As the world gradually recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel industry is hopeful for a strong comeback in 2022. With an increase in bookings for the spring and summer seasons, the World Travel & Tourism Council projects travel and tourism in the US to reach pre-pandemic levels this year. However, uncertainty remains over the pandemic’s course and government policies on mask mandates and testing requirements for travel.

Industry Conferences and Events in 2022

Industry conferences and events play a crucial role in bringing together peers and partners for both structured and spontaneous interaction. However, the remainder of 2022 will likely be a lean year for these gatherings. Travel managers surveyed place a high value on the networking that takes place at these events, but nearly three in four respondents say their companies will spend less on external conferences than in 2019. Companies are prioritizing the most constructive events and closely monitoring attendance, with more than half canceling or postponing events and adjusting attendance expectations.

Outbound Travel from the US

Outbound travel from the US is expected to increase, with Easter holiday bookings projected to be up by 130% over last year. Recovery is expected to pick up as infection rates subside and travelers benefit from vaccine protection. There is a strong desire among travelers to take big bucket list trips, particularly to far-flung international destinations and European cities.

Domestic Travel and Tourism

Travel and tourism will start slowly and stay closer to home. Traveler preferences for domestic destinations reachable by car and stays at private rental properties instead of crowded hotels and resorts are expected to increase. A recent study found that 82% of travelers polled had changed their travel plans for the next six months. Tourism recovery typically begins locally, with travelers first venturing out closer to home. There will be a lot of demand for domestic travel, especially for drive-to destinations, with nearly a quarter of those that had changed their travel plans for this year switching to driving from flying.

Future Travel Destinations 

Online travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip is finding that the continental U.S. is the top draw for future client travel, but there is also interest in domestic destinations like Hawaii, as well as the Bahamas and Caribbean destinations like Jamaica. As the world continues to navigate the new normal, travelers are adapting their plans and preferences to ensure safe and enjoyable experiences.