OHIO — Despite the ongoing pandemic, the travel industry is looking to bounce back from two years of quarantines and social distancing.
Spectrum News 1 anchor and reporter Chuck Ringwalt spoke with Jeanenne Tornatore about her 2022 travel forecast.
Ringwalt: “It doesn't seem that the threat of the virus is slowing down. Right? How do you expect the current climate to affect whether or not people decide to travel as we move towards spring and then eventually into summer?”
Tornatore: “Well, I think over the next few weeks, we may see people pulling back slightly while we're in this current surge, but looking big picture at 2022, the travel and tourism industry is on an upward trajectory. People actually planning longer trips and planning to spend more this year.”
Ringwalt: “What are you seeing from airlines, hotels and rentals? I mean, how are these different sectors preparing for a year that could go either way?”
Tornatore: “Well, they're preparing in a big way. I'll start with a couple of the big ones cruise lines. Of course, now we do have a current CDC advisory in place, but cruise lines right now are being really flexible with their policies. Carnival is actually allowing people to make changes without penalty until the end of the month. Looking further out into this year, you have these major cruise lines all making big comebacks. Carnival on the heels of a 2021 successful comeback, they're going to have 22, all 22 of their fleet back in service by March, celebrating their 50th anniversary. It’s just going to be a really big year for the cruise lines, especially for people who are looking at those cruises further out. Now, when we're looking at the lodging industry. Where we're really seeing big demand is on the private vacation rental side of those sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. Vrbo actually says that people are planning their trips two to three months further out than they have in the past, so what that means for travelers is you need to book early to really get those places with availability, especially during those high seasons. And on the airline side, you know, over the holidays, we saw lots of cancelations and delays. Unfortunately, that's really expected to continue, at least for the near term, while these airlines are still dealing with staff shortages and labor shortages going into the new year.”
Ringwalt: “Got it. And we saw an increase of staycations throughout the last two years. Are there any new trends you think will emerge throughout the next 12 months?”
Tornatore: “Yeah, I think that we're still going to see a lot of people getting in their cars to drive to destinations. Look. Domestic travel is still what's really big on the horizon for 2022. You're talking national parks and a lot of these outdoor destinations. And like I said, people are planning on taking longer trips. Now that we have this kind of work-from-home environment, people are able to get out there and really work from anywhere, so taking longer trips and spending more on the experiences while they are there.”
Ringwalt: “Alright. Then lastly, what are some tips for planning ahead if you've put off that family vacation, the honeymoon, or other trip throughout the last two years?”
Tornatore: “Sure. Well, I think number one is if you did have a trip planned way back in 2020 and you may have gotten some travel vouchers for those, the beginning of this year is really the time when you want to check on those. A lot of those may start to expire this year, so make sure that you are using those if you have them. Second is the early bird is going to get the room this year. With all of those bookings starting a little bit earlier if you're planning for the big season's spring break and summer, make sure that you start that planning now and booking now. And then finally, it's all about planning with flexibility this year. Make sure that you understand what those policies are for your airlines, hotels, rental car companies and what they may be able to do for you for change and cancelation later on into the year, even. And then also consider things like travel insurance if you are planning those big-ticket trips.”