The pandemic has brought many changes to the travel industry and new trends are emerging. Here are some of our predictions for 2022.
Germans didn't travel internationally
Whether the Baltic Sea, the Lüneburg Heath or the Allgäu region, in the COVID-19 pandemic, many Germans learned to appreciate traveling in their homeland more than ever before. Instead of heading to popular destinations like Thailand or Greece, most simply stayed at home — a trend that continues in 2022. Staying in the country is easy to plan and there's no risk of getting stuck abroad.
Feeling free: Camping
During the pandemic, hotels were closed to vacationers for long periods. So it's perhaps unsurprising that sales of mobile homes and campers boomed. One had to be quick to make reservations, as campsites in Germany were booked up quickly. Yet in 2022, rising fuel prices are dampening campers' moods, since many larger vehicles are gas guzzlers.
Staying alone: Vacation homes
Many things that people love about staying in a hotel, like digging into a breakfast buffet or using a pool or sauna, were not possible during the pandemic summers of 2020/21. Vacationers suddenly shied away from contact with other people and looked for socially distanced solutions. The popularity of vacation homes and apartments grew, and the trend is likely to continue in 2022.
A new way to bike
The pandemic created a boom for electric bikes, aka e-bikes, with sellers in Germany saying they could hardly keep up with orders. Although bookings for bike tours plummeted in the pandemic, as many ventured out finding new ways to discover the countryside on their own. Now that restrictions have largely been scrapped around Europe, the popularity of bike tours is once again expected to return.
The golden era of the digital nomad
Working remotely has been more popular than ever during the pandemic, although the concept of working from where one might typically vacation is not for everyone. It's a niche in the tourism market that some places are embracing to fill financial gaps: The Canary Islands have warmly welcomed "digital nomads." However, employers should be in the loop, or else things could get complicated.
The pandemic hit the cruise industry like a ton of bricks
The pandemic was a blow to cruise industry. In Germany alone, the number of travelers fell from 3.7 million in 2019 to 1.4 million in 2020, and almost to zero in 2021. And that's despite daily COVID-19 checks, high hygiene standards and corona-compliant in-flight catering. Even if the pandemic is now abating, the industry is likely to continue to struggle.
Price hikes for flights
Flight schedules are slowly getting back to normal as people start to travel abroad once again. Yet vacationers will have to dig deeper into their pockets in 2022. Flight prices are climbing due to skyrocketing oil prices as a result of the war in Ukraine. Regardless of this, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the industry to make a full recovery by 2024.
International travel has become increasingly complicated in recent years requiring, among other things, FFP2 masks to be worn, minimum distance to be kept, testing and vaccination requirements to be followed. All of this is changing as pandemic-related measures and entry rules are gradually being scrapped worldwide. Many airlines are also dropping the requirement to wear a mask on board.
Long-haul travel is back
Demand for long-haul destinations is up slightly from the previous year, but still far from pre-pandemic levels. Whether Thailand, Indonesia or South Africa, popular tourism destinations are preparing to welcome back the masses. Even places like New Zealand (pictured) and Australia, which had shut out tourists for months, are welcoming guests again.
Europe remains eternally popular
Deserted squares in popular European tourism destinations like St. Mark's Square in Venice will likely not be seen again for a while. Northern European tourists are already on their way south: Italy is the most popular destination for German Easter vacationers, along with Austria. Expensive airline tickets won't dissuade them, as traveling by train or car is also possible.
More sustainable travel
Many popular tourism destinations, especially those which have dealt with overcrowding in recent years, had a chance to take a step back and ponder what it would be like without the masses. As a result, tourism providers have been working on sustainable travel concepts. Already, there are more train connections in Europe such as Zurich to Amsterdam, Milan to Palermo or Vienna to Paris.
Author Anne Termèche
Permalink - https://p.dw.com/p/49eAV