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TIS – Tourism Innovation Summit 2022 the global summit of technology and innovation for the travel and tourism industry that has celebrated its third edition in Seville (Spain), has brought together international consultancy firms in the tourism sector to analyse the major trends that are transforming the sector. Wouter Geerts, Director of Research at Skift, a world-renowned tourism industry consultancy, Douglas Quinby, Co-founder & CEO of Arival, and Cristina Polo, Market Analyst EMEA at Phocuswright, revealed the main travel and tourism trends that will allow the industry to make decisions to prepare itself and continue to grow.
The three experts agreed that it has taken a long, global hiatus in mobility, like the pandemic, for the tourism sector to experience the most important moment in its history.
Tourism after the pandemic
The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on tourism. However, the industry is recovering strongly, especially compared to previous crises. According to a Skift study analysing the industry’s performance with figures from 2019 to the present day, the sector still stands at 86% of the level recorded in 2019. However, there are success stories from countries, such as Turkey, which despite the pandemic are experiencing a boom in demand and stronger performance than the years before the health crisis.
“The recovery from the health crisis has not been the same. Leisure travel has been much stronger than business travel and has picked up much of the losses. But also, domestic travel has been the main driver compared to international travel, which has had an impact on the performance, composition and distribution of travellers in countries such as Spain, which until the pandemic were very dependent on international travellers”, said Wouter Geerts.
Even so, a possible recession in 2023 and the high inflation that many countries are currently experiencing are starting to affect tourist demands. “I think the key conclusion is that the pandemic has shown us that neither growth nor full recovery is a given. We are seeing high demand today, but this could soften in 2023 as concerns about the economy, inflation and high prices are having an impact on decision-making,” Geerts added.
On the other hand, Douglas Quinby presented the conclusions of a study carried out by Arival on 10,000 travellers from all over the world that analyses trends in experiences: trips, activities, and attractions. Quinby highlighted how tourists have changed their way of travelling: the large groups that years ago contracted all-inclusive trips are becoming increasingly distant and today it is the small groups that are looking for personalised experiences that are the protagonists of the sector.
Continuing with the changes, the same is happening with the way of managing bookings, with a very significant increase in bookings made via mobile phones and at the last minute. In addition, we must not forget the youngest. According to Quinby, “58% of Generation Z travellers and millennials place much more importance on experiences than on things. In addition, social networks such as TikTok and Instagram are their tools for discovering places and deciding on one place or another”.
In this sense, Cristina Polo, from Phocuswright, highlighted the need to continue working to move from ‘contactless’ travel to ‘frictionless’ travel; for instance, travel that offers a more effortless experience. Polo also provided some insights into the changing behaviour of European travellers: European tourists are generally concerned about sustainability, but very few are willing to pay more for it. According to a study by Lufthansa and Hopper, 73% of travellers would be willing to pay more for more sustainable options, however, only 1% of travellers paid for it.
TIS2022 has brought together more than 6,000 professionals from the tourism sector in Seville, together with more than 400 international speakers to delve into the strategies that will mark the future of an industry that is an economic and employment driver in the world economy. In addition, more than 150 exhibiting firms such as Accenture, Amadeus, CaixaBank, City Sightseeing Worldwide, The Data Appeal Company, EY, Mabrian, MasterCard, Telefónica Empresas, Convertix, Keytel, PastView and Turijobs presented their latest solutions in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Cybersecurity, Big Data & Analytics, Marketing Automation, contactless technology and Predictive Analytics, among others, for the tourism sector.
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