December 05, 2022

USTOA Survey Shows an Optimistic Outlook Among Tour Operators for 2023

What: USTOA Survey Predicts a Strong 2023
The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) recently released results from an economic impact study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. According to the survey, tour operator business for 2022 will finish up at about 87% of where it was in 2019. In addition, 82% of members anticipate “optimistic” to “significant” growth of 7% to more than 10% next year in volume of sales — and another 80% expect to see that growth in volume of passengers, as well.

On the jobs front, active USTOA members project employing 11,650 people in the U.S. by the end of 2022. In 2019, USTOA tour operator members employed 13,620 jobs.

Why It Matters: Tour Operator Business Is a Good Indicator of the Overall Industry’s Outlook
Since most tour operators base their business off longer-term bookings, the results of this survey (which 92% of USTOA members responded to) are generally an excellent indicator of what to expect in 2023. The optimism of the tour companies might be tempered by the potential threats identified in the survey, including cost of living increases (67% are extremely or very concerned), global financial instability and staffing shortages (59%), war in Europe (55%) and health crises (49%).

Fast Facts: Other Findings From the Survey
• Total tour operator sales are projected to close out 2022 at $15.9 billion, representing 6 million individual travelers.

• The survey also identified top destinations for 2023. The top five “off-the-beaten-path” countries include Iceland, Egypt, Croatia, Colombia and Norway. The top five “hot” destinations include Italy, Greece, France, U.K. and Iceland.

• In terms of sustainability, 63% of respondents say they are confident that their organization is taking sufficient action to address sustainability issues, and 53% have a formal, documented sustainability strategy.

• This research was released at USTOA’s Annual Conference and Marketplace, held at the JW Marriott Austin in Austin, Texas, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.

What They Are Saying: The Tour Segment Is Outpacing the Travel Industry’s Recovery
“By the close of 2022, USTOA tour operator members report a recovery in sales of 87% from 2019, which is remarkable,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. “Given the unprecedented challenges of the past two years, the numbers align with the reality of what the global travel industry is facing, and yet, the tour segment as represented by our members seems to be pacing ahead of the industry at large.”

Copyright 2022 Northstar Travel Media, LLC. All rights reserved. From By Kenneth Shapiro.

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