May 18. After a turbulent two years, new research from the Mastercard Economics Institute reveals that global leisure and business flight bookings1 have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, while spending on cruise lines, buses and trains saw sharp improvements this year.
Travel 2022: Trends and Transitions delivers critical insights across 37 markets about the global state of travel in a post-vaccine and less restricted chapter of the pandemic era.
Importantly, according to the Mastercard Economics Institute analysis, if flight booking trends continue at the current pace, an estimated 1.5 billion more passengers globally will fly in 2022 compared to last year. Drawing on a unique analysis of publicly available travel data2, as well as aggregated and anonymized sales activity in the Mastercard network3, the report dives into key elements of the traveler journey. Key findings through April 2022 include:
Leisure and business flights surpass pre-pandemic levels: Travel recovery has been a largely consumer story for much of the pandemic. By the end of April, global leisure flight bookings surpassed 2019 levels by 25%; short- and medium-haul leisure flight bookings were up 25% and 27%, respectively. Global business flight bookings exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time in March, with long-haul specifically growing double-digits in April. The return to the office was an important driver.
Hard-hit transportation industries see spending rebound: Recent spending levels point to greater comfort with group travel. Global spending on cruises gained 62 percentage points from January to the end of April, though remains below 2019 levels. Buses are back at pre-pandemic levels, while passenger rail spend remains 7% below. Meanwhile, car road trips maintain their appeal, with spending on tolls and auto rentals up nearly 19% and 12%, respectively.
Loosening of restrictions recalibrates tourism map for 2022: Not surprisingly, the ability and convenience of travel has been a driving factor in booking destinations, though 2022 has provided a clean slate with restrictions loosened in much of the world, aside from parts of Asia-Pacific. The result is that the U.S., U.K, Switzerland, Spain and The Netherlands are now the top destinations for tourists globally5.
Source: Travel 2 LATAM