Travel is ‘roaring back’ — That’s good and bad for travelers

Last year wasn’t a stellar year for travelers.

Perhaps that’s why so many are pinning their hopes on 2022. 

Travel bookings and inquiries are surging, say travel insiders, in an upward trajectory that, if realized, may both benefit and challenge travelers in the coming year.  

‘People want to make up for lost time’

Travel in 2022 will be even busier than before the pandemic, said Brandon Berkson, the founder of the New York-based travel company Hotels Above Par.

“People want to make up for lost time,” he said, adding that potential customers have stated their desire to travel next year is greater than ever before.

Ben Drew, president of the TripAdvisor-owned travel company Viator, said in December that the demand for upcoming travel is “extraordinary.”

Beach and mountain destinations are popular, with bookings rising 1,665% to Tulum, Mexico (seen here) and nearly 700% to Denali National Park from 2019 to 2021, according to Viator.

M Swiet Productions | Moment | Getty Images

“Travel came roaring back,” he said. “Even in the face of omicron, travelers are booking more experiences than at this time in pre-pandemic 2019.”

Viator’s 2022 data shows bookings are also increasing from summer to fall, a time when travel typically slows down.

While acknowledging 2022 may “come with challenges,” Drew said he expects it to be “a chapter of resilience, resurgence and growth for the travel industry.”

Is the industry ready?

Spain, Italy, France, the U.K., Portugal (seen here) and the U.S. are some of the countries facing staff shortages in the tourism industry, according to the WTTC.

Gonzalo Azumendi | Stone | Getty Images

One in 13 travel-related jobs in the United States is expected to remain unfilled, according to a WTTC staffing report published in December. In Portugal, the numbers rise to 1 in 9, according to the report.

“It’s hard to find cooks and enough servers to deal with the surge and the recovery of demand in the industry,” Jon Bortz, the CEO of the U.S.-based Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, told CNBC’s “The Exchange” last year.

To fill the gap, employees are working overtime and managers are “taking shifts,” he said.

For travelers, worker shortages can…

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