International travel is fast recovering beyond expectations, according to industry leaders during WTTC’s 21st Global Summit in Manila last month.
Marriott International group president, Craig Smith, enthused: “We have been blown away by how fast we have recovered. We have missed every forecast in every place when those gates opened. I’ve been through four to five downturns in my career – I’ve never seen a recovery this fast.”
Hotels’ average rates are also speeding ahead.
“In the past, it was three years to recover these average rates,” Smith added.
Surprisingly, the luxury travel segment leads the pack.
“Everyone is shocked at the pace luxury travel returns when everyone was expecting it to be impaired. Pricing growth in top-end luxury resorts is stronger than any other segments globally,” said IHG group CEO Keith Barr.
Barr attributed the luxury tourism’s return to the strength of consumers in general. After two years, the cost did not matter – they just wanted to travel.
HotelPlanner and meetings.com CEO, Tim Hentschel, noted “huge rebound” in weddings while sports tourism was the first to recover in the US and around the world.
“The younger generations have driven back the interest to travel internationally, not necessarily in all countries. Millennials have the highest and most sustained levels of interest to travel, hence, they’re still the engine of travel around the world regardless of their region,” Hentschel explained.
Rajah Travel president and chairperson, Aileen Clemente, said “bleisure and luxury are the travel segments growing more” although “the pace of recovery is not the same everywhere in the world”.
Clemente added that recovery depends on factors, including the destinations’ location, visa and vaccination protocols, and anticipated fear of being stuck in a country due to a lack of transparent procedures.