Will 2022 be the year of recovery of tourism?

As part of our industry analysis for 2022, EIU examined the tourism sector’s development potential, major risks, and important trends for the coming year.

Globally, overseas arrivals will increase slightly next year but will still be 30% below 2019 levels. Business travel will remain down, and various degrees of border control and vaccine passports will continue to complicate international travel.

After plunging in 2020-21, cruise bookings for 2022 have increased as vaccine passports and health permits enable the reintroduction of international travel, albeit with more documentation.

Increased focus on sustainability will result in some major tourist sites capping daily visitor numbers (most notably in the Italian city of Venice) or imposing a tourist levy. Thailand will implement a US$15 tax in 2022, and New Zealand is likely to follow suit.

Thailand will conduct an experiment to reclaim tourists: The Southeast Asian country is hoping that the elimination of quarantine rules will result in a significant increase in international arrivals in 2022. While its success will benefit the tourism-dependent region, we anticipate that any rebound will be modest and much lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Tourism has been devastated by a pandemic, and the bad news is that recovery will be only partial in 2022. While borders are reopening, international travel will remain challenging. Climate change legislation, as well as increasing fuel prices and wages, will all contribute to an increase in air travel costs in 2022. This will inevitably result in airline consolidation, airport closures, and increased ticket prices.

Travelers are eager to go out and explore and 2022 may be even more popular for travels than it was before the epidemic, according to a new analysis released with Travel + Leisure by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Domestic travel growth has “significantly” exceeded global tourist growth and is likely to continue to do so in 2022.

The US tourism industry anticipates a 35.6 percent increase in revenue this year, compared to 2020. And the tourism sector in the United States is anticipated to expand by another 28.4 percent next year, according to the analysis, which was created in collaboration with Oxford Economics.

The WTTC, which represents the business sector in travel and tourism worldwide, says the sector’s recovery has been impeded by a lack of international coordination, severe travel restrictions, and lower vaccination rates in some parts of the world, all of which continue to affect many countries.

If governments can begin to think globally and support travel and tourism with simpler procedures that allow for the safe return of travelers, there is a potential to save employment and improve economic value.

According to the analysis, if the following conditions are met, the sector’s contribution to global GDP and job growth might be more positive this year and next:

Allow fully immunized travelers to travel freely, regardless of their origin or destination, by eliminating complicated tiered systems.

The introduction of digital solutions enables all travelers to quickly demonstrate their COVID status, hence expediting the process at international borders.

Recognizes all vaccinations that have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and/or any of the Stringent Regulatory Authorities.

All key authorities agree that foreign travel is safe when accompanied by strengthened health and safety precautions.