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Americans are poised to travel internationally in a big way in 2023.
As Covid-19 fears subside and the last vestiges of pandemic-era border restrictions have eased, households continue to unleash two to three years’ worth of stagnant demand.
Travel experts say the U.S. dollar remains relatively strong against currencies such as the euro, hybrid work will provide greater travel flexibility, and some airlines are launching new long-haul routes to international destinations. is adding.
Erin Florio, Executive Editor of Condé Nast Traveler, said:
Why international travel is ‘ready for a big comeback’
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According to a recent survey by tourism market research firm Destination Analysts, 31% of Americans are more interested in traveling internationally than traveling domestically. That was a six-point increase from February and a year-to-date high, according to a study released in November.
Meanwhile, Hopper recently reported that 62% of 2023 flight searches in the first week of December were to international destinations, up from 55% for the same period last year. He named international travel among the top three trends for 2023, saying it was “ready for a big comeback.”
Searches for international flights on Kayak are up 1.3% from a year ago, according to company data as of December 18. Searches for domestic flights are down 13%.
According to data from online travel insurance marketplace Squaremouth, the percentage of international trips Americans purchased travel insurance in 2022 reached 2019 levels for the first time during the pandemic. This trend continues for trips booked in 2023.
In 2020 and 2021, amid health concerns and Covid-related restrictions abroad, such as testing requirements, mandatory quarantines, and a complete ban on foreign tourists, the majority of American travelers will travel to the United States. I stayed within the border. Visits to U.S. national parks soared, and RV rentals soared. This is because vacationing outdoors offers two advantages for her: travel and relative virus safety.
Now the fear of the virus has faded. According to Destination Analysts, in September, more travelers were not worried about catching Covid than were worried.
“There is a lot of delayed travel demand.”
Tower Bridge, London.
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2022 was also the year of major international travel, but experts say enthusiasm has waned somewhat, fueled by a spike in virus cases towards the end of 2021 and into the new year, fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant. says the house.
Jessica Griscavage, Travel Advisor and CEO of Runway Travel, said: “We missed a trip for a couple of years.”
This so-called ‘revenge travel’ trend is a term recently coined to describe a rapidly growing pent-up wanderlust, coinciding with the loosening of health regulations abroad and at home.
The U.S. scrapped its Covid testing requirement for travelers arriving by air from abroad in June. This rule also applied to U.S. citizens, who were required to take a negative test within one day of flying.
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Many countries have also completely closed their borders to foreign tourists. Most are now welcoming visitors again. Especially for those who have the Covid vaccine.
Kayak data shows fully vaccinated tourists can access 197 countries without Covid-19 testing or quarantine, and another 16 that are open but require testing.
“We’ve come so far as to go anywhere,” said Florio.
Only 12 countries, including China, Libya, Turkmenistan and Yemen, are still closed to vaccinated Americans, according to Kayak.
Many countries have more restrictions for unvaccinated people. About 69% of Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC recommends getting the latest vaccine information before traveling abroad.
Many countries, including Australia, Bhutan, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore, have relaxed border closures in 2022. Many European countries have also lifted their testing requirements for Americans. (Travelers should refer to his website for the U.S. Department of State for her Covid restrictions by country.)
Additionally, with the surge in remote work during the pandemic, “travel on your to-do list has become a viable reality,” said Nitya Chambers, executive editor and senior vice president of content at Lonely Planet. .
In fact, Hopper found that 67% of travelers travel more often and 20% travel farther due to the flexibility of working remotely.
where travel is growing the most
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
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Travel experts say the Asia-Pacific region is expected to see its biggest recovery in 2023, as it will largely reopen in the second half of 2022.
Japan is probably seeing the biggest surge in interest, they said.The country reopened its borders to travelers on Oct. 11, but some restrictions remain.
“You can hardly talk about travel without Japan being mentioned in 2023,” Florio said, adding that Australia and New Zealand are also “massive.”
Hopper data shows Asia has seen the fastest growth in demand among all regions, showing 27% of international flight searches to Asian cities, compared to 19% last year. I’m here.
In fact, eight of the top 10 most popular international destinations in early December were in Asia and Oceania, Hopper said. Tokyo; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. and Bangkok are the top three, with airfares averaging around $1,200 per round trip ticket.
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International tour operator G Adventures will see the fastest growth in sales in Japan, Thailand and Vietnam in 2023, said managing director Ben Perlo. His November this year was a record month for the company. Sales in his three countries in Asia each beat his November 2019 figure, he said.
But Hopper said Europe remains the most popular destination in terms of total volume, with European cities accounting for a third of all international flight searches, about the same as in 2021.
Long-term rentals (28 days or more) are “significantly more popular in the Asia-Pacific region than they were a year ago,” said an AirBnb spokesperson. However, most long-term stays are in Europe and North America.
According to Google Flight data, Europe’s major hub airport was one of the top searches by Sept. 30 this year. London ranked his number one, followed by Paris (3rd), Rome (6th) and Lisbon (9th). Ho Chi Minh City came in second, while other Asian cities such as Delhi and Mumbai also ranked high (4th and 7th respectively).
According to a recent poll by Destination Analysts, Italy, the UK and France ranked first, third and fifth respectively in the 2023 foreign travel destination rankings. (Canada, Mexico, and Japan come in 2nd, 4th, and 6th respectively)
“Everyone wants to go to Europe,” said Griscavage. ‘It was a destination that everyone missed in the pandemic’
Because of demand, people are becoming more “creative” about how they travel to Europe, she added. season, probably March or late autumn at the earliest.
According to Expedia data, the global demand for travel is similarly evolving, with Europe and Asia being the most interesting. According to Expedia, Edinburgh, Scotland and Sydney, Australia rank first and his sixth, partly due to major events such as Fringe, the world’s largest arts and media festival, and World Pride. .
Economic concerns, inflation ‘not stopping people’
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However, travel is not without its headwinds. Value is a particular concern for travelers whose budgets are being squeezed by high inflation. Overall prices for airfares and hotels have increased by 36% and 3% respectively over the past year, according to the Consumer Price Index.
Hopper said international travel is set to get even more expensive next year, but the consumer price index has signaled downward trends in airfare, hotel and car rental prices in recent months. Despite these economic uncertainties, the desire to travel abroad will continue to grow through 2022, according to destination analysts.
The euro is trading at historically weak levels against the US dollar. That means Americans have been able to get bargains when booking trips to countries like France, Germany, Italy and Portugal, a dynamic that likely drives at least some of the popularity. says Perlo. (The euro has strengthened a bit in recent weeks, though.)
“The current economy and prices are not stopping people from traveling,” Chambers said. “People are at home, they want to go back there, they have a list of things they want to experience and they are doing it.”