The world experienced the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, which began in late 2019 and resulted in drastic changes in people’s lives – affecting activities and business industries. One that is among the severely impacted is the hospitality and tourism sector.
Drastic measures were taken to prevent the virus from spreading, such as implementing domestic and international travel bans. While these measures may have played a part in profit decreases in many hospitality and tourism businesses, they also helped in controlling the pandemic and ultimately contributed to its end.
Today, the hospitality and tourism industry has rebounded and is entering a new era after the pandemic, bringing about changes, challenges, and the emergence of trends. Our article here will provide insights into the industry’s condition during and after COVID-19, as well as explore the newly emerged post-pandemic travel trends that will shape its future!
Recap of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry During the Pandemic
Recap of the hospitality and tourism industry during the pandemic.
Soon after its first identified case in Wuhan, China, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic outbreak, and the global hospitality and tourism sector immediately suffered losses. Some of the notable ones are listed as follows:
- Significant declines in the average daily rate (ADR) and revenue available per room (RevPAR) occurred in many hotels and resorts throughout 2020;
- In 2020, international travel decreased by 30% compared to the pre-pandemic period;
- Disrupted production and supply chains in hospitality and tourism businesses around the world;
- Profit decline of 11-29% in Europe’s hotels for 2020;
- Travel bans, border closures, and quarantine measures prevented many workers from reaching their workplaces and carrying out their jobs, especially those in the hospitality and tourism industry, resulting in income reductions and job losses.
Time passes, and thankfully, the pandemic situation has come to an end. Now, people are entering the “new normal” – a term for the post-pandemic era – including the hospitality and tourism industry. So, what does it look like now? Have a sneak peek below!
Post-Pandemic Hospitality and Tourism Industry
Post-pandemic hospitality and tourism industry.
Following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality and tourism industry worldwide is gradually regaining its strength. So far, the year 2023 has resulted in promising prospects and results for the sector. How does the face of post-pandemic hospitality and tourism look? Find out a few highlights of its current state here!
- As of now, the global hospitality market has grown from $4,390.59 billion in 2022 to $4,699.57 billion, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7%, and it is expected to continue increasing;
- In the second quarter of 2023, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated that global air traffic had reached 96.1%, indicating a full recovery and an increase compared to the pandemic period;
- The travel health index reached pre-pandemic numbers for the first time in April 2023 and surpassed them in June 2023;
- The contribution of international tourism is expected to reach 95% of 2019 numbers by the end of 2023;
- Despite the removal of COVID-19 regulations, most travelers continue to prioritize health and safety measures. Therefore, high-quality maintenance and cleanliness are key features that hotels and resorts should not overlook.
Alongside such good news, another thing that should be taken into account is how the recent dynamic of post-pandemic hospitality and tourism brought new waves of industry trends – which we will talk about in the next section!
10 Travel Trends That Will Shape the Future of the Hospitality & Tourism Industry
Customer demands and preferences have shifted in this new era of hospitality and tourism, leading to notable changes. One of them is the emergence and rise of post-pandemic travel trends! Here, we have compiled a list of these trends, which are expected to shape the future of the hospitality and tourism industry.
1. Bleisure Travel
Millions of workers were forced to work remotely or in a hybrid model during COVID-19. Now that the pandemic has ended, corporate activities such as business trips are making a comeback, but they are rebranding as “bleisure travel”. This trend combines business trips with vacations, allowing workers to explore tourist destinations while working at the same time!
Personalization is also an important aspect of hospitality and tourism. A hospitality and tourism business that offers flexible travel or stay experiences tailored to customers’ needs stands a better chance of satisfying customers, leading to repeat purchases or visits.
3. Active Ecotourism
Another trend that has emerged after the pandemic ended is active ecotourism. It combines the passion for travel with direct involvement in conservation or local environment support activities. Many travelers believe this trend is a way to help the hospitality and tourism industry become more sustainable in the long term!
4. Wellness Travel
The previous pandemic has prompted people to be more aware of their physical and mental health, leading to the growth of wellness travel. This trend primarily focuses on achieving, promoting, or maintaining the best health and life balance through activities such as spa and yoga retreats.
Gaining popularity during the pandemic, the staycation trend involves spending a holiday in one’s home country rather than traveling abroad. One common staycation activity is taking day trips to explore local attractions, which is suitable for those who want to break from their routines briefly while still avoiding post-pandemic regulations!
6. Transformative Travel
This newly emerged trend, called “transformative travel”, goes beyond traveling for leisure. Transformative travel aims to create a difference in the lives of both oneself and others by engaging in significant activities that add purpose to the trip. Some examples of transformative travel include volunteering trips, apprenticeship retreats, and more.
7. Tech-Empowered Travel
We already know how crucial technology is in the modern hospitality and tourism industry. As the pandemic ends, tech innovations are expected to continue bringing ease to the travel experience in the future, with top advancements including mobile apps, automation, NFC, and digital payments.
8. Experience Tourism
Many travelers have grown bored with ordinary vacations, leading to the rise of the experience tourism trend. This trend focuses on providing an emotional connection with cultures and nature through once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences, offering travelers an authentic encounter in their destinations!
9. Longer Trips
As international travel returns to normal, tourists have started going on extended long-distance trips once again. According to a travel forecast by Evolve, the average duration of such trips is expected to increase, leading to the “longer trips” trend, which is predicted to continue to rise due to the availability of many work-from-home opportunities.
10. Sustainable Tourism
The UNWTO Secretary-General has warned that climate change is a greater threat than the previous pandemic. The good news is that more travelers and hospitality businesses have become aware of this crisis, thus beginning to adopt a mindset to save the planet. Actions taken to address this trend can be seen in the emergence of sustainable hotels and eco-friendly travel!
Having successfully weathered the pandemic crisis, the hospitality and tourism industry continues to adapt to the challenges of the post-pandemic era. The emergence of travel trends, expected to shape the industry’s future, is crucial for any hospitality and tourism business to monitor closely. Understanding these trends enables hospitality and tourism establishments to grasp their target markets and their demands, ultimately setting businesses for success!
While the hospitality and tourism sectors around the globe are back on their feet, the job market is also bustling up again at the same time. Hotels and resorts are searching for talent to help them navigate the new era of hospitality and tourism, meaning a sea of opportunities for those who want to enter the industry.
If you are looking to get a head start in the global hospitality and tourism industry, the easiest and best way is to join a work-based internship or a management training program — both of which you can find at RMC Asia.
Our programs combine practical work with cultural exchanges that take place in prestigious hotels and resorts across Asia’s enticing destinations. Participants will not only gain professional development during their programs but also access to the international job market and enjoy unforgettable cultural experiences in their program destinations!
Think you’ve got what it takes? Join our successful participants now and embark on your own hospitality internship and management training adventures with us!