ITB Berlin sees a turnaround in international tourism: day ticket

Despite the lockdown and difficult travel conditions in the second year of the pandemic, in 2021 the number of trips abroad increased worldwide. The sharp increase in travel in the second half of the year triggered a turnaround in international tourism. However, there are several developments globally and in relation to the travel segments. Over the past year, Americans and Europeans have seen double-digit growth rates for overseas travel, while those of Asians have continued to show a decline.

Regarding travel activity in 2022: even taking into account the uncertainties still existing due to the pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine, the results of the current survey show a high demand for holidays and travel for the coming months. Despite the current climate of crisis, the signs of the times clearly indicate a recovery.

2021 more – but differences across continents

For travel year 2021, IPK International’s World Travel Monitor® determined a 3% increase in overseas travel over the previous year. However, global development shows very different trends: compared to the previous year, European and American travel abroad increased by ten per cent and 11 per cent respectively, while among Asians there was another decrease of about 40 percent.

Overall, however, the all-time low in tourism caused by the pandemic was surpassed in 2021, thus ushering in the post-Covid era.

Growth driver in 2021

In 2021, the growth was mainly achieved through holiday travel (+ 4 per cent). Other private trips (+ 9%) also developed positively above average. On the other hand, even in the second year of the pandemic, business travel recorded a drop again (-14 per cent).

The number one growth driver in 2021 was Sun & Beach holidays, which grew 30% worldwide from the previous year. For all the other types of holidays, however, the turnaround is still in progress, they have not yet been able to obtain a positive result compared to the previous year. This also applies to city trips.

Due to the high international demand for beach and sun, travel destinations such as Spain, Italy and Greece in particular have experienced above-average growth with double-digit growth rates.

In addition to the average travel time, the average expenses increased compared to the previous year.

Traveling in times of pandemic: greater need for information and a desire for digitization

When it comes to travel and vacations, the pandemic has increased the need for comprehensive and easily obtainable information and therefore also the desire for more digitization. The results of an IPK special survey on digitization and travel show that almost 75% of travelers attach great importance to digital offers (such as online booking of hotels, flights, events and virtual visits to places of interest). The same goes for a full online presence and the ability to book travel destinations. App reservations for tickets, monuments and museums, as well as digital payment options are also on the priority list of foreign travelers.

Travel intentions for 2022

Current polls conducted by IPK on all continents show (despite Omikron) that there is still a great deal of interest (80%) in traveling abroad this year. Intentions of Europeans to travel abroad are still stable at nearly 90 per cent of the pre-crown level, those of Americans now close to 75 per cent and those of Asians 66 per cent. From a global perspective, the source markets with great potential for overseas travel this year are mainly Germany, Great Britain, the United States, France and the Netherlands.

Favorite destinations for 2022

Internationally, the preferred travel destinations for this year are Italy, Spain and Germany. France is fourth and the United States is fifth. Although people still prefer to travel to their own continent, Americans and Asians in particular are increasingly considering overseas destinations in Europe.

Sun and beach still in trend: growing interest in city breaks

In addition to the consistently high level of interest in holiday travel, there is also evidence of a stable interest in business travel in the coming months.

As for the types of holidays planned, this year the beach / beach holidays are by far in first place, followed (with an upward trend) by city breaks, as well as round trips and types of holidays nature oriented.

Overcoming the crisis in 2022

Surveys conducted around the world by IPK International show that international tourism can take a significant step towards recovery in 2022. The global volume of overseas travel may therefore already reach 50-60% of the pre-coronavirus level this year. By 2024 at the latest, it is possible to predict a volume of trips abroad equal to the amount in 2019.


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