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Macroeconomic Factors That May Impact Trade Shows


NEW YORK CITYMcKinsey & Company has released a new report on the state of tourism and hospitality and some trends it identifies should be on the radar of trade show executives.

The report states that tourism and hospitality are on a journey of disruption. Shifting source markets and destinations, growing demand for experiential and luxury travel, and innovative business strategies are all combining to dramatically alter the industry landscape.

After falling by 75% in 2020, travel is on its way to a full recovery by the end of 2024. Domestic travel is expected to grow 3% annually and reach 19 billion lodging nights per year by 2030. Over the same time frame, international travel should likewise ramp up to its historical average of nine billion nights.

Similar to a trend that has been identified by many industry insiders, the report states there will be an increase of travel to second-tier destinations.

This trend was also identified by Greg Topalian, Chairman of Clarion Events North America, during the 23rd annual Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum (ECEF) in Washington D.C.

Topalian predicts that some gatherings will leave tier one cities for new destinations. In addition, untraditional venues in first-tier cities are more attractive than ever. Not only are they different, but often cheaper. “I don’t want to be in a traditional building. Let’s try an outdoor venue. That’s coming,” says Topalian.

Related. Lippman Connects ECEF Brings Leaders to Washington D.C. for Information Sharing

Domestic travel recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic faster than international travel and continues to trend upward. International travel isn’t back to 2019 levels with visa wait times a factor. For example, it takes a minimum of 849 days to get a visitor visa interview appointment in Mexico City. In Bogota, it’s 640 days. These delays have a tangible negative impact on the trade show industry.

Source markets are also shifting. Although established markets continue to anchor global travel, Eastern Europe, India, and Southeast Asia are all becoming fast-growing sources of outbound tourism. The destinations of the future may not be the typical ones of the past, according to the report.

Countries including Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Vietnam have crafted thoughtful tourism demand generation strategies are expected to reap benefits in the coming years.

The McKinsey report also states that travelers crave personalization, similar to what trade show attendees want. At today’s trade shows, attendees don’t want to feel like they are just one in a crowd.

Reach Greg Topalian at

One Response

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