HomeTravel & TourismTravel and tourism: pitfalls that delay full recovery
By Hala Saghbini
May 9, 2022 9:02 am

Travel and tourism: pitfalls that delay full recovery

Today: "Future Aviation" Saudi ... and the Arabian Travel Market Dubai
Travel sector

Will the travel and tourism sector recover in 2022 after the painful blow it suffered for two years as a result of COVID?

A question that coincides with a time when we notice that most of the travel and tourism lovers have regained their enthusiasm and started their plans to spend their summer vacations abroad.

The World Travel and Tourism Council expects the sector to return to pre-Coronavirus levels, after many destinations began either easing or raising travel fuel costs. Expectations are for travel growing at a rate that exceeds the growth rate of global GDP, which is equivalent to 5.8% in the period from 2022 to 2032.



But fears remain that the pace of recovery announced by many destination countries will be impacted by the COVID closures implemented by China, which is currently facing the worst epidemic wave since the emergence of COVID-19, which threatens to impose travel restrictions in many countries of the world.

This is hinted at by Deloitte‘s recent report on the outlook for the travel sector in 2022, titled “The Twisted Path to Recovery”.

The report says that while the Corona pandemic has caused a lot of damage to many industries, travel in particular has been the most affected. And it will remain the last of the sectors that will witness a complete return to normal activity, especially since pandemic fears continue to limit some plans, especially with regard to international flights and those of companies. And when we talk about fears of new covid variances, this means new restrictions across many borders.

In another blog, Deloitte hopes that the Q2 will see a significant acceleration after the Omicron mutation made a major impact on plans for the start of 2022, keeping travel spending to more than a third of 2019 levels. Steady gains are expected in temporary corporate travel as well as event-driven trips spread across yearly calendars. Barriers to international travel should continue to decline, but uncertainty about regulations and concerns about trips abroad will limit cross-border trips in 2022, Deloitte says.

It is also possible that the Ukrainian war will limit companies’ travel plans to Europe, at least to some extent. Remote work has translated into less overall travel.

“After two years of reducing to less than a quarter of its volume in 2019, and months of continuous setbacks due to COVID variances, corporate travel is expected to rise steadily in 2022. And that rise will come more slowly than many expected or wanted, well below what levels were before the pandemic, as recovery to 2019 levels could take at least two years,” Deloitte concluded.

United Nations General Assembly


There is no doubt that the travel and tourism sector has a fundamental role in achieving comprehensive recovery and growth. This prompted the United Nations to hold a meeting of its General Assembly on the fourth of May, in the first session devoted to tourism.

During the meeting, which was held in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and joined by representatives of governments and stakeholders from the public and private sectors, there was a collective recognition of the unique potential of tourism to create positive change.

During the important meeting, UN General Assembly President, Abdullah Shaheed, stressed the importance of tourism, especially for small islands and developing countries.

“We face a critical opportunity not only to restart tourism, on which so many depend for their jobs and livelihoods, but also to transform it to make it more resilient, more sustainable and more responsible,” he said.

Tourism for Hope and Opportunity


As the first Secretary-General to address the UN General Assembly, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that “the time has come to build resilient and peaceful societies, and tourism can help make this happen! Tourism is the leading provider of opportunity because it depends on people. It builds bridges and helps create a better tomorrow for people everywhere.”

It is noteworthy that, according to the latest UNWTO data, international arrivals to destinations in the Middle East were 52 percent higher in January compared to the same month in 2021.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE


During the Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, Saudi called on donor countries to co-finance the first international fund dedicated to supporting the tourism sector. And it pledged to provide $100 million to establish the fund, in cooperation with the World Bank, to contribute to supporting communities affected by Corona in helping them overcome the devastating impact of the pandemic and other global crises.

Today, Saudi Arabia is hosting the inaugural “Future Aviation” forum, which, over two days, discusses the difficulties experienced by the travel sector, and aims to formulate solutions for how the sector can recover from the pandemic.

On May 24, the Kingdom will host the second “Future of Hospitality” conference under the title “New Horizons”.

This conference will cover the future of hotel development, investment in human capital, the food and beverage sector as well as investment in destinations and the aviation sector, sustainability, and investment in restaurants.

In the UAE, the Arabian Travel Market 2022 exhibition, which kicks off today, Monday, under the theme “The Future of International Travel and Tourism”, will discuss the latest trends related to tourism, travel, technology, transportation and sustainability, with the participation of 1,500 exhibitors from 112 countries over four consecutive days, at the Dubai World Trade Center.