The travel and tourism industry is one of those industries that felt the most significant impact due to the global pandemic. Is this a good sign for the travel industry as border restrictions ease? Is the industry on its way to recovery? 2023 could be the year that things 'go back to normal', so let’s see if the experts agree with these forecasted trends.
How is the Travel Industry Recovering in 2023?
The months initially succeeding the official declaration of a global pandemic saw a massive blow to the travel and tourism industry. With many airlines grounded and tourist attractions shut down, the industry was crippled, and plenty of people lost their jobs. After about three years since the onset of the pandemic, it looks like 2023 is the year when the travel industry recovery entirely takes shape. At least, that is what the data are telling the experts.
According to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), they project that international travel in 2023 will return to its pre-pandemic level in some regions. However, the rate at which the recovery will take place will vary per region. For instance, the international tourist arrivals in the Middle East and Europe hit 83 percent and almost 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels, respectively!
The UNTWO also adds that the total number of international travellers in 2022 was over 900 million. It was a considerable rise from the 2021 numbers, although that is merely 63 percent of the pre-pandemic levels.
The Asia Pacific is another region wherein industry experts see a positive tourism trend. The Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2022 report published by the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council showed the revenue from travel within the region had produced a total revenue forecast growth of 71%.
Top Travel Trends 2023 Shaping the Industry
While the travel industry is not yet back to its original form, it’s getting closer there. Here are the top projected trends in travel for 2023.
1. Experiences Reign Supreme
After some years of being forced to stay at home, many travellers are itching to get out there. But the time spent in isolation has changed many people's perspectives on travel. They are now seeking meaningful experiences that improve their quality of life and bring them mental wellness. So it's not just about the destination but the experiences that come with those destinations.
The phrase “travel like a local” has been used a lot recently, and this is one of those travel trends predicted to continue long after 2023. With that in mind, travellers are more likely to seek out a new experience, especially if it's authentic.
2. Hospitality Technology Will Become Ubiquitous
The rise of touchless payment options during the pandemic is one of the travel trends in 2023 that will likely continue even in the post-pandemic world. Biometric payments like GooglePay and ApplePay remain mainstream options for travellers. Not only are these convenient, but they offer touchless payment solutions.
A few other tech products will dominate the travel industry in 2023. Metaverse, for example, is believed to help the travel industry grow and recover as it inspires customers and travelers, especially when discovering new destinations.
3. Relaxation, Inspiration, and Exploration
The pandemic opened the eyes of many to the importance of wellness and mental health. This new-found focus on well-being extends to travellers' preferences for travel destinations.
Many travelers are now seeking destinations that enrich their physical and mental health. Some turn to natural destinations, while others choose eco-friendly cabins and off-grid experiences. Unique destinations with breathtaking views or local immersions are a welcome change, even if some would sacrifice basic amenities and luxuries.
4. Compensating for Lost Time
Even if inflation is at an all-time high in various parts of the world, especially within the Asia Pacific region, it isn't doing much to prevent people from traveling. Many travelers are willing to spend more on travel as long as it promises them a new and enriching experience.
Travel experts believe that this willingness to go the extra mile, as far as spending is concerned, is a way to make up for the time lost during the past few years. In addition, many travelers have pent-up desires to experience new destinations and activities. So even if they have to spend more, they're willing to, as long as it delivers the desired experience.
5. Work from Roam
From 2019 to 2021, many people switched to the work-from-home setup. Even though many offices have welcomed back employees, many employees prefer to work from home. This trend is also extending to the travel industry. As more people enjoy the work-life balance that working from home offers, they are taking it further and dipping their toes into digital nomadism.
Remote work has opened their eyes to travel to various locations without missing work. As long as you can find travel locations with access to the internet, it’s possible to explore your favourite travel destinations and work. The increasing desire to work outside liberates people, making them realise that you don't have to give up your dream to travel to pursue a job. The definition of 'office' is blurred. It could be from a poolside cabana or on the balcony of your hotel room.
Travel industry experts believe this is a trend from the new normal that is here to stay.
Where Do Flexible Workspaces Fit Into These?
As the travel industry recovery is on pace, travellers seeking more work-life balance and wanting to pursue the kind of independent professionals’ life have more options now than before. A flexible workspace is one of the essential tools in someone's arsenal if they want to be able to work to fund this new-found lifestyle.
The freedom offered by workplace solutions like serviced offices, co-working spaces, and virtual offices will empower future workers. It also coincides nicely with the rise of the gig economy, wherein more people are choosing to work independently rather than being tied to a company. Some of these people are building their startups so they can become the boss of their own companies. A flexible workspace is an ideal solution to fuel your desire for travel and to have the reliability of a dedicated office space wherever you travel.
Most flexible workspace companies are based in central locations in major cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Sydney. Therefore, there are plenty of options for travelers to access these workspaces at prime locations to keep your business (or gig) running even when you travel.
The future is looking bright for the travel industry. While the industry has not reached its full recovery and hit the pre-pandemic status at the moment, the trends in travel for 2023 are showing positive signs.
For those looking to maximise the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world, you should take advantage of flexible office solutions. These services empower your travel dreams so that you are not confined within the traditional ‘office’ walls and contribute to the industry's recovery.