The global air travel market is set to reach 65 per cent of where it was before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019 in the third quarter (Q3) of the year (July, August, and September), revealed the latest report produced by global travel trends consultant ForwardKeys. It also analysed that the recent hike in airfares across the world has not dampened the travel demand from international travellers as they embark on their journeys after a long Covid-fatigue.
In the summer travel outlook report, produced for the World Travel Market (WTM), ForwardKeys also stated that the revival of the industry has been ‘patchy’, with some parts of the world doing much better than others and some types of travel, particularly beach holidays, being much more popular than urban city visits and sightseeing.
Asia Pacific registering slowest recovery
The region of the world that is on course to recover most strongly in Africa & the Middle East; their arrivals in Q3 are expected to reach 83 per cent of 2019 levels. It is followed by the Americas, where summer arrivals are expected to reach 76 per cent, and then by Europe, 71 per cent, and the Asia Pacific, just 35 per cent.
Another topic of focus in the ForwardKeys’ summer travel outlook report is that enthusiasm to travel again internationally is so strong that a rise in airfares has done relatively little to dampen demand. For example, the average fare from the US to Europe climbed by over 35 per cent between January and May with no noticeable slowing in booking rates. And these fares were nearly 60 per cent above the previous year. Fares for a shorter haul, intraregional travel (i.e., within the Americas) also increased substantially, by 47 per cent, which is less than for long haul. However, the demand for those tickets peaked in March.
Beach destinations lead, as city tourism lags
The current preference for beach holidays is well illustrated by a comparison of the top ten beach and urban destinations in Europe, ranked by Q3 flight bookings compared to 2019. All those in the beach list, which is led by Antalya, 81 per cent ahead, Tirana, 36 per cent ahead and Mikonos, 29 per cent ahead, are showing extremely healthy demand, whereas, in the urban list, only Naples is ahead. Furthermore, the four leading urban destinations, Naples, 5 per cent ahead, Istanbul, flat, Athens, 5 per cent per cent behind, and Lisbon, 8 per cent behind, are all also gateways to beach resorts too.Positive summer travel prediction
Commenting on the insights, Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, said, “With 2022 seeing travel restrictions lifted, connectivity re-established, and consumer confidence regained, demand for international travel is on the rise once more, marking a departure from the domestic travel trend that dominated in recent years. In Q3 this year, holidaymakers are relatively much keener to leave the pandemic behind with a relaxing break on the beach than they are to consume culture, cities, and sightseeing.”