A plane taking off. (photo via mokee81/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
The global travel industry is expected to make a full recovery by 2025, according to new research from Global Data.
The study found that international departures will reach 68 percent of their pre-COVID-19 levels globally in 2022 and are expected to improve to 82 percent in 2023 and 97 percent in 2024. By 2025, travel is expected to reach 101 percent of 2019 levels with international departures projected to reach 1.5 billion.
The outlook for North America follows these trends.
“International travel from North America had shown improvement in 2021 as international departures grew by 15 percent year-on-year. The U.S. rose to become the world’s largest outbound travel market in 2021,” said Hannah Free, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData. “In 2022, outbound departures from North America are projected to reach 69 percent of 2019 levels, before making a full recovery by 2024, at 102 percent of 2019 levels, ahead of other regions.”
Europe’s recovery matches that of North America.
“International departures from European countries are expected to reach 69 percent of 2019 figures in 2022,” said Free. “As travel confidence rebuilds, the intra-European market is expected to benefit, driven by preferences for short-haul travel.”
Busy airport terminal. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/Terraxplorer)
A travel industry recovery is not a guarantee, noted Free.
“Travel recovery must contend with inflation, rising costs of living, and the war in Ukraine,” she said. “By 2025, international departures are projected to be 98 percent of 2019 levels. Geographically, the war has not spread beyond Ukrainian borders. However, Russia was the world’s fifth largest outbound travel market in 2019, while Ukraine was the 12th. Going forward, limited outbound travel from these countries will hinder Europe’s overall tourism recovery.”
It is projected that the Asia-Pacific region will lag behind Europe and North America. It’s expected that outbound departures from the region will only reach 67 percent of 2019 levels in 2022 due to slower removal of travel restrictions in the region, especially in China, which was the region’s largest outbound travel market.
“While global international travel is set to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2025, tourism demand may look quite different,” said Free. “From two years of very limited travel, several long-term shifts and short-term trends have emerged. Consumers are now more likely to pursue authentic experiences, demand personalized travel offerings, blend business and leisure travel, and be more conscious of their overall environmental impact. There is still a long way to go to reach a normal situation. However, a potential full recovery by 2025 at the latest gives good reason for the travel and tourism industry to be optimistic for the future.”