May 27, 2022

As the travel industry continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are gearing up for summer vacation. The Fourth of July is expected to be the most popular summer holiday weekend for U.S. travelers, followed by Memorial Day and Labor Day. According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), Americans are looking for warm-weather holiday destinations. 

The American Express travel trends report for 2022 offers insight into the minds of the post-pandemic travelers. This report notes that 81% of travelers want to travel to a destination where they can immerse themselves in the local culture and where their tourist dollars go toward the community. Reuniting and exploring with family is also a top priority, with 79% of respondents saying that they are most looking forward to traveling with their family. 

While some expect global air travel to recover to pre-pandemic levels by next year (much earlier than initially expected), the recovery may be hindered by issues such as the rising cost of fuel and the war in Ukraine. 

The following is a summary of trends and industry shifts that MMGY NJF has compiled from recent media feedback, widespread coverage, industry conferences and webinars:

Traveling is for everyone – Freelance journalist Chaya Milchtein has a new column in Salon called “A Fatty’s Guide to Traveling and Eating the World.” This travel and food column is dedicated to helping travelers of all sizes find their perfect vacation. Inclusivity is not only ethical – it’s lucrative, with plus-size women’s apparel worth $24 billion in the United States alone.

Wedding Boom in 2022 – It’s wedding season in the U.S. A recent Priceline survey indicates that 79% of Americans plan to travel to a wedding in the U.S. in the next 12 months. COVID-19 is still a consideration, however, with 64% of those surveyed saying COVID-19 levels at the destination would impact their decision to travel to a wedding. 

Ticking destinations off the bucket list – Millennials and Gen Zers are gearing up to visit their dream destinations in a post-pandemic world. According to Avail’s State of Travel in 2022, 72% of Gen Zers plan to or will consider splurging on a big trip in 2022, followed by Millennials at 68%. Older generations are less likely to splurge on a dream trip, but the majority of Gen Xers (60%) and Baby Boomers (51%) are still considering it. 

National Geographic Media has hired a new editor-in-chief. Nathan Lump is a veteran journalist, most recently with Expedia, who will oversee National Geographic’s editorial operations worldwide beginning June 2022. Nathan has stated that he aims to focus on continuing to modernize and expand the brand’s approach to storytelling across mediums and platforms.

The Bloomberg food editor Kate Krader is moving to London to cover the gastronomic scene of the United Kingdom and Europe. Kate is a culinary authority in North America, having covered high-end food and restaurants for more than 20 years. Formerly the editor of Food and Wine, Krader has interviewed some of the world’s best chefs and has covered iconic restaurants and food experiences. 

The Wall Street Journal has hired former USA Today senior consumer travel reporter Dawn Gilbertson as a travel columnist. Gilbertson will cover all things travel, helping readers navigate the joys and frustrations of vacations, business trips and family visits. 

Everyone wants to travel, but will they? – While plans to travel post-pandemic seem to be at an all-time high, consumers spent $1 billion less on plane tickets in April than in March, according to a report from Adobe Digital Insights. This seeming contradiction could be due to several factors, including a 19% increase in airfares between March and April and route reductions caused by pilot shortages. Despite this decline, demand remains above pre-pandemic levels; online spending in April was up 23% compared to April 2019, and bookings were up by 5%.