Global TAA bounces back on shifts in behaviour

Travel experiences represented $253 billion in global gross ticket revenue in 2019, according to latest research by Phocuswright

Post-pandemic changes in shopping and booking behaviour are fuelling a boom in the global tours, activities and attractions (TAA) industry.

According to Phocuswright’s new joint travel research report released in October 2022 with Arival, The Outlook for Travel Experiences 2019-2025, travel experiences represented $253 billion in global gross ticket revenue in 2019, making it the third-largest sector of tourism after transportation and accommodation. 

TAA was the hardest-hit area of travel during the pandemic, but has bounced back largely due to shifts in traveller behaviour. 

“TAA has long been one of the largest and most important sectors in travel and tourism – and despite the heavy toll of the pandemic on operators worldwide, it has remained resilient in 2022,” said Eugene Ko, Director of Marketing and Communications at Phocuswright. 

“As we look ahead to 2023, travellers are placing more of a focus on experiences and once-in-a-lifetime activities. They want to make up for time lost during the pandemic, seeing and experiencing as much as possible on their trips. While recovery across regions and segments is uneven, we believe TAA will be one of the biggest success stories of 2023 – and it’ll be one of the main focus areas at this month’s Phocuswright Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.” 

The TAA sector declined 78 per cent in 2020, a far steeper decline than in other sectors of travel and tourism. According to the report, gross industry revenue will surpass 2019 by 2024, when global gross bookings will reach $260 billion.

Online booking accelerated during the pandemic amid shifts in traveller behaviour and pandemic-related restrictions. Online channel share surged from 17 per cent of gross bookings in 2019 to 29 per cent by 2021.

Offline direct bookings will regain some share in 2022-23 as some visitor behaviour normalizes and groups and package tour travel returns, but online channels will continue to grow faster than the overall market.  Online travel agencies, or OTAs, are the fastest growing channel, with gross bookings rising from just under $8 billion in 2019 to nearly $20 billion by 2025.