The latest ForwardKeys data shows that the ability to fly abroad once more following an extended period without long-haul holidays, reveals many travellers are willing to spend more on travel services such as premium cabin classes. This is good news not only for the airlines but also for destinations and tourism-related businesses – as premium-class travellers are likely to spend more on the ground too.
With many destinations and markets remaining closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, travel preferences have changed, and the luxury travel segment has reconfigured.
For example, Japan, China and South Korea – all in the top 10 premium travel markets in 2019 –dropped down the rankings in 2022 due to their cautious approach to managing COVID-19. However, the Japanese and South Korean luxury markets are expected to see a comeback in 2023 now that both countries have reopened to international travel.
While the Far-Eastern countries have slipped down the rankings, two other Asia Pacific markets that reopened earlier, Australia and India, have shown resilience. The former has maintained its premium market share in 2022 as compared with 2019, while the latter has marginally improved its share.
By volume, the United States and Germany are the largest premium-class travel markets. But what matters for destinations when gauging the economic impact of various markets is the proportion of visitors travelling in high-end cabins – i.e. business and first class as opposed to premium economy.
In that respect, the US, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada appear to be the most affluent source markets, therefore offering better value per traveller.