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Omaha Magazine

Omaha CVB: 2022 Travel and Tourism Trends

Mar 28, 2022 04:35PM ● By Deborah Ward
Omaha CVB's Deborah Ward

 For the tourism industry, the pandemic has often felt like a never-ending road trip filled with twists, turns, and plenty of stalling. Despite the bumps in the road, 2022 projections for the industry are looking up—both nationally and
for Omaha. 

Domestic leisure travel in the U.S. is expected to drive recovery this year past 2019 spending totals. An Expedia survey shows 40% of travelers plan to splurge on trips in 2022, but that does not mean everyone is going to a swanky international destination. In fact, 59% of Americans say they only plan to travel domestically. A quarter of American travelers surveyed said they want to visit lesser-known destinations, while close to half want to try food they have never eaten before.

However, the impact of COVID-19 and its variants have resulted in uncertainty among industry experts regarding the timing of recovery for convention and meetings business. Forecasts continue to change based on the course of the pandemic, event attendee behavior, workforce availability, and economic stability. Tourism Economics, a global research organization, predicts this year’s group demand in the U.S. will be 74.5% of 2019 levels. In 2023, demand will be 94.5% of 2019 levels, and in 2024, projections are that convention and meeting business will be 100% back to pre-pandemic levels. 

Locally, hotel projections are encouraging. STR, a company specializing in collecting and analyzing hotel data, predicts 57.8% of hotel rooms in Douglas County will be full in 2022. For comparison, 58.6% of hotel rooms were full in 2019. STR also forecasts area hotels will collect $245 million in hotel revenue for 2022, which exceeds pre-pandemic (2019) numbers by $26 million. 

The road trip continues and recovery is certainly ahead. So when you ask, “are we there yet?” our answer is, “almost,” all the while hoping there’s not another detour up ahead. 

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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