The Future Looks Bright For Leisure Travel: WTM Global Report

For consumers around the world, leisure travel is a priority when it comes to their discretionary spending and that’s positive new for the global travel industry.

The good news came in the form of the WTM Global Travel Report – produced in association with Oxford Economics – and released during the recent WTM London.

The 70-page report reveals that the number of leisure trips taken in 2023 will be just 10% lower than during the prior peak in 2019. However, the value of these trips, in dollar terms, will end the year in positive territory relative to before the pandemic.

As well, the new report explains that pressure on fuel, staffing and finance costs for the aviation sector is one of the factors driving up prices. However, consumers in advanced economies are prioritizing leisure travel spend in the near-term, while the overall growth trends for leisure travel in the emerging markets are back in line with pre-pandemic projections.

The study points out that: “Increasing costs combined with potential downward shifts in consumer outlook pose a threat to the industry, but there are currently no clear signs that costs are a deterrent to trip volumes.”

As for 2024, the report indicates that demand for leisure travel will be ‘robust,’ with domestic tourism continuing to perform well.

As for the future, the industry’s long-term growth is projected to remain strong and by 2033 leisure travel spending is expected to be more than double 2019 levels.

One driver of this growth will be the significant increase in the number of households in China, India and Indonesia able to afford international travel.

Destinations in line for a triple-digit increase in the value of their inbound leisure business over the next decade include Cuba (103% growth), Sweden (179%), Tunisia (105%), Jordan (104%) and Thailand (178%).

Howeer, a caveat to the long-term optimism is climate change, although the report says the main impact will be displaced demand and shifts in seasonality.

Juliette Losardo, Exhibition Director, World Travel Market London, observed: “The WTM Global Travel Report takes an incredibly detailed look at how our industry has recovered after the pandemic. It is full of positive indicators that validate the work we have all put in to get travel back on its feet.”

Losardo continued: “But there is no room for complacency. We encourage travel businesses to have a look at the sections on drivers of demand, risks and opportunities and emerging traveler trends. Mapping your own take on these topics to the opinions of our experts is a quick way for any business to evaluate the path they are on.”