MasterCard Publishes Travel Industry Trends
New insights from the Mastercard Economics
reveal that consumers are taking advantage of a more traditional
travel ecosystem in 2023, prioritizing leisure travel and
pioneering new corridors around the world.
The Travel Industry Trends 2023 report
delivers key insights about the global state of travel, punctuated
by shifting economic landscapes, persistent consumer demands, and
a reopening of mainland China.
In the face
of a changing economic landscape, post-pandemic preferences for
experiences over things and a consistent demand for leisure
travel shape the 2023 outlook. Initially lagging leisure travel,
business travel found its footing in the latter half of 2022,
especially in cultures prioritizing a return to office. With an
uncertain economy providing some cross-market turbulence, mainland
China’s reopening is expected to bolster growth globally with
concentrated impact in Asia Pacific, according to Mastercard
Economics Institute estimates.
- Leisure and business travel are
growing at the same pace. Driven by the long-awaited lifting of
travel restrictions in Asia, global leisure travel remains robust,
with flight bookings up roughly 31% in March 2023 compared to the
same month in 2019.
In the second half of 2022 into early 2023,
corporate flight bookings caught up to leisure flight bookings
driven by regions with a strong return to office culture.
leisure and business travel are now growing at the same rate.
insights show demand for in-person meetings, with the most
significant growth in commercial travel and entertainment expenses
being led by Asia Pacific and Europe up 64% and 42%, respectively,
between January-March 2023.
China’s reopening benefits global and Asia Pacific tourism.
China’s reopening following tight COVID19 regulations comes at a
time when it will likely have a positive impact on the experience
economy as pent-up demand for travel is expected to drive strong
By March 2023, spending on experiences was notably 93%
of where it was in 2019 despite minimal travel last year.
Economies in the Asia Pacific region could be obvious
beneficiaries of China's opening, given their strong ties to
international trade, tourism and geographical proximity.
Based on Mastercard Economics Institute estimates, other countries that are
expected to benefit include northern Europe – Germany and France –
and Brazil, which could see a boost in their exports to China as
the economy recovers.
establish new corridors. As consumers are enjoying higher incomes
and returning to some level of pre-pandemic comfort, they’re also
starting to venture further from home to new locations.
travelers from the Asia Pacific region, the United States and
Australia remain favorite destinations for spring and summer
journeys. Beginning in late 2022, visitors to Hong Kong SAR
started to increase, with the destination edging its way into the
top 10 list and soaring to #3 in February 2023.
experiences, such as splurging on high-end accommodation and
luxury travel in places like France and Italy, will likely entice
Chinese tourists emerging from a zero-Covid environment to rejoin
the experience economy.
continue to prioritize experiences. Preference for experiences
over things persists, and travelers are demonstrating new demand
for the unique.
Potentially influenced by social media and
entertainment, travelers are landing in lesser-known destinations
in search of cultural immersion. As of March 2023, global spending
on experiences was up 65% while spending on things is up 12%
compared to 2019.
Experience-oriented spending is surging in
certain corridors where pandemic lockdowns have expired, but
Chinese tourists who traditionally over-index on luxury retail
compared to other tourists could provide a boost to goods spending
“In 2023, travel came
roaring back in Asia as China re-opened its borders and other
markets eased the last of their pandemic-era travel restrictions,”
said David Mann, Chief Economist for Asia at the Mastercard
Economics Institute. “As people around the world prioritize
experiences over things, the strong demand for travel is expected
to last far beyond the initial ‘revenge travel’ bump. As we look
ahead to the peak summer travel season, the big question is
whether flight and accommodation supply can keep up with demand.”
You can read the full report
(opens in a new tab/window).
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