A matrix to analyze Travel scenarios and define strategies for the future

In a previous article, we analyzed the matrix produced in 2009 by the European Commission within the document “Study on the Competitiveness of the EU tourism industry“. 

The latter was conceived with the intention of offering tourism industry operators the tools to define useful strategies to deal with that period of uncertainty, showing first of all how tourism demand can be influenced by various factors, such as economic growth and the cost of energy, thus making various possible scenarios emerge.

Source: “Study on the effectiveness of the EU tourism industry”, European Commission, Directorate General Enterprise and Industry – Tourism Unit, 2009

We revised the matrix in light of recent events, believing that we could capture several topical elements. Indeed, considering rising energy prices and weak economic growth, one could assume that the outlook for the tourism sector falls within Scenario 4, defined as “The balcony experience” and characterized by short trips close to home. 

With respect to what is listed in this scenario:

  • due to high energy prices, there is a general decline in tourist flows. Despite this, after two years of restrictions due to the pandemic, it can be observed that tourists are tending to spend more to make up for lost time, focusing primarily on outdoor destinations that have experienced a sharp increase in arrivals as a result of the need for interpersonal distancing due to the pandemic;
  • there is an increase in intra-European and domestic travel, compared to long-distance travel; 
  • there is an increase in visits to friends and relatives as a travel motivation, which saves on accommodation;
  • it is true that tourists remain very price-conscious; on the other hand, specific conditions have been created whereby there is a value-driven market trend with a focus on quality and sustainability that is emerging as a fundamental requirement when choosing a tourist destination. This factor could lead to an increasing difference in the development and quality of services offered by tourist destinations.

The global geopolitical crisis, multipolarity, and the COVID-19 pandemic are all factors to be taken into account in the scenario analysis. In addition, in a general situation in which inflation and economic uncertainty are increasingly discussed, the human capital crisis is emblematic, a sign of a profound transformation of the sector.  

At Twissen we observed a vibrant tourism season that could point to recovery from the Covid era. This restart, certainly boosted by the euphoria of the moment following the first real easing of restrictions, could conceal important factors to be taken into account, which cause turbulence. Indeed, it is necessary to identify models that are sustainable in order to create medium- to long-term strategies, with the aim of increasing the resilience of the sector while taking into account the continuous challenges and evolving scenarios. Focusing on sustainability and investing more in human capital are key points in achieving this goal.

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