Tourism and Traveling Trends for 2023
In 2023, a virtually completely free year is at hand, which means we can travel to most places without restrictions or harsh vaccination requirements. What exactly does this imply in terms of the travel industry in general? How long will expensive travel be possible and will cheap flights really disappear?
This is an attempt to predict what’s in shop for the tourism industry this year. The analysis does not assume another disease outbreak or the need for travel restrictions for other reasons. There’s a list of very specific predictions regarding the trends that will dominate global tourism in the year 2023.
Although there are few countries that still require pre-entry testing, and even fewer where only vaccinated travelers are allowed (such as the US, which still requires vaccination), the number of countries will probably decrease in the second half of the year, and it is possible that we will see a complete end to travel restrictions and mask-wearing rules before the summer season.
The only question is how China will change after the current major epidemic wave, whether it will maintain its strict (more) entry rules or relax them and we will soon be able to travel there without restrictions.
Last year saw a significant price surge in the accommodation market, with some cities asking double or even triple the previous price for a room. Previously very favorable prices are a thing of the past, but some consolidation is expected this year. During the high season, more expensive hotel prices will remain, even at higher levels than before the epidemic, but from September onwards, prices are expected to return to levels that tourists can afford.
NOTE: Also read silly string.
New heights in numbers
One of the biggest questions is how many people will travel in 2023. The year 2022 saw international travel reach 63% of the pre-pandemic stats with 900 million tourists. This year is expected to break previous records set before the pandemic (in 2019) in most countries. Airlines and hotels could have their best year ever. And in the summer season, the global tourist industry could even face capacity constraints again, with potential frequent overbooking of hotels and flights.
Wellness, saunas and bathing were one of the big losers in the epidemic. Hotels and spas with this type of service were closed for a long time because of the restrictions, but as soon as the restrictions were lifted, life returned almost as fast as lightning and the pools and saunas were full. However, towards the end of last year, the energy crisis forced several hotels to reduce their spa capacity. Still many of them are offering the same standard of service, and some won’t even open until spring. By Mid-Spring at the latest, a return to normality, with the reopening of capacity and the closure of hotels, is expected. And from then on, wellness and spa tourism will be back in full swing.
This segment was one of the biggest price booms last year and is not expected to be any different this year – especially in July-August, which is the high season. For those looking for a better deal, look to June and September – when crowds are smaller and prices are lower. As last year, there are unlikely to be a significant number of last minute trips, so don’t expect to see much of this.
The ski season is underway, although for a long time the lack of snow was a problem, this problem is now beginning to be solved. Although there were fears earlier that this year’s season would be affected by the epidemic, these predictions have not been confirmed, and it looks likely that next year will be a full season in most locations.
The exotic travel market is also expected to return to the previous trend this year, with vaccination-free and travel-restricted travel everywhere (perhaps even Miami by the end of the year). So anyone planning such a trip, either now or in the last months of the year, should no longer fear that sudden government measures will override their calculations and they will have to cancel their trip.
This summer could bring more surprises around airports – strikes and capacity problems due to labor shortages could cause the queues in terminals seen this summer. This could lead to significant delays and cancellations, which should be expected – especially during the peak summer season.
Travel between the two waves after the epidemic had one huge advantage: both airlines and hotels were extremely flexible, allowing you to change or cancel your reservations for free at virtually any time. However, that option is now a thing of the past, as we are back to normal, airlines and hotels have removed this option at the cheapest fares. But perhaps it is worth it to be able to travel freely again, without restrictions – all year round if all goes well.
However, not all trips have to be distant and time consuming. New York visitors, as well as locals who want to ride around the Big Apple, can simply rent an electric bike.