It’s nearly 2022. A new hospitality economy is emerging.

The outlook is concerning as many not just fear new lockdowns but there is now a genuine mental weariness which is pushing back against restrictions. People want to learn to live with the virus but face more uncertainty and lockdowns. It is natural. The uncertainty creates ever greater tensions and makes planning extremely difficult.

Many have said, over the last two years, that the pandemic could shape the world almost as much as World War II and the Great Depression did. However, the changes are more subtle and many are hopeful that, as painful as this period has been, it has corrected many things which needed to be changed.

However, do you agree? We face a very challenging Q1 which will leave many on the brink. This hardly sounds like good emerging. Most of Western Europe seems to be returning to lockdowns which is a concerning sight and suggests that we face still more pain to come. Will this battle with Covid ever come to an end? It has been a miserable two years alternating between lockdowns and new outbreaks. Will normality ever restart?

Of course but it will not be the old normal. It will be a new world, with a reshaped economy, much as war and depression reordered life for previous generations. One of the challenges of this moment is that so many still expect a return to 2019 economics and yet much has changed.

Already, thousands of shops and companies that were already vulnerable before the virus arrived have been lost. People have also changed long-held patterns of behaviour: Outdoor socializing has taken off, business trips have been stopped. Work patterns in offices have been dramatically reduced as have numbers within city centres. The forecasts are that business travel will never return to the levels it once was and that outdoor socialising events will increase year on year.

There is a greater focus on new food styles, especially healthy eating, and vegan. There is increased interest in fresh produce which have seen numbers rise in their sales.

In 2019, who would have forecast that it has been more attractive to own a regional hotel on the coast than within a major city centre?

The pandemic increasingly looks like one of the defining events of our time. As long as Covid remains the core theme, then any industry that depends on close human contact will be at risk which means naturally that it will be less attractive to investors; at least in certain sectors. One can build quite a gloomy picture of all the businesses which would see decline and erosion – Cruise ships, department stores, theatres and cinemas and many conference venues. Restaurants seem to be adapting as one of the counter surges has been the need for people to spend time with their friends and to socialise.

However, there are some sectors which will flourish. There is a greater focus on new food styles, especially healthy eating, and vegan. There is increased interest in fresh produce which have seen numbers rise in their sales. Delivered in models too are thriving and with ever new dark kitchens emerging. There is greater interest in food within schools to ensure that the young are being nurtured far better. Hotels will innovate with rooms adopting whole new technologies. Festivals are expected to hit record numbers in 2022, stadia see a return to strength, and camping has seen records broken.

A new economy is emerging. It will not be the same as in 2019; it will be different. When one looks back at this period, many will say that 2020 was spent by companies just trying to survive. 2021 was the year that companies began to adapt to a new model and market. 2022 may well be the year when the new economy begins to emerge with new markets emerging strongly and others struggling. By 2023, a new landscape will be here and there will be major trends in place to show which markets are the most investable.