Data analytics and consulting firm GlobalData has calculated that international travel is set to maintain growth in 2022 with a full recovery expected by 2025.
According to the company, total international departures in 2022 will reach 68% of pre-pandemic levels. This is expected to improve to 82% in 2023 and 97% in 2024, before making a full recovery by 2025 at 101% of 2019 levels, with a projected 1.5 billion international departures. However, GlobalData predicts that the trajectory for the recovery in international departures will not be linear across regions or countries.
According to the company’s analysis, the US rose to become the world’s largest outbound travel market in 2021, as international departures grew by 15% year-on-year in 2021. In 2022, outbound departures from North America are projected to reach 69% of 2019 levels, before making a full recovery by 2024, at 102% of 2019 levels, ahead of other regions.
For European countries, GlobalData predicts that international departures will reach 69% of 2019 figures in 2022. As travel confidence rebuilds, the intra-European market is expected to benefit, driven by preferences for short-haul travel. However, travel recovery must contend with inflation, rising costs of living and the war in Ukraine. As Russia was the world’s fifth-largest outbound travel market in 2019, and Ukraine was the twelfth, limited outbound travel from these countries is expected to hinder Europe’s overall tourism recovery. However, by 2025, international departures are projected to be 98% of 2019 levels.
The analytics company also expects the Asia-Pacific area to lag in terms of recovery. Its data suggests that outbound departures from the region will only reach 67% of 2019 levels in 2022, owing to the relatively slower removal of travel restrictions, and the likelihood of renewed domestic restrictions during Covid-19 outbreaks. This will be particularly influenced by the region’s largest outbound travel market, China, and its continuing border measures. In 2021, international departures from China were just 2% of 2019 levels.
Hannah Free, a travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, commented, “While global international travel is set to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2025, tourism demand may look quite different. From two years of very limited travel, several long-term shifts and short-term trends have emerged. Consumers are now more likely to pursue authentic experiences, demand personalized travel offerings, blend business and leisure travel, and be more conscious of their overall environmental impact. There is still a long way to go to reach a normal situation. However, a potential full recovery by 2025 at the latest gives good reason for the travel and tourism industry to be optimistic for the future.”