As travel and tourism professionals across the globe recognize and honor National Travel & Tourism Week, there is a world of reasons to celebrate. On the heels of a recent steady stream of positive global tourism news, last week saw an increase of announcements, as more countries reopen to travel. For those who have already opened, destinations and suppliers are reporting positive “rebound” spikes in bookings and visitor arrivals. There is certainly an air of excitement as tourism will soon help to restore communities and their economies and rebuild workforces as we continue to navigate the second year of the pandemic. As more people get vaccinated in more countries, travel will continue to tick upwards.

The Industry Revival Is Underway

Last week, hundreds of people attended the first in-person global travel event and thousands more joined online. At the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit, the world’s leading private and public sector travel and tourism leaders took a united stand to discuss how, together, they could safely restart tourism and travel on an international scale. This is, essentially, the first time the travel community has come together in person since the pandemic began. The fact that the event even took place is further indication that tourism and its supporting industries are capable and ready to undertake what is needed to bring back tourism, while still complying with the strictest health and safety protocols. This crisis has provided an opportunity to rethink and recalibrate the tourism and hospitality sectors, and unearthed an unbroken spirit to help rebuild our economies and revitalize our communities.  

Travel: The Power that Will Drive Economic Recovery

Not surprisingly, travel is making a faster recovery domestically within the U.S., as indicated by online search behavior data. Domestic flight searches in the U.S. alone have increased 58% in the first quarter of 2021, signaling a rise in demand for domestic travel. International flight searches increased 21% during that same time period and falls in line with the pace of country opening announcements. As pent-up desire to travel increases and travelers gain more confidence grow more accustomed to testing and travel requirements, over time, travel will only be that much safer, it will also become easier.

Increases in Confidence = Increases In Travelers

As the negative effects of travel wane, more positive industry indicators show that travel is indeed improving. This past week, the TSA reported it had documented over one million airport screenings in the past eighteen days, the longest streak since the pandemic began. To say that people are ready to travel again (despite the CDC’s advisory warnings) in an understatement. Tourism Experts predict that summer will be a busy travel season. Summer travel searches have seen a 50% increase for flights between early June through the end of August.  A travel survey recently released by Longwood International showed that 60% of U.S travelers now feel comfortable traveling outside their direct communities, with only 30% saying that Covid would impact their decision to travel in the next six months. Also, nearly half of the participants will lean towards supporting local businesses in their travel experience. That said, the survey did indicate that not all consumers are quick to get back to air travel, with 31% still choosing a destination that can be driven to and 29% choosing to travel domestically within the U.S. Sentiment also indicated that over one-quarter of respondents felt that Covid is not influencing their travel plans at all within the next six months.  These are all signals of renewed hope and positive indicators for tourism and hospitality-related services and sectors around the world.

Industry Recovery: We’re Stronger Together

This week is a stellar opportunity to remind travelers and residents everywhere in the world of the tremendous importance of the tourism and hospitality industry. It not only generates millions of dollars for the economies of the communities we all love to discover or call our home but that only together can we ignite a speedy, steady economic recovery for all.  Happy National Travel & Tourism Week!

Until next Time ~ Ayri

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