The desire for travel remains unabated and thus, global travel will soon resume, recover and reinvent itself amid new trends and consumers’ demands driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Tourism will boom again,” said CEO of Messe Berlin, Martin Ecknig, at the opening virtual press conference for ITB Berlin today (March 9). Messe Berlin is the organiser of the annual global travel trade show that takes place in Berlin every March.
The show was cancelled for the first time in late February last year, shortly after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
The three other panellists shared Ecknig’s positive outlook, stressing the need for a strong, effective global vaccination roll-out.
“We need the policymakers to urgently make international travel possible, and vaccinations are a key part of that,” said President of the German Travel Association, Norbert Fiebig.
He noted that for the Easter period and European summer, German travellers were looking at Turkey and Greece for holidays. “Long-haul travel will take some time to recover,” he said.
Director of Market Research at Statista Research & Analysis, Claudia Cramer, agreed, highlighting that recent Statista research indicated that the majority of travellers said safety was their concern, saying they were not “comfortable” travelling while COVID-19 infections remained a threat.
“This outweighed the limitations on travel placed by policymakers – including PCR tests, quarantines, airline route cancellations and more,” said Cramer.
Statista research also revealed that around 70% of German, US and Chinese travellers were planning a trip this year. Specifically, 37% of Germans, 42% of Americans and 66% of Chinese are planning one or more trips.
One in three travellers from those key source markets planned to increase their travel spend this year.
This would be welcomed, as Head of Travel Research at Euromonitor International, Caroline Bremner, revealed that global travel spend had dropped by 57% last year.
The ‘optimistic’ Euromonitor scenario would see travel spend bounce back 20% to 40% of the 2019 ‘normal’ figures by 2022.
This projection is based on the best-case scenario where there are no other major COVID-19 outbreaks and the global vaccination roll-outs stay on track.
“Should there be curveballs, the worst-case scenario would see global tourism spend take three to five years to recover,” said Bremner.