The latest edition of Travel Industry Trends, which covers the travel industry, reveals that consumers, including those in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), will benefit from a more traditional travel ecosystem in 2023, prioritizing leisure travel and moving into new corridors around the world.
The Travel Industry Trends 2023 report thus provides key information on the global state of travel, punctuated by changing economic landscapes, persistent consumer demands and a reopening of mainland China, it is indicated in a press release relayed by MAP. . Facing economic headwinds, the post-pandemic preference for experiences over things and continued demand for leisure travel are shaping the outlook for 2023.
Initially lagging leisure travel, business travel has found its footing in the second half of 2022, especially in cultures that prioritize returning to the office. With an uncertain economy creating turbulence between markets, the reopening of mainland China should support global growth.
Among the key findings, tourists continue to prioritize experiences. The preference for experiences over things persists, and travelers around the world are showing a new demand for the singular. Potentially influenced by social media and entertainment, travelers land in lesser-known destinations in search of cultural immersion. Global spending on experiences is up 65%, while spending on things is up 12% from 2019.
In the MENA region, experience-driven spending is growing in some countries, such as Morocco, where it saw a massive 117.5% year-over-year increase in March 2023. Travelers are establishing new routes. So in 2023, a new dynamic has emerged, with travelers exploring destinations closer to home. Egypt and Saudi Arabia entered the top 10 in the rankings this year, in seventh and eighth place respectively.
The UK, USA, UAE and France remain the most popular international destinations for travelers leaving the Middle East. Leisure and business travel are progressing at the same pace. Indeed, leisure travel and business travel are now increasing at the same rate, a change of 42% year-on-year between 2022 and 2023.
In other trends, business flight bookings have caught up with leisure in regions with strong back-to-office culture. Between January and March 2023, leisure travel bookings in the United Arab Emirates increased by 49.5% compared to the same period in 2022.
Recovery of travel and entertainment expenses for businesses is on the rise. In the MENA region, travel and entertainment (T&E) spending by small businesses has indeed increased by 49% when comparing March 2023 to March 2022. The upward trajectory continues from January to March 2023 , small business spending on travel and entertainment expenses is up 56% compared to the same period in 2022.