The United States and the United Kingdom have retained the top two slots of nationalities of people travelling overseas in the year gone by, says a comprehensive analysis of international travel in 2022 conduted by travel and travel retail research agency m1nd-set.
The full-year 2022 B1S traffic monitor report, produced in partnership with IATA and its air traffic data partner ARC, comprising the world’s most comprehensive traffic and traffic forecast database (DDS), reveals the top travelling nationalities, the main transit hubs and leading airlines by passenger numbers.
In terms of travelling nationalities, the US and UK retain the top two rankings, with 132 and 102 million international trips made respectively in 2022, with Germany following on the third place with 87 million international trips last year. France, Spain and Italy remain in the top ten but move up in the rankings compared to pre-pandemic traveller numbers in 2019, with 67 million, 56 million and 47 million international trips respectively in 2022.
The report says that Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands are all new entrants into the top 10 nationalities, with 27 million, 26 million and 25 million international departures last year and India completes the top ten nationality rankings, falling into 10th place from 5th place in 2019. South Korea, Japan and China have all exited the top ten travelling nationalities for 2022.
Spain and Switzerland are the only two countries among the top ten nationalities that have seen a full recovery for international traffic, attaining and even moderately surpassing pre-pandemic levels. The average recovery rate among all top ten nationalities compared to 2019 is 75 pc with France at 90 pc of 2019 levels, and the Netherlands and Germany at around 80 pc.
The top 20 nationalities for international travel in 2022, according to the m1nd-set B1S traffic monitor include Russia, Belgium, Poland, Ireland, Mexico, Turkey, Denmark, Portugal, Greece and Sweden.
The report says that international travel hubs, which tend to benefit from a diverse cross-section of international travellers using their transit dwell time to shop in the duty free shops, have seen a moderately healthy recovery for the most part. The top international travel hubs in terms of transit passengers in 2022 have seen a recovery of around 62 pc of pre-pandemic traffic levels, with Panama City Tocumen International Airport being the only top 10 travel hub to have reached pre-pandemic 2019 traffic levels for connecting passengers with a 7 pc growth in traffic reported in 2022, compared to 2019.
The top three international travel hubs in terms of connecting passenger rankings remains unchanged since before the pandemic. Dubai International is in first place with 11 million connecting passengers in 2022, around half of the 2019 level. Frankfurt and Amsterdam follow in second and third place with 10.5 million connecting passengers each, just over 60 pc of their 2019 levels for transit passengers. Istanbul and Doha Airports complete the top 5 airports for connecting international flights with around 9 million each. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport achieved 7 million transit passengers in 2022, over two thirds of its 2019 level, and Panama City, Singapore, Madrid and London Heathrow complete the top 10 airports. Madrid has also seen healthy recovery with transit traffic at over 70 pc of pre-pandemic levels.
On the airlines, m1nd-set says that the top 20 airlines for passenger numbers have recovered 81 pc of traffic during the first 10 months in 2022, January to October, compared to the same period of 2019. Low-cost airlines, Ryanair and Easyjet are the top two airlines as Ryanair continues to lead the ranking with just over 100 million passengers, above pre-pandemic levels at 104 pc. Easyjet follows with less than half of Ryanair’s traffic, at 48 million international passengers from January to October in 2022, 78 pc of its pre-pandemic level in January to October 2019.
Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and Emirates complete the top five ranking airlines for January- October 2022, with 34 million, 32 million and 32 million passengers respectively. Turkish Airlines is now back to 97 pc of January to October 2019 levels. Another European low-cost carrier Wizz Air has seen traffic bounce back to around 102 pc of pre-pandemic January to October levels with 29 million passengers. American Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air France and British Airways complete the top 10.