Few sectors were as heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as tourism was. Confinement and restrictions were huge blows to operators and are still behind many of the challenges that firms face today.
However, 2022 was the year that marked the return to normality, with a much more stable epidemiological situation in most parts of the world. This allowed tourism to resume and almost reach pre-pandemic levels in some cases.
According to data compiled by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a total of 477 million international tourists entered Europe between September and January last year, thanks to intra-regional demand and travel originating from the United States.
In addition, international expenditure by tourists from France, Germany, Italy and the United States of America is now at 70% to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, demonstrating a successful recovery from the worldwide lockdown.
In the latest study, travel industry analysts surveyed people in 14 different markets, including the United States, with the aim of understanding and analyzing the trends, behaviors and preferences of tourists in this new post-COVID reality.
The majority of Americans surveyed consider the level of entertainment of a destination before traveling there. They prefer going to a fun destination where they can take part in a variety of interesting activities during their stay. In turn, the second most influential factor when choosing a destination is the gastronomy the place has to offer.
Besides choosing fun destinations, 61% of Americans enjoy visiting place with great food where they can try new dishes.
Surprisingly, they no longer consider COVID-19 as a relevant concern when traveling. Two years ago, this was a main issue worldwide, and therefore the priority was choosing a Covid-safe destination. As mentioned previously, since these concerns are now in the past, the sector has almost achieved the pre-pandemic levels. In this regard, around 49% of Americans choose their destination based on COVID-19 safety, placing it as the third most influential factor when choosing a destination.
Compared to European countries, 56% of the European consumers surveyed revealed they investigate a country’s COVID-19 safety before traveling to it, making it the most influential factor when choosing a destination.
This percentage rises to 71% for Germans, making it the main reason to pick a location.
Regarding the least important priorities when traveling, American consumers do not tend to take the amount of sports activities available into consideration when choosing a destination. Around 24% revealed that this is not a determining factor when traveling.
Also, Americans do not mind traveling to a destination they have been to before, 28% of them are willing to choose a destination they have previously visited.
In addition to these travel trends, the study analyzed the most popular products and services when it comes to online shopping.
40% of Americans ranked travel tickets in third place, and clothing and concert tickets were ranked in first and second place respectively. In other words, Americans tend to book and plan their travels online, usually on airline websites, travel agencies or through travel agents.
Although 2022 was the year of the return to normality, many Europeans continued to keep COVID-free locations as one of the main reasons for choosing their holiday destination.
The fact that some countries were able to cope with the situation better than others may have been key to receiving more tourists this year.
Although the situation was still complicated, the tourism has picked up again, reaching almost pre-pandemic levels, with many people being interested in lesser-known tourist destinations or those that have more to offer in terms of culture and leisure.