When will the global travel market recover after COVID-19?

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The Korean government has granted self-quarantine exemptions to overseas entrants who have completed vaccinations since the 21st of this month.

It is difficult to say that some countries, including Korea, have yet to fully escape the pandemic, but many countries are preparing to return to their pre-COVID-19 daily lives by exempting entry quarantine and easing regulations.

Now that it is gradually returning to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic, when will the global travel market recover?

Today, AX is going to introduce the timing of the global travel market recovery predicted by four global tourism agencies.

To sum up first, each agency predicted that the recovery of the travel market will accelerate in 2022 and that it will fully recover in 2024.

I hope this article will help you see the predictions of each institution and prepare for the recovery period.

(1) How does the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predict?

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) published an article in January 2022 on the importance of tourism for economic recovery in 2022. According to an article released by UNWTO, it is expected to recover from the third quarter of this year in 2022.

In the first year of COVID-19, the number of international tourists fell 73 percent from before COVID-19, falling to a level that has not been seen in the past 30 years, making it the worst year in tourism history.

The global tourism industry increased 4% in 2021 compared to 2020, but according to UNWTO's preliminary estimate, international tourists are still 72% lower than in 2019 before the pandemic, so the travel market still suffered.

Recently, the omicron variant said travel bans and restrictions on certain markets reintroduced in some countries would affect recovery in early 2022. However, with the lifting of coordinated travel restrictions, it has been announced that a sustained tourism recovery is taking place in many markets, mostly Europe and the Americas.

More than half of the UNWTO panel of experts expected the travel market to rebound in 2022, while the rest expected a rebound in 2023. And most experts predicted that international arrivals from around the world will return to 2019 levels from 2024.

The graph below shows the opinion of the panel of experts on the full recovery of the travel market.

<Sources : UNWTO 2022-01-13 UN report Underscores Importance of Tourism for Economic Recovery in 2022  >

(2) How is the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicting?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the World Airline's Trade Association, which has data on the number of travelers in the world.

Based on this data, it is predicted that it will start recovering quickly in 2022 and fully recover to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2024.

In particular, IATA predicted the outlook in detail by continent. He said he was optimistic about easing or eliminating travel restrictions in major North Atlantic and Europe, and said recovery varies by region, but the Asia-Pacific region is expected to continue to slow as there are no signs of easing strict border measures in the near future with China, the region's largest market.

IATA predicted that the total number of travelers in 2021 was 47% of the level in 2019 before COVID-19, but the recovery will accelerate to 83% in 2022, 94% in 2023, 103% in 2024, and 111% in 2025. The total number of air passengers will reach 4 billion by 2024.

Below is a detailed description and table of recovery times by region as predicted by IATA.

Asia Pacific: The number of travelers in the Asia-Pacific region will reach 68% of 2019 levels in 2022 due to the slow lifting of international travel restrictions and the possibility of a coronavirus recurrence in each country. The Asia-Pacific region will recover in 2025 (109%).

Europe: Over the next few years, markets in Europe are expected to see high short-distance travel within the EU. The number of travelers in Europe will reach 86% of its 2019 value in 2022 and then fully recover in 2024 (105%).

North America: North America will continue to recover in 2022 as the U.S. domestic market returns to its pre-Corona trend and international travel continues to improve. By 2022, the number of travelers is expected to reach 94% of 2019 levels, and by 2023, a full recovery (102%) is expected before other regions.

Africa: Africa's population is slow to vaccinate, making it a little difficult to recover soon. The number of travelers in Africa will gradually recover from other regions, reaching 76% of 2019 levels in 2022 and exceeding pre-crisis levels (101%) only in 2025.

The Middle East: With the limited short-distance market, the Middle East is expected to see a slow recovery, focusing on long-distance connections through hubs. The number of travelers in the Middle East is expected to reach 81% of 2019 levels in 2022, 98% in 2024, and 105% in 2025.

Latin America: The number of travelers to and from Latin America has been relatively resilient during the pandemic, and travel restrictions and passenger flow to and from the region and North America are expected to be limited in 2022. It is expected to overtake the number of travelers in 2019 in the order of Central America (102%) in 2023, South America (103%) in 2024, and the Caribbean (101%) in 2025.

                 <Statistics on the number of travelers compared to 2019>












Asia Pacific












North America












Middle East






South America






Central America






The Caribbean Sea






<Soarce: IATA, 2022-03-01 , Air Passenger Numbers to Recover in 2024  >

(3) How is the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predicting?

According to a report by the World Council for Travel and Tourism (WTTC), if restrictions on overseas travel are eased more globally, it could recover to $8.6 trillion this year.

According to the WTTC, in 2019, before COVID-19, the travel & tourism sector generated about $9.2 trillion in the global economy. However, in 2020, the pandemic has caused a serious loss of about $4.5 trillion.

However, it says the global economic contribution of the global travel and tourism sector could reach $8.6 trillion this year. This is only about 6.4% behind the 2019 level before COVID-19, and it is predicted that the loss will almost recover.

In 2019 before COVID-19, the travel & tourism industry generated 10.4% of global GDP and created more than 330 million jobs. WTTC said this year that governments around the world should continue to focus on introducing vaccines and booster shots so that travelers can move freely without testing in order to reach pre-COVID-19 levels.

Julia Simpson, CEO of WTTC, said: "Over the past two years, the global travel and tourism industry has suffered tremendous losses. If governments ease restrictions on travel and take the lead in opening up, the travel and tourism industry can recover quickly and strongly in 2022, he said, predicting that the travel market could recover in 2022.

<Source: 2022-02-02,Travel & Tourism could grow to $8.6 trillion in 2022, says WTTC, News Article | World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) >

(4) How do global travel market information providers (CAPAs) predict?

CAPA provides predictive data on the timing of travel recovery through the "2021 Asia-Pacific Travel Recovery Report" conducted with the Collinson Group.
CAPA is the latest accurate data provider to airports, airlines, and suppliers around the world. They surveyed 400 executives and obtained the following results.

The global travel market has predicted that the recovery will begin in late 2022 and expectations for the resumption of travel in 2023 will increase to pre-pandemic levels.

According to the 2021 Travel Recovery Report, conducted by CAPA on more than 400 C-Suite and senior management travel industry experts from major global travel brands, 37% of respondents expected a full recovery to 2019 levels in 2023. Twenty-six percent predicted recovery in 2022, while 27 percent predicted full recovery in 2024. The remaining 9% said restoration would not be completed by 2025.

Experts, who responded that the recovery would be delayed, said they expected the recovery to be delayed a little due to concerns over the delayed arrival of collective immunity and the results of quarantine and inaccurate Covid-19 tests. But many experts believe that the government's move to reopen borders will be eased or substantially eased in 2022

<Source : 2021-11-11, Global Travel Leaders Say Confidence in a Full Travel Recovery in 2023 Has Increased, Global Travel Leaders Say Confidence in a Full Travel Recovery in 2023 Has Increased >

So far, I have introduced the recovery period of the travel market after COVID-19 announced by four tourism-related organizations.

Most institutions predicted that the travel market would recover from 2022 and grow further in 2024 than before COVID-19. When do you think the global travel market will recover?

"People want to travel. And when the travel restrictions are lifted, it goes back to the sky. It's hard right now to be normal, but there's good reason to be optimistic about the change in passenger numbers," said IATA Secretary-General Willie Walsh

I look forward to the day when I can recover quickly and allow travelers to travel freely.

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