Report Tourism Rebound Sets Record, Travel Returns

Report Tourism Rebound Sets Record, Travel Returns

The Surprising Strength of the Global Travel Industry

Travel

The pandemic hit the global travel industry hard, causing a significant decline in demand and leading to mass layoffs among cruise lines, airlines, and hotel groups. However, as health risks receded, there was a sudden surge in demand that caught many travel businesses off guard. This unexpected increase in travel, combined with supply chain issues, soaring energy costs, and understaffing, resulted in months of traveler misery. Despite these challenges, a new report reveals that travelers remain undeterred in their desire to explore the world.

The June 2023 monthly Travel Health Index report from travel industry news portal Skift indicates that global travel has not only rebounded but has also exceeded pre-pandemic levels. The Travel Health Index measures the travel industry’s performance using 84 travel indicators from 22 partners. As of June 2023, the global index sits at 104, a 4% increase from the peak pre-pandemic rating of 100 in April 2019. Additionally, it marks a 1% increase from the May 2023 index rating of 103. This index has significantly recovered since its lowest point of 20 in April 2020, signifying travel performance at only 20% of April 2019 levels. Today, travel has fully bounced back and continues to break new records across all global regions.

The strength of the U.S. travel market particularly stands out. Skift Research Analyst Saniya Zanpure highlights that travel performance in the U.S. shows no signs of slowing down. With airlines, vacation rentals, and hotels outperforming the levels seen in 2019, the travel index for the U.S. in June 2023 is 8 percentage points above June 2019.

Car rental

However, not all regions have experienced equal gains in the recovery of the global travel industry. The standout winner is Latin America, with the region proving to be the most resilient throughout the pandemic. By early 2022, Mexico, in particular, demonstrated an impressive travel rebound, leading the larger Latin American region to surpass pre-pandemic performance. Latin America’s travel index performance currently stands at a globe-leading 110. In contrast, other regions and countries have either recovered or exceeded their pre-pandemic travel levels by June 2023.

There are, however, some outliers among the developed tourist destinations. Russia and Hong Kong continue to lag behind, dragging down their respective regions as well as the global index. Russia’s deteriorated tourism industry is likely a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine, with extensive “do not travel” advisories and departing businesses. Hong Kong, on the other hand, has faced challenges due to harsh pandemic restrictions and democratic backsliding.

While the global travel industry has experienced an overall recovery, the car rental sector shows some divergence. The global car rental industry’s performance decreased from a record high of 112 in April to 108 in June. Only in North America did car rental performance increase month over month. Nevertheless, global car rental performance remains 8 percentage points above pre-pandemic levels.

How Travelers Can Save in a Pricey Recovery

Money

Travel has become hotter than ever, with millions shedding their pandemic hesitance to embrace tourism and business travel. However, the overall cost of travel has also risen. NerdWallet’s Travel Price Index indicates that travel expenses have increased by 14% since the pre-pandemic travel season in June 2019.

To help travelers navigate this expensive recovery period, here are some money-saving tips:

  • Plan your trip early: Booking at least 28 days before departure can help secure better deals and avoid last-minute price hikes.
  • Consider flexibility on location: Being open to alternative destinations can maximize savings, as popular tourist spots tend to be more costly.
  • Consider camping and cabins: Instead of traditional hotels, exploring camping or cabin options can offer unique experiences while reducing accommodation costs.
  • Travel with a group: Sharing lodging expenses with others can significantly decrease the average cost per person.
  • Utilize credit card rewards: Use accumulated credit card points and airline miles to reduce expenses on flights and accommodations.

By employing these strategies, travelers can still enjoy their vacations without breaking the bank.