With interest rates in the US continuing to climb and the impact of
inflation hitting wallets far and wide, there’s been a great deal of
chatter about the potential for a global recession.
Some of the world’s leading economic organisations have said the
economy is weakening. The Conference Board, a global non-profit think
tank, recently projected that the US and Europe in particular may
experience a recession in the near term, while China may see
“significantly weaker growth in 2023.”
The question then is how a downturn might impact the travel industry –
which has been busy roaring back to life. What would the ramifications
be for the hotel industry, airlines, tour operators, and destinations?
Not to mention travellers themselves and their plans.
The answer to these questions varies depending on who you speak with.
But the good news overall is that the industry appears well-poised thus
far to navigate what may be some uncertain months ahead – and
travellers remain eager to continue globetrotting come what may.
Economy aside, travel remains a priority
After years of not being able to explore the world and being isolated
at home for much of that time, consumers far and wide are not willing
to relinquish the ability to travel at the moment, even amid economic
“More than half of Americans report that travel is now a priority and
see their holiday as a sacred, worthwhile investment,” James Thornton,
CEO of Intrepid Travel, told TravelPulse. “Having a period without
travel has made people appreciate their holidays even more.”
The most recent American Travel Sentiment Study underscores
Thornton’s point. According to November 2022 data from the study, 92% of
Americans have travel plans in the next six months, which is a tie for
the highest level of travel seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
Travel advisors across the country say they too are witnessing a
reluctance to give up vacation plans no matter what the economy brings.
“I do believe that Covid taught so many that life is precious and
it's important to spend time with loved ones and how much travel is
valued when the freedom to travel is taken away,” said Jennifer
Doncsecz, president of Pennsylvania-based VIP Vacations Inc. and a
certified travel industry executive. “This may mean that consumers take a
shorter vacation or look for other ways to save on a vacation, but I do
think people want to travel and will travel despite a recession.”