Despite a 70% decline in global outbound travel last year, the latest World Travel Monitor by tourism industry analyst, IPK International, said the opportunities for a rapid recovery of the international tourism industry were “very good”.
The World Travel Monitor – an annual survey monitoring the outbound travel volume and travel behaviour in all main markets worldwide – was released at ITB Berlin this week.
Highlighting that two-thirds of outbound travellers said they planned to travel this year, the report concluded that, with vaccines now increasingly available, the main reason for not wanting to travel was being nullified.
“Assuming high percentages of the population are vaccinated quickly around the world, this will contribute to a rapid and comprehensive recovery of global demand for outbound travel. This goal could be reached in 2022, at latest 2023,” read the report.
However, as highlighted in the opening press conference on Tuesday, those who indicated their interest in travelling again were looking closer to home for their first holiday trip – confirming an opinion expressed by President of the German Travel Association, Norbert Fiebig, that long-haul travel would take longer to recover.
While the average drop in global travel was 70%, the trends varied on individual continents. In Asia, where the pandemic hit first, outbound travel fell by close to 80%, while outbound travel by Europeans showed the lowest losses, down 66%. Outbound travel of Latin Americans decreased by 70% and North American outbound trips dropped by 69%
In response to a question about preferred outbound travel destinations for 2021, Europeans clearly favoured destinations within their own continent. Americans and Asians also ranked trips within their own continent as their first choice.
Types of trips
In terms of holiday trips abroad in 2021, the respondents showed a high level of interest in beach holidays.
City breaks ranked second among holiday types (first among Asians) and nature-oriented holidays were ranked third – a considerable rise in popularity compared with before the pandemic, according to the report.
Trust is key in travel decisions
Meanwhile, a recent Travelzoo survey – also released at ITB – highlighted trust as one of the most important drivers of travel decisions.
“Trust is a global currency. Worldwide, 83% of respondents said that being able to trust people and companies mattered most to them. The older people are, the more that statement is true,” said Travelzoo GM, Christian Smart.
He said among German consumers especially, trust in travel brands was established mainly through customer service.
“Flexibility and trust are currently the main factors driving holiday bookings,” said Smart. “That is why tour operators are right to be offering flexible, new pricing options."