WTTC World in Motion January 2023

A 29-page report that kicks off by detailing the falls in tourism activity in 2020, with a halving in the sector’s value, but suggests that despite economic hardship many consumers are looking to spend as much or more on travel now than they did prior to the pandemic. 

The concept of blended travel, whereby leisure and business are mixed in the same trip is discussed, as is the increasing role being played by technology in both the planning and inspiration phases of a trip. 

The WTTC forecast is that the sector will grow at an annual average rate of 5.8% over the next decade, faster than the wider economy set to expand at just 2.7% per annum. 

One of the trends that emerged during the pandemic that the report suggest will persist is the consumer appetite for flexible booking arrangements due to a perception that there is greater uncertainty when booking travel now than in the recent past. 

A Skyscanner survey is used to illustrate that around half of consumers say they have been inspired to travel somewhere as a result of something they have seen on social media, with Instagram cited most often. 

City travel is said to be regaining its popularity, with arrivals in such destinations set to be just 14% down on pre-pandemic levels in 2022. 

Despite the claimed resilience of traveller intentions it is noted that 60% of consumers say that inflation is set to influence their travel choices in the immediate future with many willing to switch to low-cost carriers or book a lower grade of accommodation. 

A strong rebound in luxury travellers booking first or business class air travel is highlighted, and perhaps somewhat at odds with this the same travellers are also purported to be seeking ways of making their travel more sustainable. 

The flight booking window is said to be returning to pre-pandemic norms, with this having been 32 days in 2019, falling to 16 days in 2021 but back at 27 days in 2022.