As a travel technology provider, we’re constantly monitoring the state of the market and the recovery development. With the sea of bad news surrounding us for more than a year, we’re finally confident that, despite many challenges the world is still facing with the COVID-19 surge and new lockdowns, the data we collected shows the beginning of global tourism recovery!
Vaccination Progress Says: “The Worst is Behind Us”
When we look only four months in the past, the future was uncertain. We did not know where the bottom of the crisis was as there were still no vaccines approved.
Today, we have more than 13 vaccines already approved and ten more in Phase 3 of clinical trials. The future finally looks much brighter. Most recent results prove that besides preventing severe illness, vaccines are preventing transmission, which is very important for travel reopening.
At the time of writing this article, more than half a billion doses worldwide have been administered, with the USA, Israel, UAE, and UK being the leaders of the vaccination efforts.
Israel has 52% of its population fully vaccinated, which resulted in a sharp drop in the pandemic in Israel. It led to less than 500 people hospitalized this week. They’ve started to reopen slowly, with no surge in cases, proving that vaccination has significant impact.
The president of the US, Joe Biden, states that all Americans will be eligible for vaccine by May 1st. The vaccination in the USA hits record numbers, vaccinating 2.7 mil people per day at the moment, with further plans to increase daily rates. He also expects there will be enough doses to vaccinate 300 mil Americans by the end of May. So far, 145 mil doses have been administered in the USA. With the current vaccination numbers, they will inoculate the majority of their population by summer.
Unfortunately, Europe is lagging with only 10% of people who got at least one shot. However, with vaccine production increasing, Europe will catch the train very soon. The UK is leading the vaccination in Europe. More than 45% of their population has got at least one dose of vaccine, which resulted in a significant pandemic drop.
Covid-19 Travel Recovery
With the mentioned production and vaccination rates, there will be no more COVID-related show stoppers for the travel industry from the beginning of next year.
We see that the travel rise already started in this quarter, as vaccination results directly impact travel. So the news around the world is more optimistic: travelers began to fly again, and each day, more and more countries are open for vaccinated travelers.
As we expected, travel demand and bookings are growing in the USA. American airline companies expect to break even from April, leading to the end of cheap flight prices. To top that off, United Airlines communicated its plans on hiring hundreds of pilots in the next month alone as it plans for a travel recovery.
That said, Americans are done staying at home. They broke the post-pandemic travel records with more than 1.35 mil passengers traveling over the weekend. The record got broken two more times in the past two weekends.
Some hotel chains are reaching the highest peaks in occupancy since the pandemic started. This shows that travel’s pent-up demand was not a buzzword, but it’s slowly becoming our reality.
The United Arab Emirates have vaccinated 9 million of their residents and citizens as of now, celebrating the success with a symbolic flight around the emirates. UAE is one of the first countries in the world to bring back live events too: famous international travel fair WTM Dubai, after last year’s break, is happening in Dubai, with the main focus to recover the industry. Emirates president Tim Clark expects Emirates to get back to profitability fairly quickly. They are adding more destinations and filling their flights with more and more passengers each day.
First-hand Information from Customers and Prospects
We’re having regular conversations with our Customers, and we monitor the data since the beginning of this crisis. We can finally say we see an entirely different picture, compared to what we saw in March past year. While bookings reduced significantly in March last year and completely went off from April, we see the complete opposite today. An uptake in bookings is visible since February this year. Continuing with significant growth in March, some of the Customers are at about 60 to 70 percent of pre-COVID numbers.
Several of the respected prospects that have paused the conversations with us have resumed the process realizing the need to prepare for what’s to come next.
Many travel companies who unfortunately had to downsize are worried about how they will meet the rising demand with fewer resources. Hiring and training a new workforce again takes a long time, and time is really crucial for successfuly restarting your travel business. Several of our customers started rehiring, but they are all united in one thought: ‘with Lemax and its automation of our processes, we’re able to do more with fewer people, allowing us to be faster and not have any missed opportunities as the surge in demand continues.’