Travel industry faces new challenges in Kazakhstan

What trends are changing the industry now
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The past few years have turned out to be the toughest period for the entire tourism industry in this century. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit supply chains and caused a tectonic shift in tourist flows. According to international tourist organizations, this year should have been a time of rebounding in the industry, although the Russian invasion of Ukraine hit the industry once again.

No face masks

The key trend of this year is rebounding to what we used to call normal before the pandemic hit the world. Cafes, nightclubs and concert halls no longer require people to wear face masks. Europe is lifting tough quarantine restrictions and waiting for tourists.

However, many of those who have gotten used to dealing with the sanitary restrictions imposed because of the pandemic have changed their behavior. Of course, they still love hanging out in a bar, whatever, but they expect a business to meet all the sanitary requirements. Often, tourists want two different things simultaneously: no restrictions and no crowd. This is possible in 2022, thanks to high prices for many popular tourist destinations.

In contrast to Europe, tourism in such regions as Central Asia, the Pacific and Africa show a moderate speed of rebounding back to pre-pandemic figures. Moreover, some countries continue to follow tough sanitary rules that prevent tourists from entering those countries.

Oil and leisure

Oil price is probably the most powerful factor that drives prices within the industry. When Russia invaded Ukraine, all civilized countries were forced to react and they did – they cut oil volumes they procured from Russia. As a result, air tickets to Europe became much more expensive than people expected. According to IATA, the industry may reach the pre-pandemic level of four million passengers in 2024 or even later because of the war in Ukraine.

This is similar to automobile travel. Over the past two years, traveling with trailers has become much more popular in the EU and the U.S. Sales and rentals of trailers were booming while camping sites reported a shortage of free spots. Now the situation is different. On one hand, hotels have been reopened. On another hand, gasoline is much more expensive now, which is why many are deciding not to travel by car with a trailer.

Hot destinations get cheaper

In Kazakhstan people like traveling to Turkey, Egypt and the UAE. Other popular destinations are Georgia, Greece and Montenegro. People in Ukraine like these destinations as well, but they won’t come to visit those countries because of the war. Euromonitor believes that because of the war, expenditures for those countries may reach $6.9 billion in 2022.

Some countries where tourism plays a big role in the national economy (like Turkey and Egypt) have tried to make a bid on tourists from Russia, even though all other countries have done the opposite. However, for regular Russians, traveling abroad is not an easy task – the Russian economy is shrinking and Visa and MasterCard no longer support banking cards issued by Russian banks.

We can observe that hotels are tended to offer lower prices, even though there is not much room for them to maneuver. As a result, Egypt is trying to attract tourists from Israel. This won’t compensate for all losses but would be helpful.

Tourism of the future

Concerning long-term trends in the tourism industry, they include eco-friendliness, privacy and longer trips. Instead of vivid and fast impressions, people want to relax and be calm. Some countries saw this trend during the pandemic and simplified the entering process for remote workers.

Eco-friendly vacations are getting more and more popular. Air carriers and hotels report their policy of lower carbon footprints, implementing alternative sources of energy and a careful attitude to nature. Businesses promote this message to both investors and consumers, which means the concept of sustainable development is considered a strength for the business.

In conclusion, I would say that 2022 is going to be the re-opening year for the tourism industry and we are going to get accurate data about results very soon. When the first half-year reports are revealed, we will know which forecasts turn out to be real and which fail. In any case, people still want to travel and explore new horizons. That’s why there is no doubt that the industry will rebound and grow even further.

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Timur Turlov
Timur Turlov
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