If you look into tourist data for the year 2022, in the month of January, there was double the number of tourists than what was seen in the same month for the year 2021. There were actually 18 million more tourists moving about worldwide, which actually amount to the total tourist volume increase in 2021.
The world was hit by the pandemic for two years, which hit the tourism industry in a bad way but in 2022, a recovery has set in with US and countries in Europe such as Spain, France, Germany and the Asia Pacific by Japan topping the list. According to Lauren Uppink, Head of Aviation, Travel and Tourism at the WEF, the trying times of the pandemic brought out how much the tourism industry contributed to many economies across the world.
- With more people taking to vaccination, various easy and convenient means of testing arising and travel e-certificates, the number of people doing travel bookings is on the rise drastically. However on the whole, the travel & tourism industry is yet to recover. Here is a look at some of the key trends that bring out reasons why traveling is flourishing in 2022:
- One trend that has been very marked across the travel industry globally is following of Covid – 19 restrictions. There is more cleaning, social distancing, seating, use of masks to show customers that hotels, restaurants and tourist spots are following expected hygiene and safety precautions so that customers are kept safe.
- Another trend is contactless payment, wherein through options like Apple pay and Google Pay, people don’t have to bother about using debit card or credit card to make various travel, transport, lodging, food and other services payments. There is faster payment processing so people purchase more while on the go and can avoid the hassle of carrying cash. Digitalization means more business for the tourist operator as it enables them to do work more accurately, faster and keep prices low to make customers happy. Other technology features that are being implemented in hotels worldwide include virtual tours, QR Code, keyless doors etc.
- Consumers are more interested in pursuing authentic travel experience so they want to get into activities that are more exciting, meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime experience rather than just enjoy what mainstream tourism lets them do on a holiday package. With personalized travelling setting in, people are making booking with private tourist operators that enable them to take activities with locals around the world.
- With work from home becoming increasingly adopted, business individuals travelling across the world are opting for trips wherein after their allotted time in the place, they would rather continue to work from it at a hotel and explore its attractions than come back home.
- Another change that is fast catching up is adopting practices that help to preserve the environment. An example of this is seen with the LEED certification being awarded to each of the hotels of the India-based ITC Hotels Group. The State-of-California has made it mandatory from 2023 for hotels with more than 50 rooms to stop using plastic bottle of items like conditioners, shampoos and lotions as well as other single purpose use.
- More tech innovations are likely to set into the travel industry which will ease travel experience. The most important one, which is rapidly catching up globally is the use of mobile for booking trips, making payments, boarding, check-in, cancelling trips etc.
- The concept of sustainable tourism is gaining popularity because it helps not just in preserving the environment but also positively influences the economies, culture in the locations that are being promoted for sustainable tourism. Tourist operators who offer sustainable or eco-tourism packages are being more sought after and are considered to be more trustworthy. Travelers are interested in taking up packages that offer activities like kayaking, biking and hiking.
- The popularity of transformative travel is also gaining a foothold with people opting for wellness holidays. In such trips they opt for yoga class, take time off in a nature-filled destination, and learn a new skill. Travelers are also opting to stay in those places where they can get nutritious and organic foods, thus avoiding unhealthy meals. An offset of this type of tourism is food tourism wherein people take up packages that enable them to enjoy different types of cuisines. Some such packages allow the traveler to spend time cooking, interacting with people while they cook through a traditional process and get into cooking and enjoying very traditional, local recipes.
- People are more likely to take up plans by which they travel less but enjoy travelling in a better way. For example a company might post their business employee in a long distance location for a period of time. Since the work is only going to continue remote, that employee can extend the stay to explore the place and these types of trips are only going to be more popular in the coming years. Long distance vacation spots such as those in the South East Asia or Far east are picking up as they are preferred now by vacationers, who eek them as an exclusive getaway and also as a place from where they can work from home.
- While usual travel experiences is a trend that is here to stay, similar to that is getting into a vacation with your family in a mobile home or campers. Lots of people are now buying them because during the pandemic they did not have access to hotels. Likewise during the pandemic vacationers have to adopt social distancing norms, which spread the popularity of vacation homes and apartments, which is also continuing in 2022.
- Of course people like to travel by air and also by road. However, now people are also interested in taking up travelling by bike. E-bikes sales are once again on the rise as people are taking up bike tours which are very nature friendly, enjoyable and also adventurous.
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