Defining Travel in 2022
What a long, strange year it has been! During the past 12 months we have experienced significant gains as well as painful setbacks. The road to recovery certainly has not been easy. Local businesses faced severe labor shortages. The national debate over vaccinations raged on throughout the year. Each of our nine towns had to wrestle with how to manage and regulate short-term rentals. Yet despite all these significant challenges and other supply chain shortages, visitation blossomed and much to our surprise posted some impressive results. Important to note here the market conditions that brought about this shift. 1. People were taking drive vacations, not flying. 2. International travel including Europe was off the table. 3. Cruise ships were banned from most ports including New England and Canada. 4. Conferences and group meetings rescheduled to future dates.
Forecasting and predicting travel trends for 2022 is a bit tricky now. According to a new study just released by MMGY Global continued strength and optimism in the leisure travel segment will continue to dominate sales in 2022. As travelers increasingly accept health risks as manageable due in part to rising vaccination rates, MMGY Travel Intelligence predicts that the next year will be characterized by growth in vacation length-of-stay (LOS) metrics, travel farther from home and a higher proportion of “major vacations” in lieu of more frequent local getaways. We expect to see growth in 2022 in the travel sectors that were quiet this past year, such as business meetings, international visitation, tour groups and cruise port visits.
Without a doubt, surveys show that there is an enormous pent-up demand for people to get reconnected with their travel dreams. Due to a spike in cases of the Omicron variant, the first quarter of 2022, may get off to a sluggish start in Newport and Bristol Counties, but the forecast for the remainder of the year looks for continued growth in all segments for 2022 & 2023. On behalf of our staff and board we want to congratulate all our alliance partners for their perseverance this past year and extend our best wishes for strong sales in the new year ahead. Here is a toast to all in the hospitality industry, for your tenacity and dedication.
Evan Smith, CEO Discover Newport