The pace of recovery in international travel is already faster than expected for the first few months after the several countries around the world have begun to ease their travel restrictions. According to Willie Walsh, the director of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world could experience its full resumption to 2019 air movement levels as early as next year.
“All the airline CEOs I’ve been talking to have been reporting not only good demand for year-end travel, but they continue to see demand grow throughout the year,” Walsh said to Reuters at a conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday May 9th.
We are seeing very strong booking numbers.Willie Walsh, director of IATA
The result is surprising in a scenario that still imposes limitations on travel, with the Asian market completely closed to foreigners due to zero tolerance policies in the fight against Covid-19, especially in China, and the compromised circulation of passengers in Eastern Europe due to the war in Ukraine.
Airports have already seen queues again in Europe and consistent movement in other parts of the globe, despite the increases in aviation fuels caused by the sanctions on Russia and their resulting readjustment in tickets and fares. Walsh estimates that the increase in prices has been of around 10%.
According to Travel + Leisure, travelers in the US are noticing the effects of increased demand with rising flight and vacation prices affected by higher gas prices, staffing shortages, and an overall increased interest in traveling. “Revenge travel,” is how the industry is calling people’s attitudes at this point.
I think that recovery will gather momentum as we go through the rest of this year into 2023.Willie Walsh, director of IATA
“I don’t think we should distract from the fact that we have seen a strong recovery and I think this recovery will gain momentum as we go through the rest of this year and into 2023,” Walsh said. The summer in the northern hemisphere, between June and September of 2023 is expected to be especially successful.
However, he believes that some seasons may still underperform globally in 2019, as it is not possible to discount the impact of a huge market, such as Asia, out of the field in tourism today.
According to IATA’s information, the total international air traffic in March was up 76% compared to March 2021. The numbers in North America were up a whopping 96.5% in March compared to the same period last year.