ITB Berlin: Int’l Tourism Spending to Reach pre-Covid-19 Levels in 3 to 5 Years

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International tourism spending is expected to reach the pre-Covid-19 crisis levels in 3-5 years, a survey by Euromonitor International revealed during the virtual ITB Berlin NOW 2021 trade show.

According to data presented by Euromonitor International Head of Travel Research Caroline Bremner, global tourism inbound spending dropped by 57 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

During the event, Bremmer said that tourism spending could either pick up quickly by mid-2021 and be 20 percent below the pre-crisis levels or – in the worst-case scenario – be 40 percent below the 2019 levels.

In a more optimistic scenario, “tourism revenues and receipts could recover by 2022. But, if – for example – there is a delay in the mass roll out of vaccinations, it could take an additional five years for global tourism spending to reach the pre-crisis levels,” she added.

Germans, Americans, Chinese plan to spend more

Meanwhile, data presented by Claudia Cramer, Director of Market Research at Statista, people in Germany, the US and China are already making travel plans and appear willing to spend more for holidays in 2021.

Around 70 percent of those surveyed in Germany, the US and China are thinking about private trips this year. Specifically, 37 percent of Germans, 42 percent of Americans and 66 percent of Chinese are planning one or more trips.

Close to 25 percent of respondents in Germany and the US and over 35 percent in China also believe they will spend more money on traveling over the next 12 months than during the same period to date.

Source: Statista – ITB Berlin

Beach holidays are popular in every country. For Germans and Americans visiting family and friends is most important, while the Chinese prefer city breaks.

According to the Statista survey, demand for domestic and nature/outdoor trips is expected to rise further in 2021.

Travelers look for safety

Meanwhile, one-fourth of the people surveyed in China and one-third in Germany and the US do not plan or intend to plan a trip soon.

The majority of people not planning to travel this year say this is due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Statista – ITB Berlin

More specifically, 50 percent of Germans not planning to travel in 2021 say they feel uneasy about taking trips during the pandemic. In the US the corresponding figure is 34 percent, and in China even 56 percent.

By comparison, only 23 percent of German respondents, 21 percent of Americans and 45 percent of Chinese state travel restrictions as their reason for staying at home.

Concluding her presentation, Crammer noted that tour operators this year face the challenge of instilling a sense of safety and wellbeing among their customers.

“We strongly recommend the tourism industry and travel operators to communicate the safety measures they have implemented and ensure a comfortable and safe atmosphere for the wellbeing of their travelers worldwide,” she said.

Competition or ‘coopetition’?

Tourism experts expect tourism recovery to spur competition between destinations, tourism products and companies.

Statista’s Claudia Cramer thinks that competition will be particularly strong in trending and emerging sectors of the tourism industry including those related to digital innovation that affect the operation of booking systems and the effectiveness of safety measures.

Strong competition is also expected in thematic forms of travel that are in high demand among travelers such as nature and outdoor activities, and domestic travel.

On the other hand, Caroline Bremner from Euromonitor International expects destinations to work together towards recovery.

“I think that there is going to be ‘coopetition’ (cooperative competition) among destinations as they will be working together and not against each other, in efforts to get out of this crisis,” she said.