As we approach the end of 2021 and look forward to 2022, we thought it important to share our thoughts with you as you also prepare for the new year.
Everything in the world has been colored by the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues. The personal and societal tragedies from the pandemic cannot be ignored and should be fully acknowledged. It’s been a rough road for almost everyone and, well, we are all pretty much tired of it. Now we have to deal with the Omicron variant. We truly hope that you, your family, your mates, your colleagues – are all happy and healthy and stay that way. Get vaccinated. Be safe.
For travel and despite the pandemic, the outlook is increasingly positive. This year saw the resumption of cruises in a phased approach. Governments around the world have grown weary of lockdowns and many national borders are now open. Vaccinations for COVID-19 are increasingly available, although vaccine equity remains an issue. U.S. travel spending is still below 2019 levels and employment in the travel sector is still in recovery mode, but the industry has been clawing its way back to normal. Also, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that 109 million Americans will travel over the holidays this year, which is 92% of 2019 levels (not bad!).
Slow and steady, as they say.
So, what can we expect in 2022? We had an earlier post that suggested travel could return strongly in early 2022, but that didn’t anticipate the Omicron variant, so we are just going to make our best guesses with lots of caveats. Life, society, and living are very dynamic, so we just have to acknowledge that change is always just around the corner. So, here we go:
- The Omicron variant wave should end around March or April 2022 — based on last winter’s trend. Earlier would certainly be better.
- Will another contagious variant emerge? We will be optimistic here and say no. However, it could certainly happen.
- We hope that wellness travel, eco-travel, and overtly sustainable travel all become much more than trends. Rather, these travel sectors should become the norm.
- If the World Health Organization (WHO) declares an end to the pandemic and if most national borders are open sometime in 2022, then the travel scene should pretty much explode. Fingers crossed.
As Bob Marley said, everything is gonna be alright….. As we all learn the lessons from the pandemic, remain vigilant, we can all help the travel industry rebound and not just become bigger, but better. Better in addressing pollution and climate change. Better in promoting economic opportunity. Better in creating quality employment. After all, travel open minds, expands horizons, and changes lives. We should focus on this and making travel an even bigger force for good in the future.