Six trends that will revitalize travel in 2022

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Six trends that will revitalize travel in 2022
Source: Twitter @AmadeusLatam
November 12, 2021

Daniel Batchelor, Vice President, Global Corporate Communications & Social Responsibility at Amadeus shares his vision for the upcoming season

By Daniel Batchelor, Vice President, Global Corporate Communications & Social Responsibility, Amadeus.

It's that time of year again, when we look into our crystal ball - with the help of anonymous aggregated travel data and conversations with Amadeus experts - to see what the travel industry can look forward to in the coming year.

Personally, I hope the future holds at least one sunny vacation for me and my family on the beautiful beaches of Sarasota, Florida, our favorite vacation spot, and I know I'm not alone. The last two years have been a roller coaster ride for most people around the world. Now that vaccines and digital health passports are in the works, we can finally start looking forward to new adventures, both near and far. 

Fortunately, Amadeus data tells us that things are looking up. From Costa Rica to Cape Town, travel bookings are on the rise, and the data reveals some interesting patterns. Together with a team of industry experts, we have defined these patterns and identified six trends that we believe will reinvigorate the travel space in 2022 and beyond.

1. Savor the now

The old adage "the ride of a lifetime" has never been more appropriate.

Forced to stay home for months, we've all had time to reflect on what matters most. 

Amadeus sees a significant increase in searches for travel to epic destinations or experiences. Searches for Tanzania - where travelers can see the Big Five in the wild - are up 36%. Bookings to the Peruvian cities of Lima and Cuzco, near Machu Pichu, have risen almost 50%, and flights to Petra, in Jordan, famous for Indiana Jones, have risen 22%. All of these signs suggest that this trend will continue to grow, with the islands of the Indian Ocean and even Antarctica showing increased demand for travel.

What's important to the traveler: Trapped by the urge to live in the moment, travelers are making their travel dreams come true - whether it's staying close to home and cycling across the country or visiting iconic landmarks in faraway destinations.

2. Friendcations

Smiles, memories and adventures created with friends = priceless 

For years, researchers have claimed that strong social relationships are the key to happiness. If we didn't know before 2020, we know now. The last two years would have been infinitely more difficult without Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, and WhatsApp, but they are no substitutes for being able to see friends in real life. So it's no wonder that 2022 is gearing up to be the year of big in-person gatherings.  

Amadeus data supports this trend. Travel searches to Cancun (Mexico) and Cartagena (Colombia), very popular destinations among groups of friends, have doubled compared to the previous year. For their part, travel searches to Las Vegas have increased by 61%, and in Europe, Barcelona and Ibiza have seen a healthy double-digit increase.

We expect the growth of group travel to continue among friends throughout 2022. 

The important thing for the traveler: If the pandemic has shown us something, it is the importance of friendship and that hugs in real life are the secret of happiness. With new technologies that make group travel even easier - like Amadeus Traveler ID, which provides automatic identification and verification of COVID-19 documents at any travel checkpoint - group travel is going to be safer and easier. Now is the time to rekindle relationships with a hard-earned friendcation.

3. Active ecotourism

Actions speak louder than words; our focus is on activity-based ecotourism

Wanderlusters around the world try to balance their environmental and social concerns with their wanderlust, putting their money where their mouth is. A recent survey commissioned by Amadeus revealed that two-thirds of consumers consider sustainable travel to be a priority, and 37% of respondents believe that opportunities for travelers to engage in preserving travel destinations will help the sector to be more sustainable in the long term.

We also see it in our data. Travel searches from the US to the ecological paradise of Costa Rica have risen 234% year-over-year, and in Europe visitors to neutralized Iceland have risen a healthy 11%.

What's important to the traveler: With the rise of ecotourism, in-destination activities with local grassroots organizations, volunteer opportunities, and carbon offsets are set to grow in popularity this year and beyond.

4. Business trips are ready to take off

The way of working has changed, and so will business trips

COVID-19 forced millions of people to work from home, but productivity remained constant, and employers have taken notice. Nearly 40% of the US workforce can now work from anywhere, and in other countries that number is even higher. Amadeus, for example, is rolling out a hybrid work model globally to balance employee flexibility with business needs. 

But working from home offers even more incentives for employees to meet in person, with colleagues and clients. Video conferencing works fine, but nothing substitutes for an in-person meeting. Our data strongly supports that business travel is on people's minds, with 72% of business travelers eager to travel in the next year, and half of travelers saying they will be flying for business by the end of 2021.

The important thing for the traveler: Our data is clear: four out of every five business travelers are willing to get on a plane to work at this time, as long as there are security measures in place. With job openings increasing and worker shortages in many industries, companies are looking for new ways to attract and retain talent. That means bringing employees back together, while making payments and expenses easier. 

5. Wanderlust streaming

From Rome to Roman Holidays; Consumers will find their traveling "muse" in unexpected places

After having spent months dreaming from home and unable to travel abroad, let alone leave our homes, it is no wonder that people are looking forward to new adventures. In the last two years, we have turned to television, streaming services and YouTube en masse - Brits spent a third of their waking hours watching television or videos online in 2020 - and all these media have influenced the place we want to go next.

What's important to the traveler: Almost half of tourists spend more time looking for a vacation than the length of the trip itself, but what if technology could help travelers book their dream vacation more quickly? With smart speakers, AI, sensory perception and biometric technology, travel companies have the opportunity to anticipate consumer travel aspirations based on the media they have been watching, to make their dreams of trip are even easier to reach.

6. Futuristic and fast

Long journeys are over; more time to explore the world

Imagine you could book a ride in a weather-resistant, collision-free, low-emission vehicle that runs 24 hours a day and at speeds that transform multi-hour trips into minutes. This is what British inventor George Medhurst devised in the 18th century as a super-fast alternative to trains: the hyperloop, a series of low-pressure, vacuum-powered tubes to transport small cabins full of people or goods. 

The important thing for the traveler: Do you think that airplanes, trains and cars are the only way to get around? Not for much longer. By the end of this decade, travelers will be able to consider a whole series of new means of transport. These incredibly fast and hyper-efficient innovations will likely make the world a much smaller place.


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