Annual Global Industry Survey: 86% believe 2022 will be better than 2021

By Luke Barras-hill |

Despite another turbulent year, the majority of respondents (86%) to the Annual Global Industry Survey view the 2022 travel retail and duty free trading environment as being ‘better’ or ‘much better’ than 2021, while just 1% believe it will be worse.

In exclusive polling* conducted by TRBusiness for the January 2022 e-zine, 47% indicated a preference for hybrid (combination of physical and virtual) industry events this year.

Twenty-seven percent opted for a mixture of all three (physical, digital and hybrid) and 25% favoured physical events alone. A mere 1% would elect to attend virtual-only events.

THE PATH AHEAD…

In a year that belied expectations, which were initially high, 2021 was characterised by perpetual travel restrictions and divergent border policies.

Together with the transmission of Covid variants such as Omicron, the operational resumption was – and remains – a complicated affair.

Source: TRBusiness Annual Global Industry Survey 2022.

Associations across the air transport sector remain vociferous that a repeat of 2021 can be avoided on the basis that countries adopt risk-based, pragmatic approaches recommended by the likes of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization.

Singapore, Thailand, several Middle East and European countries, plus the US are already applying such approaches to support the restoration of international travel at the same time as adopting positions to stimulate economic growth.

Against the backdrop of increasing vaccination levels, the industry nonetheless treads cautiously into the first quarter of the year.

Commenting as part of the Survey, Nina Kristin Gür, VP Retail Key Account Management, Fraport AG, said: “We expect passenger numbers to stabilise again into spring and summer and further develop on a steady basis. We hope that Asia countries will open up again towards the third quarter of the year.”

A question mark over the timing of the re-opening of international travel markets in Asia was flagged by a number of respondents in the 2022 Survey.

Andreas Reckart, Head of Travel Retail at Ricola, stated: “I expect that we have left the worst of the pandemic behind us and we will see quite a strong business recovery in 2022 once we have overcome the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere.

“While this recovery will be driven initially mostly by Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, I expect countries across Asia to increasingly facilitate international travel throughout 2022 and therefore to contribute to the recovery.”

Lagardère Travel Retail Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dag Rasmussen explained that while Covid variants would continue to pose uncertainty, travel retail’s ecosystem will build its resilience and forge ahead.

“The crisis has significantly changed market dynamics and there are opportunities to be grasped,” he said.  “Early movers will take greatest advantage of these. I also believe the industry has drawn some very interesting lessons from the crisis: the importance of CSR, digitalisation or the need for greater customer-centricity to name just a few – 2022 will be the time we act on these lessons and worth with our partners to accelerate progress towards achieving our ambitions.”

Stay close to TRBusiness for more data and analysis from the Survey.

To read the Annual Global Industry Survey, click here.

*Based on quantitative and qualitative data from a representative sample of the industry

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