UNWTO World Tourism Barometer predicts slower than expected recovery in
international travel, Asia industry experts less optimistic
International arrivals fell by 74% in 2020, with destinations worldwide welcoming 1 billion fewer arrivals yoy, vs the 4% decline recorded after the 2008 financial crisis. The UN’s World Tourism Organisation (“UNWTO”) estimates the economic fallout to reach US$1.3 trillion in export revenues. While 79% of the UNWTO survey of global tourism experts expected recovery by 2021, the majority now expect international travel to recover only in 2022 at the earliest.
Respondents in Asia were more pessimistic than the global average, perhaps reflective of the slow rate in vaccination and securing vaccine supplies (see chart below).
Read the survey results in full here.
Vaccination rates in Asia, apart from Singapore, are still significantly behind the West:
Singapore one of first countries to accept IATA’s digital travel pass
Singapore announced that it would start accepting IATA’s mobile travel pass containing digital certificates for COVID-19 tests and vaccines from May 2021, becoming one of the first countries to adopt the initiative. More than 20 airlines are currently trialing the travel pass. (Source: Reuters, read more about the IATA travel pass here)
WHO expresses opposition to vaccine passports
The World Health Organisation has stepped into the controversy over vaccine passports, expressing its opposition because not enough is known about transmission prevention, and it discriminates against poor countries and people who can’t be vaccinated. (Read WHO’s position paper here)
UK reviewing international travel, considering ‘traffic-light system’ to classify travel restrictions to different countries
The UK is still deciding whether or not Britons can resume international holidays from 17th May, with a final decision expected in early May. At a minimum, travelers will need to buy a two-test package, including a so-called PCR assessment, that typically costs around 220 pounds ($300) per person and can range much higher.
The UK government is reviewing a ‘traffic-light’ system that implements travel restrictions according to a country’s COVID-19 risk level. (Read article in full here).
Booking.Com CEO: Travel Demand Recovering Rapidly, But Lacks Momentum
Booking Holdincs Inc CEO (which owns Agoda, Priceline, Opentable, Kayak.com, among others), says demand is recovering rapidly but still lacks momentum; technological solution that makes governments comfortable with welcoming back international tourists is necessary, will be difficult to achieve equitable solution. (Watch Bloomberg video here)
Ryanair expects to hit 80% of pre-pandemic capacity by summer 2020
Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, says he expects the airline’s capacity to recover to 70% of pre-pandemic levels this year, and 80% for this summer, given that 50% of UK adult population has now been vaccinated, and expects Europe to reach that rate by summer, and for short haul travel to recover quickly after that. Portugal, Spain, Greek and Cyprus have said they intend to welcome vaccinated travelers from the UK from 17th May. May not see recovery in long-haul travel till year-end, or later. (Watch the interview in full here)
Singapore now accounts for one third of global cruise market
With international travel still largely off-limits, Singapore has emerged as one of the world’s biggest cruise markets, with more than 120,000 residents of Singapore taking a cruise in the past year, many multiple times. Singapore’s SafeCruise certification is being seen as a model for resumption of cruise activity, which includes mandatory Covid testing, safe distancing, and frequent cleaning and sanitizing. (Read Bloomberg story here)
Rise in private charters among wealthy Japanese
Inquiries for private charters in Japan are up 30% from pre-pandemic levels, reports Bloomberg Wealth. It costs around ¥39 million round trip from Tokyo to New York, and ¥15 million from Beijing to Tokyo.
Download the full PDF with high resolution charts:
PCG Research Strategy Update 12 Apr 2021