It’s no secret that the travel and hospitality industries took a big hit in 2020. Travel spending declined 42 percent compared to 2019. Averaging just 44 percent, hotel occupancy rates were down 33 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. In like manner, air travel was down more than 50 percent throughout the entire year. And as a result, 65 percent of all U.S. jobs lost in 2020 were supported by travel.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, everyone has been wondering, “When will travel go back to normal?” Hotels, airlines, restaurants and others in the hospitality and travel industries are desperate to grasp what consumers are thinking and how they are feeling about traveling.
Leisure travel is making a comeback
The good news is that travel is well on its way to recovery. In fact, the U.S. Travel Association just announced that domestic travel is nearing pre-pandemic levels and is projected to continue fueling the U.S. travel industry’s recovery. Plus, just earlier this month, the U.S. reopened its borders to welcome fully vaccinated foreign travelers after 604 days of closure. Likewise, NPR reported that U.S. travelers are back “in the saddle” but adapting to a new reality, such as visiting more rural destinations and national parks.
Business travel is on the road to recovery
While domestic leisure travel has returned to near pre-pandemic levels, the U.S. Travel Association’s biannual forecast showed an uneven recovery for the international inbound and business travel segments. The international inbound and business travel sectors have been slower to recover and are not forecasted to make a full recovery until at least 2024.
However, the decision to reopen our borders to vaccinated travelers has had a positive impact on business travel. Hotel bookings for business travel are skyrocketing–up more than 4,000 percent since the beginning of September.
While we’re not fully-recovered quite yet, travel optimism is certainly in the air. Where are you headed for the holidays or in the New Year?
Here’s where the KWIG team is ready to travel in 2022:
“I know we will go to Gulf Shores at some point, but hope we can go somewhere like Key West or the Virgin Islands to celebrate my oldest daughter’s high school graduation!” -Eric Collison
“We are planning a trip to Costa Rica and an Alaskan Cruise!” -Paula Bice
“I hope to hit Oregon and New Mexico again next year for parent visits, and I think we are overdue for a Gulf Shores audit at Valor Hospitality….For pure fun, hopefully the Keys with my husband!” -Leigh Meador
“We are headed to Santa Rosa Beach and Africa next year!” -Rebecca Macsovits
“Hoping to visit either Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Switzerland or another country similar to these with a group of friends next Spring/Summer…still narrowing down the details.” -Joshua Wolfinger
“We are planning on a trip to Badlands National Park in South Dakota and an Alaskan Cruise.” -Cindy Klatt
“We will be taking our annual trip to Gulf Shores, a short trip to Vegas to watch the Raiders play, and a trip to the Keys that is on both mine and Rick’s bucket list!” -Barbara McCullough
“We are going to The Biltmore in Asheville, NC this weekend, and in February a weeklong trip to St. Thomas, VI. Excited about both!” -DeAnna Carter
“We are going whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River and renting a cabin next summer. We will likely head to Virginia Beach to visit my parents, and if my daughter makes good grades, her senior trip will be to Universal Studios in Florida.” -Jake Kirk
“We are looking at a long weekend trip to Cabo San Lucas in January and planning a trip to Bora Bora and Tahiti in March for two weeks. Since buying the EPIC ski pass for Telluride this December, I’m thinking about a long weekend back in Colorado or Whistler Blackcomb for my birthday in February!” -Phineas Bresee
“We just started a savings fund to go to St Lucia next winter!” -Richard Healy