Events and reunion travel have boosted recovery, research shows

Events and reunion travel have boosted recovery, research shows

Early opening, VFR links and events have been the strong factors in driving travel’s recovery during 2022, a market intelligence specialist told delegates at World Travel Market London.  

 “It’s the appeal of sun and beach destinations and proximity to key source markets that has fuelled the recovery worldwide,” said Olivier Ponti, vice president of Insights for ForwardKeys. He pointed to the Caribbean, Turkey and Greece as strong performers, all of which also opened borders relatively early. 

 The Middle East has meanwhile been boosted by major events such as Dubai Expo and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 

Though the sluggish reopening of Asia has seen the region lag behind, some countries, including Pakistan, have been helped by its diaspora returning to visit friends and relatives. But Ponti warned: “I think the key challenge for the Asia Pacific region is the reactivation of intra-regional travel.” 

 The slow build back of air capacity and post-pandemic staffing issues at some airports have hampered recovery in many markets, including the UK where a sales dip coincided with media reports of airport chaos.  

 “Air connectivity is way below 2019 levels,” said Ponti but he added that statistics showed it “accelerating towards the end of the year.” He warned however that with its build-back the problem of overtourism in cities was set to return. 

 An unexpectedly bright spot for the global industry was business travel, although projections for December 2022 are still around 20% short of 2019. Ponti said: “We heard a lot of talk during the pandemic about business travel never coming back again. This is certainly not true.  

 “People have realised if you want to close a deal it’s much better to speak in person, because if you don’t, your competitors will steal if from you.” 

 With the cost of living crisis set to be “crucial’ in affecting future travel, Ponti advised travel companies to look to luxury travel to help recession-proof their businesses. “There’s been no impact from the rise in prices from this segment. It offers really good opportunities in 2023,” he said.



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World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. Senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating travel industry contracts.

Next live event: Monday 7 to 9 November 2022 at ExCel London and 6-8 November 2023 at ExCel London.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 30th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2022 attracted over 23,000 visitors and hosted over 30,000 participants including 1,500 exhibitors and attendees from 150 countries, across 10 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai

Next in-person event: Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May 2023, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2023. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, ITIC, GBTA Business Travel Forums, as well as ATM Travel Tech. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country forums.

WTM Latin America takes place annually in the city of São Paulo and attracts around 20,000 tourism professionals during the three-day event. The event offers qualified content together with networking and business opportunities. In this its ninth edition – there have been eight face-to-face events along with a 100% virtual one, which was held in 2021 – WTM Latin America continued to focus on effective business generation, and achieved the advance booking of six thousand meetings that were held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors in 2022.

Next event: Monday April 3rd to Wednesday 5th April 2023 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.  In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019 and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019.

Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town

About ATW Connect:  Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.

WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub.

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.


RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

*Note: Current market capitalisation can be found at

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world-leading events, content and digital tools that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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