The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) has released the results of its annual survey focused on current trends, key issues and factors impacting the tour operator industry.
According to the study released at the USTOA 2022 Annual and Market Conference in San Diego, 93% of respondents expect sales growth in 2022, while 65% forecast average growth of between 7 and 10%.
The survey also found that 53% of tour operators believe the travel industry will experience a full recovery in business by the end of 2023, while 20% believe the recovery will take place by 2022. Only 7% of respondents reported a recovery by 2025 or beyond.
USTOA members reported that 59% of existing bookings for 2022 are new and 41% are re-rented passengers from trips canceled in 2020/2021. In addition, 75 percent of existing bookings are for international destinations, while 25 percent are for North American destinations.
âWhen it comes to booking models, it’s really been everywhere for a lot of tour operators depending on what’s going on,â Scott Wiseman of ALG Vacations told TravelPulse. âWhat is encouraging is that we are seeing more new bookings than new bookings. “
Most tour operator members (91%) say they are confident guest bookings will increase in 2022, while 36% said consumers book within four to six months of departure.
âAs this year’s survey reveals greater confidence in 2022, our members are not blind to the challenges that lie ahead on the road to recovery,â said USTOA President Terry Dale. âWe asked members to name the biggest challenge or obstacle to operating in 2022 and the confusion of closing borders between countries / states was at the top of the list, followed by customer confidence to travel.â
The study also bolstered the significant contribution of travel counselors to the tour operator industry, with 87% of members planning to use agents to generate sales as they continue to resume operations in 2022.
Italy tops the list of top international destinations travelers book for 2022, with France and Greece tied for second and Ireland for third. When it comes to inland destinations, national parks were at the top of the list, while Alaska followed second and Hawaii was third.
USTOA members chose Small-Group Tours as the most popular travel product for 2022. FIT came second, followed by Private Groups, Classic Group Tours (25 or more passengers), River Cruises and small boat cruises. Oceanic cruise (medium to large ship) completes the list.
Sustainable or responsible travel tops the list of trends that will have the most impact on the industry over the next ten years, with 56% already having formal policies, procedures and measures to measure the social and environmental implications of the services. .