Travel: Quarterly Statement Q4 2022

January 2023

The latest Travel Quarterly Statement reveals that travel and tourism continue to power on through their recovery. However, dark clouds are gathering as recession looms in advanced markets and growth slows in China. Yet the reopening of China’s borders is welcome relief, finally free of its zero-COVID-19 policy despite cases rising and new restrictions put in place for Chinese travellers. Despite controversy, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was a success for sport and travel to the Middle East.

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Key findings

Powering on

The speed of recovery noted in the Q4 2022 forecast is even stronger than predicted in the previous quarter. Inbound tourism spending recorded an impressive growth rate of 122% in 2022, fuelled by strong pent-up consumer demand, combined with the ramping up of capacity. The outlook for 2023 also looks bright, albeit with a slower pace of growth as recession looms. The effects of the war in Ukraine also continue to take their toll, with high fuel and food prices.

Return of China

The return of Chinese visitors is a major turning point in the global travel recovery. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, China accounted for around 100 million visitors annually, and this has been a much missed source of demand since 2020, not just in Asia Pacific but around the world. With the end of the country’s zero-COVID policy and the opening of borders to international travel from 8 January 2023, China is back, with the promise of enormous spending power from “revenge travel”.

Asia Pacific unbound

The pandemic has entered the endemic stage in Asia Pacific, with the region having been slower off the blocks in opening up during the pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions are, however, being reinstated in certain destinations, like Japan, as Chinese visitors are once again on the move. India and the Maldives are ahead of the curve when it comes to recovery to pre-pandemic levels.

Dollar high

The US dollar reached record highs in 2022, with its strength expected to carry over into 2023, as the currency is seen as a safe haven in times of uncertainty. This bodes well for continuing strong US outbound tourism demand, particularly for Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. There is, however, a risk of recession, which would scupper the growth prospects for tourism, as US consumers tighten their belts and holiday closer to home.

Scope
Key findings
Updated forecast for travel: Hopes for a U-shaped recovery
Global view: Accelerated rebound kicks in
Game of two halves: Winners in the global north and south
97 countries see upgrades to their forecast outlook
Majority of countries witness downgrades as global economy runs out of speed
More and more restrictions lifted for travel to take off
Qatar welcomes the world to the 2022 FIFA World Cup
China retires its zero-COVID policy, unleashing pent-up outbound demand
Strong US dollar bodes well for US outbound travel
UK faces cost of living crisis and new winter of discontent
Asia looks to regain ground and accelerate sustainable growth
Mexico and the Caribbean ahead of the curve in Latin America
Speed of recovery tempered by the fallout from peak inflation
Global growth outlook continues to worsen amid rising recession risks
Persistent and broadening inflation significantly reduces consumer spending power
Real GDP annual growth forecasts and revisions from last quarter
Euromonitor International and COVID-19: Forecasts and analysis
Travel COVID-19 data and reporting timeline
About Euromonitor International’s Travel Forecast Model
Travel Forecast Model applications
Growth decomposition explained
Significance and applications for growth decomposition
Key applications for Travel Forecast Model

Travel

Travel encompasses several categories including tourism flows, lodging, travel modes, in-destination spending and booking.

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