There were three reports to note this past week. The first one: “Ecotourism Market by Traveler Type (Solo and Group), Age Group (Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z), and Sales Channel (Travel Agents and Direct): Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021–2027.” The second report: “AHLA’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021”. The third report from the National Restaurant Assn. (NRA): “2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report.”
The reports are packed with news both good and bad but here are some of the highlights (and lowlights unfortunately):
The global ecotourism industry generated $181.1 billion in 2019, and is projected to garner $333.8 billion by 2027, witnessing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.3 percent from 2021 to 2027. Increase in travel and tourism to unique destinations, inclination toward exploration of wildlife, coral reefs, and pristine undisturbed natural areas, and a surge in focus on sustainability is driving the global ecotourism market.
Based on traveler type, the group segment contributed to the highest market share, accounting for nearly four-fifths of the global ecotourism market in 2019, and will continue its leadership status throughout the forecast period. The solo segment is expected to manifest the fastest CAGR of 15.9 percent from 2021 to 2027.
Based on age group, the generation Y segment accounted for the largest share in 2019, holding nearly three-fifths of the global ecotourism market, and is projected to maintain its lead position during the forecast period. However, the generation Z segment is expected to witness the highest CAGR of 15.6 percent from 2021 to 2027.
Based on region, North America is projected to witness the highest CAGR of 16.2 percent during the forecast period, owing to large number of environment-conscious travelers and rapid adoption of digital media to search and travel to new destinations. However, Asia-Pacific held the largest share in terms of revenue in 2019, accounting for nearly two-fifths of the global ecotourism market, and will maintain its dominance in terms of revenue by 2027.
AHLA Report—Some Positive in a Sea of Negative
According to the AHLA report, the pandemic has been devastating to the hospitality industry workforce, which is down nearly 4 million jobs compared to the same time in 2019. While some 200,000 jobs are expected to be filled this year, overall, the accommodations sector faces an 18.9 percent unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, half of U.S. hotel rooms are projected to remain empty in 2021.
Business travel, which comprises the largest source of hotel revenue, remains nearly nonexistent, but it is expected to begin a slow return in the second half of 2021. Among frequent business travelers who are currently employed, 29 percent expect to attend their first business conference in the first half of 2021, 36 percent in the second half of the year and 20 percent more than a year from now. Business travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023 or 2024.
Leisure travel is expected to return first, with consumers optimistic about national distribution of a vaccine and with that an ability to travel again in 2021. The report found that heading into 2021, 56 percent of Americans say they are likely to travel for leisure or vacation in 2021. While 34 percent of adults are already comfortable staying in a hotel, 48 percent say their comfort is tied to vaccination in some way.
Restaurant Industry Report—Industry Hit Especially Hard
According to the NRA report, restaurant and foodservice industry sales fell by $240 billion in 2020 from an expected level of $899 billion. As of December 1, 2020, more than 110,000 eating and drinking places were closed for business temporarily, or for good. The eating and drinking place sector finished 2020 nearly 2.5 million jobs below its pre-coronavirus level.
Takeout and delivery have become a part of people’s routines with 68 percent of consumers more likely to purchase takeout from a restaurant than before the pandemic and 53 percent of consumers that say takeout and delivery is essential to the way they live.
Sixty-three percent of fine dining operators and half of casual and family dining operators say they have fewer items on the menu than before the pandemic.
Some good news: Eighty-eight percent of adults enjoy going to restaurants and 85 percent of them say going out to a restaurant with family or friends is a better way to spend their leisure time than cooking (and cleaning) at home. Nearly 8 in 10 adults say their favorite restaurant foods deliver flavor and taste sensations that just cannot be duplicated in the home kitchen.
Most adults across all generations say they are not eating at restaurants as often as they would like. Baby boomers really want to return to restaurants, beating out Gen Z adults and millennials who say they are not eating on-premises at restaurants as often as they would like.
“With more than half of adults saying that restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle, we are confident that, with time, the industry is positioned for successful recovery,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President, Research and Knowledge Group, NRA.
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