International travel reaches highest point since Covid-19 pandemic

Findings released as global tourism leaders prepare to meet in Saudi Arabia for the World Travel & Tourism Council's annual summit

A tourist in Al Ula, about 1,000km north-west of Riyadh. The World Travel & Tourism Council is hosting its annual global summit in Saudi Arabia's capital. AP
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International travel has returned to its highest point since the start of the global pandemic, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

More than 63 per cent of people plan to take an overseas leisure trip in the next 12 months, says the latest report conducted by YouGov for WTTC.

The global survey questioned about 26,000 people in 25 destinations.

It also found that the return of international travel shows no signs of slowing, with more than a quarter of consumers — 27 per cent — planning three or more trips next year.

Australians plan to spend the most on international travel in 2023. The country had some of the world's longest Covid-19 restrictions, and was closed to international visitors for two years. Photo: Qantas

It's Australians that plan to spend the most on travel next year, with the nation topping the survey's list of highest expenditure.

The Australian government implemented some of the longest-running restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, effectively restricting international travel for nearly two years. Holidaymakers from Canada, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines also rank among the highest spenders for 2023 travel.

Travelling more sustainably has finally made its way to the forefront of holidaymakers' concerns, with more than 61 per cent of those surveyed preferring destinations and travel brands that are more sustainable.

Almost half of the respondents said they will only book travel with brands that are socially and environmentally responsible.

“The results of this global survey also show the growing importance of sustainable travel among consumers,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC president and chief executive.

Travel and tourism leaders are convening in Riyadh for the WTTC's annual summit under the theme Travel for a better future. Photo: Bloomberg

The findings were released as Saudi Arabia prepares to host the World Travel and Tourism Council in Riyadh, for its annual global summit.

Travel and tourism leaders, government representatives and international speakers will convene in the kingdom for the three-day event which is being held under the theme Travel for a better future.

The yearly event is a chance for people working in the industry to align efforts to support its recovery and to create a safer, more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future for the world of travel.

“This global survey shows that international travel is back. As we kick off our Global Summit in Riyadh bringing together global travel leaders and governments from around the world, travellers are getting ready to explore the world again” said Simpson.

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