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There’s no question that the pandemic quaked the foundations of the global travel and tourism sector to its core. Three years down the line, the ground has at last significantly settled, although the landscape now looks a bit different than it did before the arrival of the COVID-19 era.
Among the aspects of the travel scene that have altered significantly over the past several years is the in-destination industry, consisting of things like day tours, activities, attractions and other local leisure offerings.
Such experiences are still highly popular among tourists and other travelers, but changes in industry regulations and consumer demands amid challenging circumstances have effectively reshaped the market, according to marketplace intelligence company Phocuswright. It recently called the in-destination segment’s post-pandemic recovery “highly variable” and said that an assortment of factors is, “painting a complex picture for returns to growth.”
Its statements are based on findings from its recent report, ‘Travel Experiences: Operator and Consumer Trends’, part of a research project conducted jointly with in-destination experiences company Arival to uncover insights and create forecasts for the in-destination industry.
Results from Phocuswright’s joint research project with Arival, titled ‘Tours, Activities, Attractions and Experiences’, are drawn from a comprehensive set of operator and consumer surveys, spanning a range of global markets.
Phocuswright recently revealed five of the report’s key findings, as outlined below.
1. Operators are experiencing an uneven recovery – overall, 63 percent of global operators indicated that their 2022 bookings matched or exceeded 2019 levels, while more than one-third of the industry’s operators reported that bookings remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
2. Optimism declines, but prospects appear good overall – From January to September 2022, the percentage of operators that indicated they were somewhat or very optimistic about 2023 decreased from 81 percent to 76 percent.
3. Rising costs for a broad range of essential expenditures – As a result of record economic inflation, operators are paying more for new equipment, technology and staff wages. More than half of operators also reported they’re paying more for marketing and to insure their businesses.
4. U.S. and India travelers engage in the most travel experiences – Travelers from India over the past 12 months took part in an average of 30 in-destination activities, while American travelers engaged in an average of 23.
5. In-destination experience booking windows are short – It was discovered that about one-third of travelers book their experience same-day, while roughly three in four booked their tours, activities and attraction attendance within one week of their arrival date.
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Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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