Travel and the year ahead

Travel Weekly Insight Annual Report 2021-22

2021 proved to be the travel industry’s first litmus test post lockdown. Despite the travel sector facing many hurdles linked to the pandemic over the course of the year, there are promising signs of recovery. The research carried out for this report confirms that consumer demand for travel is strong, providing a positive outlook for 2022. While the new variant poses potential challenges for the coming months, the experience gained over the past two years will help the sector cope and adapt yet again.

The title of the report, The world has changed, implies however that there is no return to normality. As the sector focuses on recovery while still very much living in the pandemic, it also needs to start tackling the bigger, more long-term challenge of climate change. The travel industry is intrinsically tied with places being as they are today and even small changes in the ecosystem can impact the nature of these places. It is therefore imperative that the sector takes bold strategic action to ensure there is a future for the sector.

Future of Travel

The travel experience is virtually unrecognisable, with COVID-19 and climate change shaping how and when we travel. Recent changes, particularly measures such as face masks and Passenger Locator Forms (PLFs), are likely to remain. Another factor is the potential complexity of travel requirements. Slight variations in policy between airlines, destinations, and local government are seeing passengers seek more detailed advice when booking. Add climate, sustainability and emissions targets into the equation and the impact on consumers, not least cost, could be long lasting.

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Digitisation and investment in technology will be essential for everyone in the travel industry. It enables businesses to become more efficient and innovative in their operations, helping them keep up with customer expectations and streamline their entire ecosystem. But, as hardware and software are upgraded, staff need consideration too. Since many people left the sector in the first wave of the pandemic, organisations urgently need to attract new talent and upskill workforces as the industry moves closer toward net-zero.

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Building Resilience

Climate change has moved to the top of the agenda as the world continues to live with the COVID-19 pandemic. Triggering the call for emissions to be slashed by 2030, the travel industry must also play its part to ward off its most damaging effects. This will require the industry to collaborate on collectively improving its understanding of climate change and how it can take strategic action to reduce emissions.

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