WTM Global Report: Leisure travel is more important than ever for consumers

Monday, November 6, 2023


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The latest WTM Global Travel Report, presented at WTM London 2023, reveals encouraging trends for the global tourism industry. Consumers worldwide are increasingly prioritizing leisure travel in their discretionary spending, signaling a positive outlook for the post-pandemic travel landscape.

The report predicts that in 2023, the number of leisure trips taken will be just 10% lower than the pre-pandemic peak in 2019. Notably, the value of these trips, in terms of dollars spent, is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.

Several factors are influencing this trend, including rising costs in the aviation sector due to fuel, staffing, and financial challenges. However, consumers in advanced economies are continuing to prioritize leisure travel spending, with growth in emerging markets aligning with pre-pandemic projections.

Looking ahead to 2024, the report anticipates robust demand for leisure travel, with a strong focus on domestic tourism. Long-term growth in the tourism industry appears promising, with leisure travel spending projected to more than double 2019 levels by 2033. One of the key drivers of this growth will be the increasing number of households in countries like China, India, and Indonesia that can afford international travel.

While the report outlines an optimistic future, it acknowledges climate change as a potential challenge, particularly in terms of displaced demand and shifts in seasonality.

Juliette Losardo, Exhibition Director at World Travel Market London, emphasizes the need for vigilance and encourages travel businesses to closely examine the report’s sections on demand drivers, risks, opportunities, and emerging traveler trends. This analysis can help businesses assess their path and adapt to evolving consumer preferences and industry dynamics.

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