Domestic tourism, a global trend in 2021

Domestic Tourism Global Trend

Proximity tourism has developed both in China and in the United States and Europe, due to closed borders during the pandemic. This trend could shape the future of international travel, which will take longer than expected to recover.

International tourist arrivals plunged 83% in the first quarter of 2021 due to the maintenance of widespread restrictions on travel, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

With a 73% drop in arrivals, 2020 was considered the “worst year in the history of the sector,” according to the organization.

Unable to travel abroad, tourists have stayed home, often encouraged by governments seeking to support the recovery of local economies.

In China, “the young generations have long reappropriated Chinese culture and there is a willingness of the government to repatriate money” from tourism, according to specialist in socio-cultural trends Cécile Poignant.

With the pandemic, the Chinese have traveled through their “vast territory”, “between Tibet, Hainan, Sishuan, there are many interesting places to visit” and “travel agencies develop in that sense,” according to her.

To boost domestic tourism, the Chinese government authorized, for example, the “duty-free” in its island province of Hainan, an initiative that is successful among young people with more resources.

In a study at the beginning of the year, which pointed out that the domestic market would be the engine of the recovery, the McKinsey cabinet highlighted the “increase in China”, which has already recovered “80% of its tourism activity”, and highlighted a “search Nature Destinations »among the wealthiest young customers.

“An enduring phenomenon”  In the United States, local tourists accounted for 95% of tourism revenue in 2020, 10 points more than in 2019, according to the World Trade and Tourism Council (WTTC), which brings together the major tourism operators world.

In Europe, the authorities also encourage local travel, as in France, where the government speaks of a “blue, white and red summer,” or in Luxembourg, where shopping vouchers are given away. The trips will also be intra-European.

“The real movement that we have observed and that we are still going to observe this summer is the sum of domestic cars. It is a phenomenon that is long-lasting “, according to Sébastien Manceau, an expert in tourism in the Roland Berger cabinet, asked by AFP.

In general, 60% of experts expect an increase in international tourism in 2022, according to the UNWTO. Half of them estimate that they will not return to 2019 levels before 2024.

“This crisis has greatly favored domestic tourism”, confirmed to AFP Didier Arino, head of the Protourisme consultancy. According to him, it is something “very good.”

“You cannot want to reduce the impact of tourism on the environment, and not be happy with the development of local or domestic tourism. The arrival of foreign customers accounts for 70% of tourism-related CO2 emissions, “he adds.

“Doing domestic markets for two summers leaves traces, but positive traces”, insists Sébastien Manceau, for whom “the consideration of the environment is increasingly important”.

According to a study carried out by his cabinet, 58% of Europeans take ecological criteria into account when organizing their stay.

“The Covid-19 crisis accelerated the transformations that were taking place in the tourism sector: what would have taken five years or more, only took a few months,” says Manceau.