The traditional kickoff to the summer travel season, Memorial Day weekend, arrives this year amid a host of conflicting economic, global and national trends that heighten uncertainty in the travel and hospitality industries.
A pause in the pandemic has eased the grip of travel restrictions and business closures. Consumers, flush with a couple years’ savings from not travelling, appear poised to unleash a travel boom.
AAA expects 39.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Memorial Day weekend, an increase of 8.3% over 2021. AAA also expects air travel to rebound, up 25% from last year to 3 million people flying this weekend, a return to 2019 levels.
Yet it remains unclear to what extent inflation — including high gas prices — international supply chain issues, the growing threat of a recession and uncertainty caused by conflicts abroad could mitigate those gains.
Experts from Florida State University are ready to tackle these questions and offer their expertise on what travelers, the travel industry and the economy might expect in the current climate.
Tarik Dogru, assistant professor of hospitality management, Dedman College of Hospitality
(850) 644-8241; [email protected]
Dogru is an expert in tourism economics and hospitality finance with a focus on inbound and outbound tourism demand, tourism development, employment in hospitality and tourism, economic impact analysis, sharing economy (i.e., Airbnb), plus hotel investment and performance analysis.
“The 2022 summer travel season will be an interesting season to watch from recovery perspective. While the fear of pandemic has subsided in general, the economic recession is in the center of the discussion, with global supply chain issues, the war and increase in prices and historical inflation figures in the U.S. and the world. Regardless, we are likely to observe a busy season with pent-up demand and reduced personal consumption of online shopping. Perhaps the funds at individual or family level are likely to be allocated for vacation or travel. However, with the increased costs of hotel rooms, Airbnb and transportation, we might see shorter stays and car transportation to be more popular. People are likely to prefer destinations closer to home.”
Nathaniel Line, associate professor, Dedman College of Hospitality
(850) 645-2710; [email protected]
Line’s research experience includes demand shocks in the lodging industry and marketing environment, hospitality and tourism management, and hospitality marketing.
“Summer demand for hospitality and tourism services will be characterized by a complex set of macroeconomic conditions. While the current pause in the COVID-19 pandemic will certainly result in an increase in the number of people who are willing to travel for both leisure and business purposes, other factors such as inflation and rising energy costs will affect where and how people travel, as well as how much money they spend. This complicated equation will result in very different economic results across the operating sectors of the hospitality industry (e.g., hotels, restaurants, cruises, airlines, etc.). Moreover, individual destinations will be affected differently based on a host of factors including their proximity to drive-in markets and their reliance on national and international airlift for visitors.”