As international travel takes off, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and its knowledge partner ForwardKeys predict a significant increase in global international flight bookings.
The booking rebound was revealed at WTTC’s prestigious 21st Global Summit, which is being held this year in Manila as the world continues to recover from the pandemic. The news of the strong recovery points to a bright future for summer vacation travel, with sun and sea destinations such as the Caribbean and Latin America leading international inbound bookings.
As per ForwardKeys, a leading travel and analytics company, the country’s top 20 best-performing summer destinations are Costa Rica, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, all of which rely heavily on international travel. These destinations are at the top of the pack, with bookings already exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
The increase in Omicron cases slowed the industry’s gradual recovery last year. However, the outlook for 2022 appears to be brighter, with positive booking data from around the world.
“WTTC 2022 booking data from ForwardKeys is a firm signal of the global Travel & Tourism sector’s strong recovery,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO.
“Travel to the Asia-Pacific region shows impressive signs of improvement as destinations gradually reopen their borders to visitors, in line with customer demand.”
Olivier Ponti, ForwardKeys Vice President Insights, said: “It is very encouraging that Asia has finally begun re-opening, which is driving the return of both travel to Asia and within the region, both of which are clearly going to be instrumental in driving the global economic recovery.” According to data, inbound flight bookings in the Americas, Europe, and Asia increased by triple digits in the first and second quarters of this year, compared to the same period last year.
Following the relaxation of restrictions, travellers are eager to spend more on travel, with increased demand for premium cabin classes in 2022. Stronger last-minute bookings are another trend that has been observed. Arrivals in Europe show further evidence of the resurgence in travel, with a massive 350 percent increase in international arrivals for Q1 2022 compared to last year.
Asia-Pacific countries also saw an increase in arrivals for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2021, with bookings for the region increasing by 275 percent. There are further acceleration of the ongoing recovery in Q2 with a significant increase in international bookings, which have increased by 264 percent year on year. This acceleration is most noticeable in Asia, where travel restrictions are being lifted. The Philippines, which is hosting the WTTC Global Summit, is the fastest growing single destination in South East Asia, with a 29 percent increase in Q2 this year compared to Q1.
The resurgence of travel to the Caribbean and Latin America, which includes seven of the top ten travel destinations, is driving the summer travel outlook. India and Pakistan are also very popular, owing to the fact that people travel there primarily to see family and friends.
In the meantime, in Europe, destinations such as Iceland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and France are experiencing a strong upsurge, with travel bookings trailing pre-pandemic levels only fractionally. Africa and the Middle East are also represented in the top 20, with Tanzania, Qatar, and Egypt approaching pre-pandemic levels of travel. The healthy recovery of the Asia-Pacific travel and tourism sector appears set to accelerate as destinations reopen gradually throughout 2022.
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