Industry Report: Spain will continue to reign in 2022, says WTM London holidays survey

Industry Report: Spain will continue to reign in 2022, says WTM London holidays survey

Sun-starved Brits want to flock back to the Med next summer, with the traditional hotspot of Spain regaining its crown as our favourite destination, reveals research released today (Monday 1 November) by WTM London.

A third (34%) of the 1,000 consumers polled by the WTM Industry Report said they will “definitely” holiday overseas in 2022; almost a quarter (23%) said they will “probably” do so, while a further 21% said they hope to take a break abroad next year. Another 17% said they will opt for a staycation, while just 6% said they don’t plan any sort of vacation for 2022.

The top hotspot mentioned by consumers was Spain, with others being more certain about which resort area they wanted to visit, citing Spanish islands such as Lanzarote and Majorca.

Also high on the wish list were other traditional European favourites such as France, Italy and Greece, while there was a strong showing for the USA – which has been off the map for British holidaymakers since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.

The findings will be welcomed by tourist boards which have been inspiring consumers about future travel plans throughout the pandemic and now report significant levels of pent-up demand.

More than 18 million Brits visited Spain in 2019, making it our favourite destination – but travel analytics firm ForwardKeys said numbers fell 40% this summer due to Covid travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, tourists from Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands to Spain saw growth on pre-pandemic figures and domestic tourism almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

The Spanish Tourist Office in the UK said it is “determined to put Spain front of mind for Brits looking to holiday abroad” and take advantage of the bottled-up demand.

Also looking to capitalise on potential bookings is Brand USA, which has worked closely with tour operators and travel agents in the UK during the pandemic.

The Biden administration has been working on a plan that would require nearly all foreign visitors to show proof of vaccination when travel restrictions to the US are eventually lifted.

The French tourism development agency Atout France re-joined the European Travel Commission (ETC) in September as part of its drive to attract more visitors.

France is expecting to be in the global spotlight in the coming years, as it will host the rugby union World Cup in 2023, and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris during the summer of 2024.

The Italian tourist board is also hoping to attract more Brits, especially after its mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated arrivals from Britain was scrapped at the end of August.

However, destinations such as Venice are looking to recover in a more sustainable way than before the pandemic.

This summer saw Venice banning large cruise ships and there have been reports that the city plans to begin charging tourists from summer 2022 onwards.

Greece was the destination which recovered the best this summer, according to data analytics firm Cirium, which studied flights from the UK to countries across Europe.

The Greek National Tourism Organisation also launched a partnership in August with budget carrier Ryanair to promote the destination.

Using the slogan ‘All you want is Greece’, the partners promoted summer breaks in the Greek islands to the UK, German and Italian markets.

WTM London takes place over the next three days (Monday 1 – Wednesday 3 November) at ExCeL – London.

Simon Press, WTM London, Exhibition Director, said: “It is heartening for the travel industry to see that more than three-quarters (78%) of consumers are definitely, probably or hopefully holidaying overseas next year.

“Brits have now faced almost two years of travel turmoil, with overseas holidays being illegal during some parts of the pandemic, so staycations soared in popularity.

“Even when overseas leisure travel was allowed again, we were beset by expensive PCR testing requirements, quarantine rules, short-notice changes to regulations and a confusing traffic light system – not to mention the myriad of rules in holiday destinations overseas.

“It shows the remarkable resilience and determination of the UK holidaymaker that so many remain keen to book an overseas holiday in 2022 – with sunny climes appearing to be even more tempting after yet another washout summer in the UK.”



World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. 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. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts. In 2020, WTM Virtual facilitated 20,000+ meetings and held 42 live content sessions over the 3-days show.

Next live event: Monday 1 to 3 November 2021 at ExCel London

Next WTM Virtual: Monday 8 to 9 November 2021 – Virtual

Travel Forward London is the leading travel technology event, co-located with WTM London. Travel Forward is renowned for showcasing the next-generation technologies for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Over 19,000 travel officials and 150+ innovative solution providers attend for 3 days of cutting-edge insights, open debate and unrivalled networking opportunities. The combination of a 2-day conference, interactive exhibition and start-up showcase makes Travel Forward truly unique.

Next live event: Monday 1 November to Wednesday 3 November 2021 at ExCel London

Next Travel Forward Virtual: Monday 8 November to Tuesday 9 November 2021 – Virtual

London Travel Week, brought to you by WTM London, is the one-stop-shop for event hosts and visitors to be able to shape the next 12 months of travel together. The festival of events supports the global travel and tourism industry through capturing invaluable news and enhancing industry connections.

Next event: Friday 29 October – Friday 5 November 2021

WTM Virtual is the WTM Portfolio virtual platform, created to offer global delegates the chance to arrange one-to-one virtual meetings, to do business, attend conference sessions and roundtables, take part in speed networking and more. WTM Virtual embrace the global leading travel shows in one platform.

WTM Latin America takes place annually in São Paulo and attracts around 19,000 tourism professionals during a three-day event. The show offers qualified content, as well as networking and business opportunities. In its ninth edition – the first 100% virtual – WTM Latin America followed its focus on effective business generation and reached the milestone of 4,200 meetings held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors.

Next event: Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 April 2022 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 6,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

Next event: Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 April 2022 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) now on its 29th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2021 showcased over 1,300 exhibiting companies from 62 countries across nine halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, with visitors from more than 140 countries over the four days. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #IdeasArriveHere

Next in-person event: Sunday 8 to Wednesday 11 May 2022, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2022. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ATM Virtual, ILTM Arabia, Arival Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, as well as Travel Forward. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country summits.

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.*

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