Report: As the economy goes, so will travel demand in 2023

The outlook for consumer travel demand in the year ahead is uncertain, according to Deloitte’s 2023 Travel Industry Outlook.

The economy will play a major factor in leisure travel in the 12 months ahead, Deloitte said in the report.

Travel demand started to soften in September following high demand in the months prior. That could be either a blip or a “lasting downshift by belt-tightening consumers,” Deloitte said.

International travel should continue to increase as many key destinations have reopened their borders. However, Deloitte cautioned, an increase in international airfare could dampen that desire among consumers. Those who do travel will likely seek destinations with good exchange rates.

Those who are able to work from anywhere are likely to take more trips for leisure or extend business trips and work from the road.

“Those privileged to exercise this option also could use it to cope with higher prices, by organizing trips to avoid peak days and to make the most of available deals and discounts,” Deloitte said.

Industry challenges ahead

The travel industry will also face a number of challenges in 2023 outside of consumer financial woes, according to Deloitte.

“If 2022 was a year of welcomed pent-up demand, 2023 will be a year of coming to grips with some complicated realities facing travel,” Deloitte said.

The staffing shortage remains a problem. 

And while business travel continues to recover, Deloitte said there is a chance it will never return to its pre-pandemic peak. Travel to industry events has been a leader in the space, and the appeal of networking in person should lead to another strong events year in 2023.

Sustainability is also on travelers’ minds, Deloitte said, “But the extent to which these intentions translate into travel decisions is unclear, as is the appetite to pay more for greener options, especially when prices are already high.”

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