Analysts agree that the sector is recovering despite uncertainties, while surveys among travellers suggest a strong desire to “make up for lost time”.
How will the tourism industry really perform in 2022? Despite the uncertainties caused by some variants, most industry analysts maintain substantially positive forecasts thanks to the compensatory effect of proximity tourism, the growing supply of safe tourism with outdoor and nature solutions and, above all, thanks to the high pace of vaccination campaigns in many countries. Including Italy. Where, as of early December, more than 88% of adults have received at least one dose, more than 85% have completed the vaccine cycle and about 61% of potentially affected adults have already received the third dose as well.
Italy in pole position
The OECD has given its verdict: on the basis of the excellent data for the summer of 2021, the organisation that brings together the world's most developed economies estimates that Italy will close the year with minus 30-35% compared to pre-Covid levels, a decisive recovery over 2021. 2022 is expected to close at roughly the same levels as 2019, putting it a year ahead of previous forecasts of a full recovery.
According to an analyst known for its scientific publications such as Euler Hermes, Europe could see a faster recovery than the US and Asia, with 771 million arrivals expected in 2024, more than triple the historic low reached in 2020. For Italy, more than 26 million arrivals from abroad are expected in 2021 and almost 37 million in 2022. The company's forecasts are therefore more conservative than the OECD's (2019 arrivals were over 64 million), but remain positive. Thanks to the vaccination campaign, Euler Hermes estimates that around 42 million Italians (70%) went on holiday in 2021, 66% of whom stayed in Italy, particularly in Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily and Tuscany.
Big data tracks trends
The data collected by OTAs not only confirms this recovery, but also shows some interesting trends. According to a survey by Booking, for example, one of the strongest trends will be travel as a source of well-being: it is for 79% of respondents. And, after, a long "abstinence", three quarters of travellers (75%) will approach the next holiday "as if it were the first time", appreciating the travel experience itself. As much as proximity destinations continue to be popular, 60% of respondents will go on holiday to meet new people and 62% are ready to face unpredictability with digital support.
Also according to Expedia research more than a third of travellers (36%) are more ready to embrace the unexpected and want to make up for the many postponed or cancelled trips by treating themselves well with the "holiday of a lifetime" (43%). The appeal of outdoor activities is verified: 24% like the idea of sleeping under the stars, 17% diving and 13% trekking.