THE TRAVEL industry will take at least two years to get back to 2019 levels experts warn today.
The economic fallout from the Covid crisis will prevent any rapid bounce back in bookings – which last year saw travellers make 1.4 billion trips.
Job losses and the prospect of a global recession will keep many would-be holidaymakers at home.
Caroline Bremner, of Euromonitor International, said: “We are expecting a drop of at least 50 per cent in terms of international arrivals. We expect demand to pick up next year. Ultimately we are expecting pre-crisis levels to be achieved by 2022 – that’s the best case scenario.”
If there are further lockdowns or a second wave of infections, it could take four years.
Ms Bremner did offer a glimmer of hope to holiday firms as the findings also revealed gaps of opportunity which the travel industry could plug to help with their recovery efforts.
This is amazing an opportunity to rewire travel and tourism and to put the environment and societies at the heart of our rebuilding efforts.
She said the research indicated longer term shifts in travel behaviour such as preferences for technology such as using mobile apps, analytics that offer real-time virus information and even for entertainment like the successful Faroe Island remote tourism project.
Also travellers would be more interested in climate change issues, sustainability, cultural immersion, real world experiences and travelling with a purpose.
She said: “The mass market is going to change. We’ll see more shift to areas that were seen as niche before becoming a lot more mainstream such as adventure tourism. Adventure for example or wellness, they resonate with the younger generations who are looking for truly authentic experiences.
“We have paid a lot of lip service to sustainability but we have not always implemented and walked the walk. This is a fantastic opportunity to understand it more, monitor it and embrace it as a way forward. That’s what I’m hopeful for.”