The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) joined hands with hotel bookings firm Hotelbeds to bring sector leaders together in Palma, Mallorca, to delve into the ever-evolving dynamics of global travel and tourism industry.
In a press statement, the WTTC says that titled “Global Trends in the Tourism Sector”, the event provided a platform for attendees to gain valuable insights into the current state of Travel & Tourism through presentations and discussions led by Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, and Hotelbeds’ CEO Nicolas Huss.
The event acknowledged the thriving tourism landscape, both on a global scale and within the Balearic Islands. In 2022, global travel and tourism experienced an extraordinary growth rate of 22 pc, primarily driven by the lifting of pandemic restrictions and a surge in spending by foreign visitors.
“Today, we witness a thriving travel and tourism sector, not just in the Balearics, but worldwide, with strong performance in Spain. Post pandemic leisure travel is booming. But travel patterns are changing. In the Balearics we are seeing a longer season. Luxury travel is particularly strong with hotels leading with new products for this market,’’ says Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO.
“Travellers want to travel more sustainably. Travel and tourism can grow and protect the planet. Let us come together to shape a sustainable future for travel and tourism,” Simpson.
During the event, held at the TravelTech Lab in Hotelbeds’ headquarters in Palma, Spain was recognised as a global leader in tourism, with the sector, contributing significantly to its economic landscape. Projections indicated that by the end of 2023, this sector will represent a remarkable 14.6 pc of Spain’s GDP and provide employment to nearly three million Spaniards, underscoring its crucial role in job creation.
“As we come to an end for the summer season, we should reflect and celebrate what the sector has achieved this year. The strong commitment of companies throughout the tourism ecosystem to work together with external partners, including those in the innovation sphere, will be critical to ensure Travel & Tourism continues to thrive,” says Nicolas Huss, Hotelbeds CEO.
The CEOs also spotlighted the sector’s shift from corporate to leisure travel, with the latter currently accounting for a significant 88 pc of travel spending in Spain. This transformation is expected to continue, further strengthening the leisure travel segment.
Growing popularity of Balearic Islands
Hotelbeds’ data shows that this summer, the traditional flows of travellers have not only been maintained but also increased, coming from the United Kingdom, that rose 17 pc, and Germany, rising 29 pc, to the Balearic Islands. In addition, countries including France and Portugal have seen growing demand to the islands while long-haul markets out of Europe, such as the United States, are also growing.
Meanwhile, according to WTTC’s latest Cities Economic Impact Research, Palma’s travel and tourism contribution to the city’s GDP saw a rise of 128 pc jump, to reach more than EUR 1.5 billion, representing 6.3 pc of the local economy.
In terms of employment in Palma, last year the sector supported nearly 20,000 jobs, representing 6 pc of the local workforce, although this figure still trails 2019 by 11,000 jobs.
Hotelbeds predicts that three trends that will continue to define the traveller of the future. The first trend is rise in trips that combine leisure and business supported by the shift to remote working in recent years. Second trend is growth in sustainable travel, driven largely by Gen Z who are more conscious of their environmental footprint. Both companies are committed to this shift and have signed an agreement for Hotelbeds to join the WTTC’s Sustainability Basics programme to raise awareness and encourage properties to be more environmentally friendly.
Yet another trend identified by Hotelbeds is the rise of personalised travel. It says that while people want to be able to book their trips at the click of a button, technology is being increasingly used to deliver tailored experiences, often supported by artificial intelligence.