Tourism Bouncing Back

With domestic travel on the rise, the tourism and hospitality industries still have a journey ahead to full recovery.

By Roneshia Thomas
From the November/December 2022 Issue

The travel industry is updating strategies to prepare for growth and a sustainable future. Through the tourism and hospitality sectors, the travel industry will find its way back to pre-pandemic levels.

Although domestic leisure travel in the U.S. is thriving, the recovery remains irregular among all travel sectors. Business travel and international inbound travel spending remain on the lower side, hindering the industry’s recovery as a whole.

tourism and hospitality
(Image: Adobe Stock)

According to the U.S. Travel Association, there have been advocacy efforts to pass federal measures to help fund the travel and tourism industry’s recovery, including enabling the resumption of marketing and promotion to leisure travelers.

There is also industry action to welcome visitors from around the globe, and in a more timely fashion. “We must stop turning away international travelers due to 400-plus day wait times that visitor visa applicants are facing worldwide. It is absolutely unacceptable and a significant deterrent to our national economic recovery. We applaud the bipartisan legislative action introduced to address this urgent problem,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy, Tori Emerson Barnes.

U.S. Travel lays out key legislative priorities for the future:

  1. Rebuilding The Workforce: The labor shortage is hindering the progress of the tourism and hospitality industry’s recovery.
  2. Reigniting In-Person Business Meetings And Events: Business travel is still 56% below pre-pandemic levels. Pre-pandemic business travelers accounted for 40-60% of lodging and air revenue.
  3. Modernize Visitor Visa Processing: Extended visa wait times hurt recovery by dissuading visitation by international travelers who spend millions in U.S. and billions of American exports.
  4. Reimagine The Role Of Travel And Tourism In Improving Global Competitiveness: By 2024, the economy is expected to recover $755 billion in travel spending lost during the two-year pandemic.

A report from U.S. Travel predicts that by 2024, travel spending across all sectors of the travel industry will significantly lag pre-pandemic forecasts and according to recent projections domestic leisure travel spending will still be 13% below pre-pandemic forecasts.

“While the road to full recovery may be longer than we would like, we are already looking far beyond the pandemic to a brighter, more globally competitive, sustainable, diverse, and innovative future for the whole of the U.S. travel industry,” said Barnes.

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