Global travel’s rate of recovery is slowing, but there is still cause for optimism about next year, according to market intelligence specialist ForwardKeys.
ForwardKeys vice president of insights Olivier Ponti told WTM London: “Am I super confident about growth in 2023? Yes, I am, but the unknown is part of the game.
“Right now, there are many reasons for cautious optimism and many of you will be able to make use of the opportunities to come.” He added the cost of living was a worry but said: “Demand is so strong I think you will get over most of the issues.”
Data from international airline ticket purchases shows global demand in 2022 remains down by 20-30% compared to 2019, with recovery stagnant in most markets. The US has shown the best rebound due to its large domestic market, sitting at around -8% in October. The UK and EU were around -25% in October, with India at -40% and the GCC countries about -30%
“Towards the end of the year we should be at 2019 levels – quite spectacular considering China is missing, Russians are hardly travelling and Asia is just reopening,” said Ponti. He added events such as Dubai Expo and the FIFA World Cup had had an impact on Middle East ticket sales.
Among key tourist destinations, Turkey had reaped benefits by continuing to admit Russians, with Antalya’s arrivals up 66% compared with 2019 and the country as a whole is on a par with 2019, boosted by a weak lira. The Dominican Republic was the only destination to record a positive increase, up 5% on 2019. Greece was the best performing European destination, with 2022 arrivals down 12% on 2019. Spain, a big part of the leisure market in normal times, was -26% in terms of arrivals, with flight capacity at -9%.
Looking ahead to 2023, Ponti said the economy would be “absolutely crucial”. “Airfares are going up, but how long can this last before it starts damaging travel demand?” he asked. “The outlook until the end of this year is really good – but how long will that last?”
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World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents. The events are:
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