About this time last year, my colleague Chris Pardo shared a post that highlighted a new word..."fernweh". You've likely heard the term "wanderlust," but when you turn that up a few notches you get "fernweh."  It's a German word that describes a feeling that's the opposite of homesickness – the intense desire to go travel!  Well, whether it is "fernweh" or that travel confidence is back to a pre-pandemic level, or maybe the combination of the two, recent data from the Mastercard Economics Institute reveals that global leisure and business flight bookings are back! 

This new report, “Travel 2022: Trends and Transitions”, shares some really interesting insights across 37 markets about the global state of travel in a post-vaccine and less restricted chapter of the pandemic era. While I knew that companies have been moving forward with determining their new visions of structuring work where many were looking to bring employees back to offices, I had not realized that global business flight bookings exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time in March, with long-haul specifically growing double-digits in April. The report concludes that the return to office was an important driver. 

A few other interesting points from the report:

  1. Group travel is returning and is helping hard-hit transportation industries. 
  2. Spending shows people are switching back to experiences over things as experiential spending is actually 34% above 2019 levels.
  3. The "travel door" seems wide open now as restrictions have loosened making travel easier and more convenient. With the U.S. now having lifted virus testing mandates for international air travelers coming into the country, should boost volumes even more dramatically.

Travel Experts polled a number of its affiliated independent consultants and found that 2022 may be the busiest and most profitable year ever for travel advisors as pent-up demand is driving business. Their survey showed that Europe will be the top destination, with Italy, Croatia and southern France being highly booked.

While companies navigate the challenges of this currently volatile economy, and travelers deal with high airfares, substandard services, and the fact the pandemic is still around, most still expect travel demand will remain massive, costs will remain high and flights will be full.  

For more insights on internationally mobile employees, consider What has changed with international mobility policies?