Is Travel Finally Back? New Report Reveals Record Tourism Rebound


The pandemic and subsequent recovery battered the global travel industry. At first, cratering demand led to mass layoffs among cruise lines, airlines, hotel groups and other enterprises dependent on travel. Once health risks receded, there was a sudden increase in demand, catching many travel businesses off guard. Supply chain kinks, soaring energy costs, rampant delays and understaffing led to months of traveler misery that has only recently eased up. 

Despite the rocky road, travelers apparently will not be deterred from their trips, according to a new report on the surprising strength of the travel industry. 

Travel exceeds pre-pandemic high

The April 2023 monthly Travel Health Index report from industry news portal Skift reveals travel has fully rebounded to pre-pandemic strength.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more – straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice – straight to your e-mail.

The Travel Health Index measures the travel industry’s performance using 84 travel indicators with data from 22 partners. As of April 2023, the global index sits at 101, which is an increase over 100 baseline rating in April 2019. It also marks a 2% increase from March 2023. 

At its lowest point during the early days of the pandemic, the Travel Health Index dipped to 20 in April 2020, a sign travel performance had sunk to 20% of April 2019 levels. 

Three years later, the index has rebounded and even set a new record, surpassing the previous high mark set in 2019. “Skift Research reports complete travel recovery as the current Travel Health Index has topped 100, indicating that global tourism is now performing better than it did before the pandemic,” writes Skift’s Andrea Doyle

Global travel index reading April 2023

(Image credit: Skift)

Global travel gains aren’t equal

The biggest winner of the global travel recovery is Latin America, region that’s been the most resilient through the pandemic. By early 2022, Mexico’s impressive travel rebound accelerated, and the larger region began to exceed pre-pandemic performance.

The Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific region also finally exceeded their pre-pandemic travel levels during the month of April 2023. Meanwhile, North America and Europe are making gains but are still short of full recovery. Overall, as of April 2023, 13 out of 22 countries tracked have surpassed 2019 levels

The real outliers among the developed tourist destinations are Russia (63%) and Hong Kong (77%), whose lagging performance is dragging down the global index. Russia’s deteriorated tourism picture is likely a product of the ongoing war in Ukraine, resulting in extensive “do not travel” advisories and departing businesses. Meanwhile, factors including exceedingly harsh pandemic restrictions and democratic backsliding can be counted toward Hong Kong’s travel woes.

global travel recovery in April 2023

(Image credit: Skift)

How travelers can save in a pricey recovery

Travel is hotter than ever, as millions fully exit their pandemic hesitance to embrace tourism and business travel. But vacation costs are still going up. Airline tickets alone are up 25% year over year, and hotel prices have increased 13% globally since 2019. The following tips from Kiplinger contributor Becca van Sambeck can help you save money while planning a vacation despite budget-busting price increases: 

  • Plan your trip early, no later than 28 days before departure
  • Consider flexibility on location to maximize savings
  • Consider camping and cabins instead of hotels
  • Travel with a group to lower the average cost of lodging
  • Use those credit card points and airline miles

Read more:
Is Travel Finally Back? New Report Reveals Record Tourism Rebound

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *