Tourism revival after Covid

man and woman walks on dock
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on

By Julia Luise Tiemens

Being responsible for 10 percent of the global GDP and more than 320 million jobs worldwide, the tourism industry makes up one of the most important sectors in today’s economy. When the global pandemic hit, thousands of jobs were put at risk and tourism-dependent countries faced huge struggles in their economy. For the last year, many faced the challenge of finding a balance between luring people back to their countries, while simultaneously attempting to prevent new outbreaks. While tourism faced a global high in 2019, it fell around 65% with the crisis; a drastic amount. With most restrictions being lifted and many individuals being hungry for vacation, most countries are now pushing for the recovery of the tourism industry. This brings up new trends and optimism, as well as new challenges. After three years of suffering the turning point might finally be reached. 

In the year 2023, the comeback of tourism could be turned into an all-time high. Figures look promising, as many individuals are not to be held back. Not only are people exhilarated to travel, but they are streaming into the travel agencies to book early in masses. After the years of the Covid pandemic, a lot of screen time, and many canceled vacations, most crave sun, summer, and sea more than ever. Travel agencies started the year on full power; since December the lines are long and bookings are continuously above the ones before Covid. Booking turnovers are not only high in physical rooms, but further in online portals. For obvious reasons, this has high effects on world economics. 

Since 2022 the industry is recovering and reaching back up to pre-Covid figures. Now, in 2023 numbers are passing the old ones. Europe is a leading actor in the global recovery of tourism rebounds. On the continent from January to September 2022, 477 million international arrivals have been recorded. This includes 68 percent of the global total. The demand for air travel and hotel accommodation is at an all-time high, which is reflected in various industry indicators such as air capacity. The tourism exchange market (ITB) is considered the biggest travel fair in the world, held annually in Berlin. Here the mood has reached a maximum, as the bookings have risen 70 percent respective to the year before. Now, the values are starting to pass the pre-covid numbers. For this January, the highest bookings per month ever are reached, according to the managing director Burmester of “Touristic Central Europe”. Compared to January 2019, we experienced a twelve percent plus in bookings. Family reservations are especially at a peak. Just from the end of October 2022, the expenditure for travels has doubled from 28.8 billion euros to 58.6 billion euros. These figures call for new trends and optimism for the summer season. According to the German tourism analysis, six out of ten citizens plan new vacations right now. As positive as this development sounds, travelers have to be prepared for the prices to rise. While in winter it was still manageable, it is not predictable right now how much the rise in summer will include. On the other hand, this will cause more incomes, which brings high hopes for 2023 to be the highest revenue year for the tourism industry of all times and finally bring the recovery from the pandemic. FTI (a global business advisory firm) Ceo Ralph Schiller has stated that there is no way to go lower than during Covid, no economic crisis can ever be this bad anymore. 

Especially Germans, who are regarded as world travel champions, have rediscovered their “Wanderlust”. Even with the high inflation rate of 8.7 percent and the insecurity brought on by the war with Ukraine, most people are just happy to be able to move without restrictions. The top 5 travel destinations this summer for Germans include Turkey, Spain, Greece, Egypt, and Portugal. During Easter, Egypt, the Baleares, the Maldives, and Greece are trending. For most Germans, the priority lies, apart from accommodation and food, in “going-out” and outside activities. In Greece record tourism numbers have been recorded, especially on the popular islands. The vacations in Mykonos, Santorini, and Rhodes are trending and figures are breaking history. From 2019 to 2022 the number of visitors has risen by 56 percent. The tourism minister Vasilis Kikilias has noted that he is expecting a new growth of up to 20 percent. Due to the high demand, the tourism offers on the island have been extended majorly and new ones have been created widely. Many places in Greece have already been booked out to 70 percent, which forced visitors to be prepared for the best hotels to be gone by this time. However, this will make it nearly impossible to save money during travels to Greece. Although the rise of the prices will most probably stay under the average inflation rate, it will still be unavoidable. 

These grave changes in the industry bring on new focuses and enable new trends to emerge. The high demand for travel does not only concern the classical tourism destinations, but all parts of the world map. We witness a new trend of early booking. Since the last few years have been characterized by a lack of being able to plan, this year many families are relieved to map out their trips extremely in advance. To make long travels more affordable, many make use of attractive early booking offers or family specials. Through this, the travel budget to spend in the countries itself, is being made higher and more valuable. Another new trend can be observed in the steady growth of demand for city trips, as well as for overseas travels. Further, cruise ships are back in fashion. Through the regained ability to plan –short as well as long term- similar revenues as before Covid are expected over a period of time. 

When observing the positive side, one could wonder why politicians are still concerned about these figures. Their worries concern the EU’s weakness and decline, which lead to less power of the currency in destinations where prices are steadily rising. Inflation is currently being ignored by many but could lead to a variety of new problems. Others discuss the energy crisis, which is reaching new highs and might get pushed further by the increased use of means to travel. 

Despite all this, this could be the chance to rebuild the sector stronger than ever. After suffering highly, the focus has to lie on making the tourism industry sustainable and resilient for future generations. As long as we have wealthy countries and the world keeps being interconnected there will always be tourism and people wanting to discover the world and new cultures. Maybe we can take the hit it took, by the pandemic, as an opportunity and wake-up call to engage in creating better and renewable traveling, ensuring countries and cities to not be ruined by tourism. 


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