 234% year-on-year, and in Europe visitors to carbon-neutral Iceland are up by a healthy 11%,” writes Batchelor, who also cites data from a recent Amadeus-commissioned survey according to which “two-thirds of consumers consider sustainable travel a priority.”
Time with friends
Another thing that the pandemic taught us is to value the time we get to spend with our dear ones. “Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime and WhatsApp are no substitutes for being able to see friends in real life,” Batchelor writes. “So, no surprise that 2022 is gearing up to be the year of grand in-person reunions.” Amadeus’ expert goes on to cite data showing consistent rise in searches and bookings for destinations that are popular for vacationing with groups of friends, such as Cancun and Cartagena in Latin America, Hawaii and Las Vegas in the USA, or Barcelona and Ibiza in Europe.
“A successful trip is no longer defined by likes on social media,” confirms Expedia. “More than a third of U.S. travelers are searching for a sense of contentment and mental wellbeing, and nearly a quarter plan to spend less time on their devices to be more present.”
Hilton’s report confirms that travelers’ main goal is “to reunite and reconnect” and it goes on to notice something curious: 97% of Americans would now like to stay in connecting rooms when traveling with a group, so much so that the company has worked to make connecting rooms easier to book, directly from the website or hotel app.
Trends that are here to stay
There are also trends that developed over 2020 and 2021, and according to the experts some of them are here to stay. “While life during the pandemic became increasingly more complicated, people found convenience amid the chaos,” wrote Hilton’s analysts. “And as the world re-emerges, many expect to maintain those efficiencies outside of their home and in their everyday life.”
One of those efficiencies is the contactless experience. A recent survey of over 10,000 people in 17 countries, conducted by decision science agency Blackbox Research, found that “contactless travel will be a new benchmark expected by travelers, with 76% indicating that their preferred travel destinations would have airports offering reliable touchless identity and contactless clearance experiences.”
The other big draw is flexibility: people have grown accustomed to flexible cancellation policies (and they still feel they need them more than ever). A survey by Evolve, a vacation rental hospitality company with more than 16,000 properties in 750 markets, found that “nearly 50% of survey respondents cite flexible cancellation/rebooking policies…
Continue reading Games & Parks Industry December 2021, page 14
Photos Courtesy: APT Bolzano
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