As governments worldwide ease coronavirus restrictions and adopt Covid-19 as a manageable aspect of daily life, the travel industry hopes to witness a resurgence this year. The travel industry has reported a considerable increase in bookings for spring and summer seasons. The World Travel & Tourism Council (W.T.T.C.) anticipates that travel and tourism in the United States will reach pre-pandemic levels in 2022, generating nearly $2 trillion for the U.S. economy. The council also expects outbound travel from the United States to increase, projecting bookings over the Easter holiday period to be up by 130 percent over last year. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the travel industry is witnessing a strong desire among travelers to take significant bucket list trips, especially to far-flung international destinations and European cities.
Air Travel: Fewer restrictions, but for now the masks stay on:
Flying in 2022 looks set to be much like flying in 2021: reminiscent of prepandemic normal at times and infuriating at others. The International Air Transport Association expects 150% more passengers to fly this year than last year, representing nearly 300 airlines. Airline companies have been gradually adding back old routes and expanding new ones. You will have more options for where you can fly, and destinations that have long been closed to most travelers, including Australia, the Philippines, and Bali, have started reopening. However, you will still need to check the latest entry requirements before flying internationally. There are over 100,000 health and travel restrictions in place, according to Meghan Benton, a research director at the Migration Policy Institute.
International airfare costs have dropped 18% since 2019, and the cost of international airfares purchased hit an all-time low in January, according to Airlines for America. Predicting whether, when, and where prices will rise is harder than it was before the pandemic, given new variants, evolving health threats, travel restrictions, and pandemic psychology. Despite this, most airlines are continuing to waive flight change fees on all but basic economy flights.
When flying within the United States, the federal mask mandate will remain in place until at least late March, and everyone will need to wear a mask. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, believes that masks on planes should continue. Gary Leff, who writes about air travel for View from the Wing, agrees with the betting markets that predict the mask mandate will go away by the November midterm elections.
Lodging: Hotels fight back, sometimes with robots:
This may be the year when travelers return to hotels. Oxford Economics expects total bookings to nearly equal 2019 stays, although more than roughly $48 billion spent before the pandemic on food and drink, meeting spaces, and more will largely remain missing, given the continued slump in business meetings and group events. Leisure travelers have kept the industry afloat, and vacation businesses have thrived in mountain and coastal destinations.
Some hotels have started utilizing robots, self-check-in, and other contactless solutions to maintain cleanliness, hygiene and minimize face-to-face interactions. Many hotels have implemented additional health and safety measures, including face mask requirements, increased cleaning protocols, and offering socially distant amenities. In-room entertainment technology has been updated to include streaming services and contactless room service. Additionally, hotels have updated their cancellation policies to be more flexible, with fewer fees.
As Covid-19 restrictions ease and vaccine distribution expands, the travel industry projects a resurgence in 2022, generating revenue for local economies. Though the pandemic continues to pose uncertainties, the travel industry has witnessed a considerable increase in bookings for the upcoming spring and summer seasons, with travelers opting for big bucket list trips, especially to far-flung international destinations and European cities. The airline industry is set to eventually rebound although there will be some turbulence.