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World Tourism Day 2022

Leisure travelers of the world rejoice in the newfound travel freedoms that were missed in recent years as the CTM Group celebrates World Tourism Day 2022. If there was any doubt on how the leisure travel market would bounce back, there shouldn’t be.

A Mastercard Economics Institute report reveals demand for leisure travel across domestic, short-haul, and medium-haul trips was higher in April 2022 than at the same time in 2019. Their analysis found if flight booking trends continue at their current pace, an estimated 1.5 billion more passengers globally will fly in 2022 compared to last year. Of those travelers, Europe is seeing the largest increase in flights taken compared to 2021.

• Europe: close to 550 million more flights taken
• Asia Pacific: about 430 million more
• North America: roughly 365 million more (including Mexico)
• Latin America and the Caribbean: about 120 million more
• The Middle East and Africa: roughly 115 million more

Travelers are wanting to go big with adventurous and lavish once-in-a-lifetime trips, which are supported by Mastercard survey findings of 54% of respondents looking forward to “make-up” trips after two years of little to no travel. “I’ve seen a jump this year in bucket list travel. Clients are ready to book their big ticket trips and check them off the list. With so many countries dropping restrictions, it has had a strong impact on my clients wanting to do vacations they’ve always dreamed about.” Tracy Cumming, Owner, and Agent at Big Timber Travel LLC and MTravel Affiliate.

Tracey Cumming quote

Travelers are willing to go further and spend more than they normally would on a holiday to ensure they have an unforgettable trip. “It is about making up for all the lost time and opportunities missed because of the pandemic by seeking new magical and memorable experiences,” explains Aaron Collins, National Manager, Loyalty and Leisure, Allure Travel. Although travelers want to experience something new, they aren’t necessarily looking to plan every last bit of travel themselves. Some are seeking guided cultural experiences and travel services that help them plan their getaway and get more value out of their booking which is where the services of a Travel Expert are beneficial.

Ivona Siniarska, Travel Expert, 1000 Mile Travel Group, explains, “Those who are traveling for longer periods, whereby they may be adhering to a budget throughout their journeys, are requesting lavish bookings and stays so that they arrive in style and finish off at a beautiful property. They’re also looking for pre-booking spa treatments and Michelin star dining experiences where possible.”

Tripadvisor quote

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New experiences and epic destinations are on the rise

Amadeus flight search data shows that travelers have a strong urge to live in the moment, and epic destinations or experiences have become more popular. According to the data, traveler inquiries to Guam (+71.1%), Malaysia (+48.6%), South Korea (+38.5%), and New Zealand (+27.7%) increased significantly from March to April 2022. Further to this, searches for Tanzania are up by 36%, bookings to the Peruvian cities of Lima and Cusco, near Machu Pichu, are up by nearly 50%, and flights to Petra in Jordan are up by 22%.

A TripAdvisor 2022 study showed that 75% of Americans say it’s important they see new places when thinking about their future travel plans, with a similar sentiment from Australia (74%), Singapore (73%), and the UK (70%). More than a third to nearly half of all travelers surveyed by market research business, Ipsos MORI in the United States (41%), UK (38%), Australia (46%), Japan (34%), and Singapore (49%) said that traveling to a destination they’ve never been to before would be more important to them now, compared to trips they took in 2019.

Dianne Starnes quote

The hunger for new experiences is a wonderful opportunity for the broader tourism industry to capture new customers than they otherwise would have before the pandemic. Travelers are seeking more meaningful experiences, creating memories with friends and family, and immersing themselves in the culture rather than retail purchases. Tourism spending on “experiences,” according to Mastercard, is roughly 34% above 2019 levels and has outpaced spending on “things” since July 2021. Dianne Starnes, Newport Coast Travel and MTravel Affiliate, adds, “There is no question that the enthusiasm travelers feel for the opportunity to travel again is contagious. The planning and thoughtfulness in selecting an itinerary demonstrate how much consideration has gone into the decision to not only travel again but to make it a meaningful trip.”

Ivona Siniarska quote

Bleisure travel

With many organizations offering an opportunity for remote employment, it has changed the way some people travel for leisure, and the tourism industry is benefiting. According to a Deloitte 2022 travel outlook, Travelers with the intent to fit in some work while away planned twice as many trips. More than half add three or more days to the duration of their longest leisure trip due to remote working. The study also suggests that working vacationers were more than twice as likely to increase the budget for their leisure trips as compared to 2019. Siniarska adds, “We are seeing people embrace more of the “bleisure” side of travel. Many Australians have piled up their annual leave in the last two years using work trips as opportunities to explore parts unknown or revisit favorite global spots after finishing the business portion of their trip.”

Reconnecting with family and friends

Travel restrictions for the last couple of years have made people realize the importance of spending quality time together; hence families and friends are now looking forward to reuniting and making special memories together. Popular group destinations such as Cancun, Mexico, Las Vegas, and Ibiza expect that the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas break will see a growth in this type of travel.

Recent GlobalData research demonstrates growth among families. The family travel market is expected to grow at 4.6%, from 300 million trips in 2017 to 376 million in 2022. Starnes explains, “Many travelers are interested in going to countries with ties to their heritage. Revisiting countries of their ancestors give them a sense of returning to some important meaningful past and reconnecting with others.”

The world is increasingly becoming our oyster again, and the experiences that await eager leisure travelers are endless. From food and cultural experiences, caravan and RV road trips, adventure, wellness and sustainability travel, gap years, volunteer travel, and the list goes on. There is only one question: Where will you be going?

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