For more than two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has ruined millions of people’s travel plans. Even last summer in the wake of newly manufactured vaccines, hopes for enjoying summer travel destinations vanished. First, the delta variant appeared only to be followed by omicron. Though some still forged ahead, many canceled trips and continued waiting for better times. Well, it now appears those better times have arrived, and summer vacation travel is expected to boom. With a mindset that many are calling COVID revenge travel, summer 2022 is likely to be a banner year. And that’s great news for tourists and for travelers alike.
The term revenge travel is certainly aptly named. Across the globe, people want to make up for the time they lost from the pandemic. No longer do they assume international borders will be open, and travel is no longer taken for granted. As a result, there is a pressing urgency to enjoy summer travel destinations while they’re available. And as you might imagine, the sky is the limit when it comes to making travel plans. According to industry experts, nothing will stand in the way of COVID revenge travel this summer. Between pent-up demand and COVID fatigue, expect one of the busiest travel summers ever.
Summer Travel Predictions
There is already good evidence to support the notion that COVID revenge travel is on the rise. According to recent surveys, roughly 85% of Americans are planning summer travel destinations. Likewise, roughly half plan to take vacations for at least two weeks or more. Of course, this not only involves domestic travel but travel abroad as well. Compared to European travel destination bookings in 2021, current reservations are up 80%. Plus, for countries that have been effectively closed since the pandemic, significant increases in travel are expected. Specifically, a third of Australians already have three or more trips planned for the 2022 season.
Not all summer travel destinations will see an increase in tourists this year. In regions like Latin America and China, COVID revenge travel may be less noticeable. Because these areas continue to have significant restrictions and COVID surges, tourists will be less inclined to consider them. But for other major travel sites, anticipate a tremendous increase in vacationers. This is particularly true for major cultural areas like Paris, Rome, London and others. These summer travel destinations offer precisely the travel experiences many crave. Say goodbye to staycations and camping outdoors, and hello to the return of experiential tourism.
Travel Obstacles Be Damned
Without question, there are some formidable barriers when making plans for summer travel destinations. European turmoil and conflict loom large presently, which might deter some from international travel overall. At the same time, inflation is rising as is the cost of fuel. That means all aspects of COVID revenge travel will be a bit pricier. In fact, domestic airfare has increased 40% in the last year, and the average cost of international flights nearly $1,000. As jet fuel costs increase, tourists can expect these costs to rise even more. Paying for this year’s summer vacation will therefore be higher when compared to pre-pandemic getaways.
For travelers invested in COVID revenge travel, these higher costs will unlikely serve as a deterrent. Pent-up demand from a lack of travel experiences the last two years will help consumers overcome these cost concerns. And for many, pent-up demand aligns well with pent-up savings from a recent lack of travel. Based on this, many in the industry are reporting that customers don’t hesitate to splurge a bit. Many are purchasing upgrades to first-class flight tickets. And few blink an eye at inflationary increases when paying for their summer travel destinations. From their perspective, life’s too short, and the COVID has already robbed them of far too much time.
Summer’s the Best Time for COVID Revenge Travel
Many things have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. One of the most notable changes has involved individuals work habits. Millions now work remotely from home, and many enjoy much greater flexibility in their vacation schedules. Based on this, it might therefore be assumed that COVID revenge travel would be occurring throughout the year. After all, travel costs tend to be less during the off-season, which would be naturally attractive. However, most tourists are still planning summer travel destinations this year rather than considering other options. In essence, summer remains the season of choice when it comes to travel vacations.
Notably, there’s good reason for this. During the pandemic, many kids had to stay at home and embrace online learning. This posed many challenges for students and parents alike. But in nearly all areas today, schools have reopened, and kids are once again attending class in person. Given this, it’s not surprising that summer vacations remain the best time for COVID revenge travel. This is when kids enjoy a break from daily school schedules, and it’s when other activities are needed. Plus, summer still offers some of the best weather in many places for travel. Thus, one thing the pandemic hasn’t changed is the desire for summer travel destinations. Holidays and summertime will always be the peak periods of time when families look to escape.
Moving in the Right Direction
With lower COVID-19 case rates, and with high vaccination rates, summer travel will undoubtedly rise. Many countries are no longer requiring travel testing with proof of vaccination. And the pockets where COVID cases are high are progressively shrinking. All of this suggests that travel and tourism are moving in the right direction. However, some sectors, such as business travel, remains quite low and may continue to be so for a while. Regardless, expect millions of people to engage in COVID revenge travel this year and explore new summer travel destinations. Everyone is overdue for some sense of normalcy, and the summer of 2022 might just fulfill these needs.
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