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Global travel recovery should continue into 2024

By Richard Lung, Vice President and Principal Global Economist, Visa

From an unprecedented collapse during the pandemic, global travel has come roaring back with over 800 million overnight trips taken during the first eight months of 2023, according to Visa International Travel Platform estimates, marking a full recovery from the volume of travel last seen in the same period in 2019.

International travel has held up surprisingly well in the face of unprecedented stresses on households from soaring global interest rates and record price inflation. Global tourism recovered largely thanks to resilient growth in travel to and especially within Europe, which received 40% more visitors over the summer season compared to the pre-pandemic 2019.

As travel recovery matures, the surge from pent-up consumer demand is starting to abate, with only Asia Pacific region – much later to remove travel restrictions - showing potential for continued acceleration in travel demand. Travel to Latin America in particular is starting to subside after a record post-pandemic surge of visitors from U.S. and Canada last year.

Outbound travel from China is staging a solid comeback year-to-date but remains at 56% relative to 2019 levels. Summer months saw strongest recovery in Chinese tourism to other emerging market destinations in Middle East, Africa and Latin America while travel to both North America and Europe still has more than halfway to go to return to previous peaks.

Current trends indicate that global travel recovery should continue into the next year, albeit at a slower pace as rebounding tourism out of Asia Pacific balances for moderating travel demand in Europe and North America.

If you want to learn more about global travel trends, click here.