UNWTO | 26th September 2022
According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals almost tripled in January to July 2022 (+172%) compared to the same period of 2021. This means the sector recovered almost 60% of pre-pandemic levels. The steady recovery reflects strong pent-up demand for international travel as well as the easing or lifting of travel restrictions to date (86 countries had no COVID-19 related restrictions as of 19 September 2022).
An estimated 474 million tourists travelled internationally over the period, compared to the 175 million in the same months of 2021. An estimated 207 million international arrivals were recorded in June and July 2022 combined, over twice the numbers seen in the same two months last year. These months represent 44% of the total arrivals recorded in the first seven months of 2022. Europe welcomed 309 million of these arrivals, accounting for 65% of the total.
Europe and the Middle East Lead Recovery
Europe and the Middle East showed the fastest recovery in January-July 2022, with arrivals reaching 74% and 76% of 2019 levels, respectively. Europe welcomed almost three times as many international arrivals as in the first seven months of 2021 (+190%), with results boosted by strong intra-regional demand and travel from the United States. The region saw particularly robust performance in June (-21% over 2019) and July (-16%), reflecting a busy summer period. Arrivals climbed to about 85% of 2019 levels in July. The lifting of travel restrictions in a large number of destinations also fueled these results (44 countries in Europe had no COVID-19 related restrictions as of 19 September 2022).
The Middle East saw international arrivals grow almost four times year-on-year in January-July 2022 (+287%). Arrivals exceeded pre-pandemic levels in July (+3%), boosted by the extraordinary results posted by Saudi Arabia (+121%) following the Hajj pilgrimage.
The Americas (+103%) and Africa (+171%) also recorded strong growth in January-July 2022 compared to 2021, reaching 65% and 60% of 2019 levels, respectively. Asia and the Pacific (+165%) saw arrivals more than double in the first seven months of 2022, though they remained 86% below 2019 levels, as some borders remained closed to non-essential travel.
Subregions and destinations
Several subregions reached 70% to 85% of their pre-pandemic arrivals in January-July 2022. Southern Mediterranean Europe (85% of 2019), the Caribbean (82% of 2019) and Central America (80% of 2019) showed the fastest recovery towards 2019 levels. Western Europe (74%) and Northern Europe (73%) also posted strong results. In July arrivals came close to pre-pandemic levels in the Caribbean (95%), Southern and Mediterranean Europe (94%) and Central America (92%).
Among destinations reporting data on international arrivals in the first five to seven months of 2022, those exceeding pre-pandemic levels were: the US Virgin Islands (+32% over 2019), Albania (+19%), Saint Maarten (+15%), Ethiopia and Honduras (both +13%), Andorra (+10%), Puerto Rico (+7%), United Arab Emirates and Dominican Republic (both +3%), San Marino and El Salvador (both +1%) and Curaçao (0%).
Among destinations reporting data on international tourism receipts in the first five to seven months of 2022, Serbia (+73%), Sudan (+64%), Romania (+43%), Albania (+32%), North Macedonia (+24%), Pakistan (+18%), Turkey, Bangladesh and Latvia (all +12%), Mexico and Portugal (both +8%), Kenya (+5%) and Colombia (+2%) all exceeded pre-pandemic levels in January-July 2022.
Tourism spending rises but challenges grow
The ongoing recovery can also be seen in outbound tourism spending from major source markets. Expenditure from France climbed to 88% of 2019 in January-July 2022 while spending from Germany rose to 86%. International tourism spending stood at 77% in Italy and 74% in the United States.
Robust performance was also recorded in international passenger air traffic, with a 234% increase in January-July 2022 (45% below 2019 levels) and a recovery of some 70% of pre-pandemic traffic levels in July, according to IATA.
Stronger-than-expected demand has also created important operational and workforce challenges in tourism companies and infrastructure, particularly airports. Additionally, the economic situation, exacerbated by the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, represents a major downside risk. The combination of increasing interest rates in all major economies, rising energy and food prices and the growing prospects of a global recession as indicated by the World Bank, are major threats to the recovery of international tourism through the remainder of 2022 and 2023. The potential slowdown can be seen in the latest UNWTO Confidence Index, which reflects a more cautious outlook, as well as in booking trends which are showings signs of slower growth.
Tourism Experts Cautiously Confident
On a scale of 0 to 200, the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts rated the period May-August 2022 with a score of 125, matching the bullish expectations expressed by the Panel in the May survey for the same 4-month period (124).
Prospects for the remainder of the year are cautiously optimistic. Although above-average performance is expected, tourism experts rated the period September-December 2022 with a score of 111, below the 125 score of the previous four months, showing a downgrade in confidence levels. Almost half of experts (47%) see positive prospects for the period September-December 2022, while 24% expect no particular change and 28% consider it could be worse. Experts also seem confident about 2023, as 65% see better tourism performance than in 2022.
The uncertain economic environment seems to have nonetheless reversed prospects for a return to pre-pandemic levels in the near term. Some 61% of experts now see a potential return of international arrivals to 2019 levels in 2024 or later while those indicating a return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 has diminished (27%) compared to the May survey (48%). According to experts, the economic environment continues to be the main factor weighing on the recovery of international tourism. Rising inflation and the spike in oil prices results in higher transport and accommodation costs, while putting consumer purchasing power and savings under pressure.
For UNWTO Tourism Barometer Report Volume 20 Issue 5
September 2022 click below
Airbnb is proposing a number of policy changes that governments and cities could adapt to improve remote work across the globe.
The home-rental platform released a white paper Thursday morning outlining steps that locations and lawmakers can take “to leverage the rise of remote work for their communities.” Recommendations include improving the visa process, encouraging visitor support of the local economy, and streamlining tax compliance.
For full report click below.
Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced passenger data for July 2022 showing that the recovery in air travel continues to be strong.
Note: We have returned to year-on-year traffic comparisons, instead of comparisons with the 2019 period, unless otherwise noted. Owing to the low traffic base in 2021, some markets will show very high year-on-year growth rates, even if the size of these markets is still significantly smaller than they were in 2019.
Total traffic in July 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 58.8% compared to July 2021. Globally, traffic is now at 74.6% of pre-crisis levels.
Domestic traffic for July 2022 was up 4.1% compared to the year-ago period and is now driving the recovery. Total July 2022 domestic traffic was at 86.9% of the July 2019 level. China saw strong month-to-month improvement compared to June.
International traffic rose 150.6% versus July 2021. July 2022 international RPKs reached 67.9% of July 2019 levels. All markets reported strong growth, led by Asia-Pacific.
“July’s performance continued to be strong, with some markets approaching pre-COVID levels. And that is even with capacity constraints in parts of the world that were unprepared for the speed at which people returned to travel. There is still more ground to recover, but this is an excellent sign as we head into the traditionally slower autumn and winter quarters in the Northern Hemisphere,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Air Passenger Market in Detail - July 2022
International Passenger Markets
Asia-Pacific airlines posted a 528.8% rise in July traffic compared to July 2021, the strongest year-over-year rate among the regions. Capacity rose 159.9% and the load factor was up 47.1 percentage points to 80.2%.
European carriers saw July traffic rise 115.6% versus July 2021. Capacity rose 64.3%, and load factor climbed 20.6 percentage points to 86.7%, second highest among the regions.
Middle Eastern airlines’ traffic climbed 193.1% in July compared to July 2021. July capacity rose 84.1% versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 30.5 percentage points to 82.0%.
North American carriers had a 129.2% traffic rise in July versus the 2021 period. Capacity rose 79.9%, and load factor climbed 19.4 percentage points to 90.3%, which was the highest among the regions for a second month.
Latin American airlines’ July traffic rose 119.4% compared to the same month in 2021. July capacity rose 92.3% and load factor increased 10.5 percentage points to 85.2%.
African airlines saw an 84.8% rise in July RPKs versus a year ago. July 2022 capacity was up 46.7% and load factor climbed 15.5 percentage points to 75.0%, the lowest among regions.
Domestic Passenger Markets
Brazil’s domestic traffic rose 24.2% in July and have now reached pre-pandemic levels.
India’s domestic RPKs rose 97.8% in July and are now exceeding 81% of 2019 levels.
Air Passenger Market overview - July 2022
The Bottom Line
“Aviation continues to recover as people take advantage of their restored freedom to travel. The pandemic showed that aviation is not a luxury but a necessity in our globalized and interconnected world. Aviation is committed to continuing to meet the demands of people and commerce and to do it sustainably. We have set a goal to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, which is in line with the targets of the Paris Agreement. Governments will have the opportunity to support our commitment by agreeing to a Long-Term Aspirational Goal (LTAG) of net zero aviation CO2 emissions by 2050 at the upcoming 41st Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). With governments supporting the same goal and timeline, we and our value chain partners can move forward with confidence towards a net zero carbon future,” Walsh said.
> View the presentation at 7 September media briefing (pdf)
> Read the latest Passenger Market Analysis (pdf)
> Access transcript of Willie Walsh remarks
New Report: Investing in Digital Transformation to Create the Traveler Experience of the Future
Digital transformation isn’t a new concept. It needs no introduction, but requires far more definition than it usually gets.
Built upon an in-depth survey of 951 senior-level travel and hospitality industry leaders in 12 markets across the world, the 2022 Digital Transformation Report — the third annual collaboration between Skift and Amazon Web Services (AWS) — explores how travel companies are taking stock of their technological systems, benchmarking best practices against their peers, and learning when to build in-house, buy off-the-shelf, and partner with specialized vendors.
Through such efforts, travel companies can create digital strategies that will truly transform their entire organizations and the customer experience.
In this report
Jacopo Dettoni | FDI Intelligence | August 31, 2022
The fresh wave of tourism that has mounted in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic has yet to translate into a new investment cycle for the whole industry as operators replenish existing capacity in developed markets and reassess risk exposure in developing economies.
The Tourism Investment Report 2022, fDi’s annual special report tracking investment activity in the tourism industry, based on fDi Markets proprietary data and co-produced with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), finds that foreign investors announced a total of 250 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the tourism cluster in 2021, worth about $9.5bn. This is down from the 271 projects worth $17bn announced in 2020.
Despite continuous subdued investment levels, “the sector has been showing clear signs of recovery,” Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the UNWTO writes in the report. “This is expected to continue throughout the rest of 2022 as more destinations ease or lift travel restrictions, and pent-up demand is unleashed.”
UNWTO data show that worldwide tourist arrivals increased by 5.3% in 2021 from the previous year and were almost three times higher in the first quarter of 2022 as they were in the first quarter of 2021.
Major stakeholders in the tourism ecosystem are already reaping the benefits. Budget airline Ryanair has smashed pre-Covid passenger records in the quarter from April to June. In the same period, booking platforms Booking.com and Airbnb also exceeded the financial results achieved in the same period of 2019.
However, the outlook remains “fragile”, as Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary put it, in light of the current geopolitical and supply chain risks, and capital expenditure plans remain on hold across the industry.
Although absolute figures remain far from pre-Covid levels, a few regions have already experienced early signs of an investment recovery. Foreign investors announced more than twice as many investment projects in Africa in 2021 as they did the previous year. Project announcements in the Middle East and Western Europe also increased by 66.7% and 19.2% respectively.
However, China’s zero-Covid policy has crippled any recovery prospective in the Asia-Pacific region, where announced FDI projects fell by another 60% in 2021 from the previous year. Emerging Europe also experienced weak investment levels in 2021 – announced FDI projects decreased by 60% in 2021 from 2020.
Worldwide, hotel developers remained conservative with their greenfield FDI commitments, with projects in the sub-sector falling to 115, from 172 in 2020 and 522 in 2019. While also remaining below 2019 levels, FDI projects announced by tourism digital services providers rebounded to 61 in 2021, up from 44 the previous year as innovation and new technologies such as artificial intelligence disrupt functions once provided by legacy players like marketing, booking services and customer relationship management providers.
US hotel powerhouse Marriott confirmed itself as the single largest foreign investor in the tourism cluster, followed by Hyatt International and Travel + Leisure Co (formerly known as Wyndham Destinations). Selina remains the only Latin American hotel group in the top 10. Accor, InterContinental Hotels Group, Barcelo, Melia Hotels International and TUI Group round out the top 10 from Europe while Minor International is the only representative from the Asia-Pacific region.
For full report click below
Maldives Construction Boom: Despite Climate Fears, Many New Resorts Expected To Open By 2025
Jim Dobson | Aug 31, 2022,11:56am EDT
The Maldives is sinking at a rapid pace. According to alarming reports released by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, nearly 80 percent of the popular destination could become uninhabitable by 2050. But that has not stopped the massive construction boom taking place throughout the 26 atolls linking 1,190 coral islands scattered throughout 35,000 square miles in the Indian Ocean.
This small nation hopes that world leaders will reduce their carbon emissions before it is too late. With the lowest terrain of any country in the world, many of the islands are only 3.5 feet above sea level and could become swamped by rising tides. The global climate threat has not swayed tourism, which is stronger than ever with record numbers of visitors despite the pandemic. Many travelers are eager to visit the luxurious island resorts with their stunning beaches and famed over-water villas.
Aerial view of Ritz-Carlton Maldives: RITZ-CARLTON
With the current construction boom, the Maldives will soon get at least 7 new island properties.
They join recent newcomers Patina, Ritz-Carlton, the refreshed Naladhu Private Island, Nova Maldives, and Joali Being. Many additional properties are also undergoing renovations and additions of private residences and villas.
Among the new arrivals are; Alila Kothaifaru in Raa Atoll, offering up 80 beach and waterfront villas designed by Singapore-based Studiogoto.
Avani+ from Minor Hotels Group will be located on Fares Island in Baa Atoll. This large property will include 200 rooms and villas. Opening in 2023.
Mandarin Oriental is developing a resort overlapping three private islands on the Bolidhuffaru Reef in the South Malé Atoll, all scheduled to open in 2025. The accommodations include 120 stand-alone villas, 56 overwater villas, 64 beachfront villas, and 10 branded Residences at Mandarin Oriental.
Six Senses Kanuhura, an avant-garde design with 80 over-water and beach villas, will join its sister property in Laamau. The resort encompasses three private islands; two deserted neighboring islands and Kanuhura itself. Plans are to add another 12 single and multibedroom villas. They are expected to open in December 2022.
SO/ Maldives from Accor Hotels will be over Emboodhoo Lagoon in Kaafu Atoll, with 80 luxury villas and opening in 2023.
Hilton has the brand new Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa joining their Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which opened in 2019, and the Curio Collection by Hilton Hotel SAii Lagoon Maldives.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has 50 remodeled over-water villas, the now famous Muraka underwater suite, and new dining options, including the undersea restaurant Ithaa.
Capella Maldives is part of the one-of-a-kind Fari Islands development, which brings together four individual islands, including Capella Maldives, Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Patina Maldives, and the Fari Campus. Set to open in 2025.
The Bulgari Resort Ranfushi opens in 2025 and will be located in the Raa Atoll with 54 suites, including a Bulgari Villa on its own separate island; add that to the 33 Beach Villas, each with a private swimming pool, and 20 Overwater Villas.
Zazz Island opens in late 2022 and will be located in the South Ari Atoll with 101 overwater and beach villas.
Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa opens in late 2022 and will offer 80 villas on the beach and overwater. The resort will also have five restaurants and a large spa.
Oaga Art Resort opens in late 2022 and is located in the North Male' Atoll. The property will offer 60 villas on the beach and overwater. The focus here is offering creative spaces curated by local and visiting artists and craftsmen from the Maldives.
Look out for Banyan Tree Homm brand, Rosewood, Kempinski, and Nobu Hotels to join the party by 2028.
Maldives officials are touting a new 16 high-rise development called Hulhumalé, which was created out of sand pumped from the sea floor for residents to gradually relocate. And, architecture firm Waterstudio and Dutch Docklands announced another floating waterfront community called The Maldives Floating City to open in 2024, only 15 minutes from the capital of Male’.
According to the developer, “The floating city will consist of 5,000 apartments pieced together within a 500-acre lagoon with canals running between the structures. Inspired by the efficient patterns of brain coral, the floating buildings will include residences, hotels, restaurants, schools, boutiques, and a marina. As part of its commitment to sustainability and embracing the Maldivian lifestyle, only allow bicycles and noise-free scooters are allowed on the island. Coral banks will also be installed under the island, doubling as natural wave breakers.”
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.