Nothing is as we know it anymore: COVID-19 makes previous knowledge of tourism demand obsolete. Changing tourist flows, travel decisions and spending, customer preferences, growth segments – only slowly is it becoming clearer what the new global travel world looks like.

On 15 September, in a Virtual ITB convention, Statista, the highly renowned global market research company and statistics portal, presented the latest demand data and provided valuable insights into the future of tourism demand.

Claudia Cramer, Director Market Research, Statista GmbH, presented current data and news concerning the global tourism industry.

Claudia Cramer, Director Market Research, Statista GmbH

She outlined the growth experienced in the tourism industry since 1950 – from 25 million international tourists per year to 1.46 billion. When looking at the contribution of the tourism industry to GDP in various countries, tourism, says Cramer, has high relevance in the economies of each country – especially in the Asian markets – but also in many European countries – where tourism is a “great provider of economic health and growth”.

On the other hand, with the Covid-19 pandemic, revenues for the global travel & tourism market is expected to witness a decline of 55% for this year, from a forecast figure of US$767bn to US$349bn.

“This shows that the current situation really has a huge impact on the global tourism market”, says Cramer. She explains that the decline is primarily due to travel warnings and travel bans, and international border closures. There is also an effect from the decline in household budgets and the overall economic situation, along with how different governments will subsidise these industries.

According to Statista, the worldwide travel & tourism market is expected to show first growth compared to 2019 again in 2023, arriving at similar levels to 2019 only in 2025. Online booking revenues will, says Cramer, exceed the growth of the total market, while offline bookings will decline. The overall market growth is forecast by Statista at 3.5% until 2025, and online generated revenues will grow by more than 5%. From a current level of two-thirds, online sales will, she says, reach 72% of total revenue by 2025.

While some countries are more affected than others, trending travel destinations with highest internal tourism revenues are the US, China, Germany and India. All countries are of course seeing a huge decline in 2020, but fast recovery is forecast for 2021, assuming – in the forecast model – that there will be no second total lockdown. The countries with the biggest declines are forecast also to have the highest growth rates. Domestic tourism from 2019 to 2020 has – in many cases – seen an increase – due to travellers being restricted to their own countries. The share of international tourism revenue is expected to increase until 2023 – and China is expected to overtake the US by 2023 in terms of total internal tourism revenues. At the same time, growth in domestic tourism between 2020 and 2023 will be slower than that of international tourism. This is due to the higher impact of Covid-19 on international tourism this year.

In terms of market segments, the cruise sector has been the hardest hit this year, while hotels and holiday rentals have been impacted to a lesser degree. Online sales shares will, says Statista, grow in all segments, and offline will decline across the board, except in the cruise segment, where offline shares remain high, due to the target group and the nature of the travels, making “face to face” discussion more of an essential factor.

Luxury tourism’s growth will, says Statista, be slowed less by the pandemic than the broader tourism market. This, says Cramer, will be the case across all segments, and all geographic zones.

“Especially China will see good growth for the luxury segment,” says Cramer, adding, “It has not been impacted as much as the other segments, meaning it is one segment that can maybe relax a little bit”.

PHOTO – top of page – a domestic tourist in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Domestic tourism has been the least hardest hit as a result of Covid-19, according to Statista.

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