The world economy is facing important challenges nowadays: inflation, economic uncertainty, labour shortages and climate crisis are affecting many industries. And tourism industry is one of them. However, despite the current economic situation, the sector is growing and almost recovering the levels of economic impact and employment from before the pandemic, according to a WTTC Report.

In 2019, before the pandemic, travel and tourism’s impact on global GPD was 10.4%. In 2022, it was 7.6%, and the forecast for 2023 is 9.2%, just 1.2 points behind before the Covid-19. In addition, the 2023 forecast indicates 320 million jobs supported by travel and tourism, while in 2019 were 334 million jobs. These figures show how the travel and tourism industry is closely approaching 2019 levels, especially in Latin America, North America and Europe.

What consumer trends explain these data and this new situation?

In the past few years, travellers’ behaviour and preferences have changed. We see new trends that impact travellers’ choices, but also there are old preferences that are accelerating. For instance, travellers were using social media to decide where to travel and to plan their trip before the pandemic, but since then, the use of these virtual platforms as a source of information and travel planning increased even more.

Another trend is the importance of travel spending despite the current situation of inflation. According to Deloitte’s Global State of the Consumer Tracker report, consumers were likely to spend at the end of 2022 the same amount on leisure travel as they intended in September 2021 and preferred to cut back in other areas instead.

Before the pandemic, travel to cities was one of the top holiday choices, for both corporate travel and leisure travel. However, during Covid-19 city travel declined considerably as travellers opted for more open and less crowded destinations. But in 2022, with the resurgence of travel confidence and international travel returning, demand for sun and beach and city destinations recover.

Another relevant trend is that travellers are increasingly conscious of their environmental footprint. Flying travellers to different destinations, accommodating guests, feeding tourists, and running shops all involve the use of natural resources and leave a footprint on the environment. As the urgency of the climate crisis grows, so too does the need to reduce the sector’s negative impact.

As the recovery from the pandemic is a reality and finally all destinations are open to tourism, the travel and tourism industry must focus now on addressing other challenges. TIS – Tourism Innovation Summit will gather industry leaders to discuss and find answers to the current situation and embrace the travel revolution we are living in. Be part of #TIS2023 from 18-20 October 2023 in Seville, Spain, and join us to boost more intelligent, digital, innovative and sustainable travel.