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Travel Outlook for 2024

Last week at the International Travel Show in NYC Allianz Partners presented

Doug Cooke

the findings from their annual Vacation Confidence Survey. The findings of this survey will come as no surprise to Travel Advisors who lived the 2023 “travel rebound.” The summer of 2023 was the biggest summer vacation spend on travel since 2009. And so far in 2023 over $214 billion has been spent by Americans on travel. That’s more than 2x what was spent in 2019 which for many has been the benchmark for the return to travel. And the year’s not over yet! And, ready for this – 2024 is projected to be a bigger year for travel than 2023!

 

2024 will see an increased demand for cruise and land products. Luxury cruises will continue to lead the way with a 44% increase over 2022 levels and 106% over record 2019 sales levels. According to another Allianz survey of 9,000 travel advisors, more than 75% indicated that the majority of their bookings were for cruise travel with ocean cruises being most popular and a continued strong interest in river cruising. Thirty five percent of the advisors reported a strong interest in cultural related theme cruises that include immersion and exploration, while 13% saw significant growth in solo cruising.

 

Also, leisure travel will be a priority in 2024 with travelers indicating their #1 reason to travel in 2024 will be to rest and recharge. Business travel will continue to increase as well, with increased length of stays and a rising popularity of secondary markets for meetings and events.

 

Newest Trends
One of the biggest trends for 2023 was, of course, the return to Europe in record numbers, but some other growing trends included the “pay-cation” and solo travel market, both being led by travelers ages 18-34. A pay-cation is basically working remotely, and according to the survey in 2024, three in ten travelers in this age bracket will take a pay-cation. Another defining characteristic of this demographic is that 42% will embark on a trip alone.

 

Top Destinations for 2024
To no one’s surprise, Europe leads the way in traveler’s plans for 2024. The summer Olympics in Paris will be a huge draw, as will the soccer Euro 2024 event in Germany. Japan and Singapore are expected to lead the way in travel to Asia. Argentina will be particularly attractive in Latin America due to its very favorable exchange rate. Middle East tourism will continue to grow with Saudi Arabia leading the way with large sporting events and the growth of “new” tourism areas like Al-’Ula. Domestically, Las Vegas will continue to draw attention with the Super Bowl in February, the new Sphere venue and the opening of new mega resorts including the Fountainebleu.

 

And Now the Not So Good News for 2024
With the increase in travel will come increased hassles, especially when it comes to air travel. The ongoing shortage of pilots and air traffic controllers will lead to even longer security lines and flight delays. Best advice is to make your clients aware of these possibilities and encourage them to arrive at the airport early and pack their patience. Other tips include: book non-stop flights when possible, fly first thing in the morning, and book flights that have a historically good on-time record.

 

With a little patience on the traveling public’s part, and a lot of work by Travel Advisors, 2024 promises to be another banner year for the travel industry. Of course the last time we heard that was 2019 going into 2020, so my best advice is to expect the unexpected. Hope for the best but have a contingency plan!

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