Week in Review: Travel Intention, Trip Cost Remain High

Despite forecasts of a declining economy and a potential slide into a full-blown recession, travelers overwhelmingly are keeping their itineraries for international and domestic trips this year, according to the recent Global Rescue. In fact, 76 percent of travelers said predictions of a recession have not caused them to cancel or postpone international travel in 2023.

In addition, traveler concerns about trip disruption continue to shift away from pandemic-related worries. Having an injury or illness (47 percent) is the overwhelming fear among respondents followed distantly by civil unrest (13 percent), trip cancelation (11 percent), and losing important things like a passport, wallet or purse (9 percent). 

That said, new data from Squaremouth.com reveals travelers are spending more on their trips this summer than ever before. Travelers are spending more than $9,300 on average on their trips this summer, which is 6.8 percent higher than last year, and 26.7 percent higher than 2021. That said, inflation and the overall rising cost of travel are the key drivers of higher trip costs, not necessarily the type of trip/accommodation category/airline class, etc.

There is some other good news from that report, however: 76 percent of trips planned by Squaremouth customers this summer are heading abroad and the percentage of Baby Boomers who are traveling is continuing to rebound post-COVID.

Running Your Business

Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) announced that the ARC Pay product portfolio now includes an API that allows travel agencies to accept payment for all travel-related expenses. Developed specifically for travel payments, the ARC Pay API enables agencies to integrate payment processing outside of global distribution systems (GDSs) with supplier direct and new distribution capability (NDC) workflows. It can be embedded directly into mobile, web-based and custom software applications and expands ARC payment processing beyond air travel to car rentals, cruises and tours.

Separately, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has announced the Executive Committee of the 2023-2024 ASTA Board of Directors. Highlights include Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion Travel Group, who will serve as chair, and Lee Thomas, COO, business travel at ALTOUR and president of The Travel Authority, who is the vice chair/secretary. Kelly Bergin, CEO of Duglin Travel Group, is the new treasurer and Kathy Bedell, SVP at BCD Travel, is the Corporate Advisory Council chair.

2023 continues to prove to be the “Year of Travel,” according to Cruise Planners CEO and Founder Michelle Fee. According to the Fee, 2023 departures are up 22 percent over the full year of 2019 and 13 percent up over the full year of 2022. Cruise Planners expects to finish the year incredibly strong and well above 2022.

All Eyes on Greece

Andronis Arcadia
Andronis Arcadia (Tryfon Georgopoulos)

Santorini luxury lifestyle hotel Andronis Arcadia this week debuted 64 new Natura and Oasis Suites; Santorini’s first Beefbar, the Monte Carlo-born restaurant concept by Riccardo Giraudi; and a dedicated kids cub. The suites range from 500 to 1,000 square feet and offer private pools. The latest addition to the steakhouse restaurant born in Monte Carlo and conceptualized by Riccardo Giraudi, Beefbar Santorini will blend the island's local flavors with fine quality meats sourced from around the world.

Pleasant Holidays and its luxury brand, Journese, have added two new destinations in Northern Greece: The city of Thessaloniki and the coastal region of Halkidiki. A total of eight hotels—five in Thessaloniki and three in Halkidiki—are now open for 2023 booking with online rates, inventory and instant reservations, as well as private and shared small-group activities including food and market tours, visits to museums and archeological sites.

In Athens, the city continues to be revitalized. At the southern base of the Acropolis—which is undergoing a restoration, which means that you'll almost certainly see some scaffolding—stands the relatively new Acropolis Museum, which houses artifacts from the Acropolis. The striking, glassy building gives a postmodern jolt to Athens' otherwise staid, mid-century concrete cityscape.

Safaris Made Easier

Giraffes in Kidepo Valley National Park Uganda
Kidepo Valley National Park  (Photo by Leon Kigozi/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

A major expansion to Uganda’s tourism was announced at the country’s Peal of Africa Tourism Expo this week when the government told delegates that four airfields in the country’s most iconic national parks will shortly be able to handle international visitors. Previously, the only airstrips at the locations were bush airstrips, thereby requiring visitors to enter Uganda via Entebbe near the country’s capital Kampala and then find alternative transportation such as a caravan aircraft or to travel by road to visit the locations.

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