In the latest World Travel Monitor® findings published by ITB Berlin, IPK International has predicted a high chance for a fast recovery of the tourism sector. Despite the drastic global decline in 2020, the latest survey results give hope for the upcoming year: two-thirds of outbound travelers worldwide intend to travel abroad again in 2021.
The findings reveal few surprises about how devastating the pandemic has been to global tourism, identifying a global decline of 70 per cent in international travel. Relatively speaking, Europe fared marginally better than other continents, with a drop off of 66 per cent: in Asia, where the pandemic hit first, outbound travel has fallen most, by nearly 80 per cent, followed by Latin America (70 per cent) and North America (69 per cent).
Losses also depended on the travel segment: nature-oriented holiday types and trips by car performed significantly better during the pandemic than air travel or city breaks and round trips.
The results of the global survey, conducted in January 2021, give reason for hope, starting with travel in 2021: 62 per cent of international travellers worldwide intend to travel abroad this year. Those not aiming to travel abroad do not indicate financial reasons for this, but with a large majority the infection risk. A combination of vaccines now being available and a high willingness among outbound travellers (90 per cent) to be vaccinated has nullified the main reason for not traveling, meaning that nothing stands in the way of a rapid and widespread recovery of the tourism industry.
Travel and holiday plans for 2021
When asked about outbound travel plans this year, respondents focus on holiday travel. Compared with pre-pandemic travel, there is above-average interest in visiting friends and family. Interest in business travel is higher among Americans and Asians than among Europeans. In terms of holiday trips abroad in 2021, there is a high level of interest in sun & beach holidays. City breaks rank second among holiday types (first among Asians) and nature-oriented holidays comes third, a considerable rise in popularity compared to before the pandemic. The latest surveys also reflect continuing high interest in air travel abroad and a recovery of the hotel industry appears likely.
Trend toward destinations within the own continent
Asked about preferred outbound travel destinations for 2021, Europeans clearly favour destinations in Europe. Spain ranks first, followed by Italy, Germany and France. Among Americans and Asians, trips on their own continent are also the main choice. Nevertheless, destinations in Europe, in particular Germany, are already playing a role in 2021.
Great opportunities for a rapid recovery
The chances for a rapid global recovery of the international tourism industry are very good. Worldwide, there is a strong desire to travel, as evidenced by the travel intentions for 2021. With vaccines now increasingly available, the main reason for not wanting to travel is being nullified. Assuming high percentages of the population are vaccinated quickly around the world, this will contribute to a rapid and comprehensive recovery of global demand for outbound travel. This goal could be reached in 2022, at latest 2023.