A weekly recap of facts, stats, official statements and key resources on COVID-19
This article is intended to provide travel professionals and business leaders with an objective perspective on the evolving situation through facts, statistics, official statements and key resources from international regulatory bodies and government ministries. The outbreak is moving quickly, and some of the articles may fall rapidly out of date. We will provide updates on a weekly basis as the outbreak evolves.
Technology will play an increasingly important role in supporting the recovery of airports following the COVID-19 pandemic. But which new technologies should be adopted and what impact will they have on operations and, importantly, how will they affect customer experience?
Sojern: Insights on Travel Impact, The Middle East and Africa – updated May 19, 2020
Luxury hotels continue to show positive signs of early recovery from the domestic market. As flights are resumed, this will likely be reflected with regional, and eventually international travel. There are already signs that people are dreaming of their future international trips, and searches for future departure dates suggest that travel will gain momentum in August.
OAG: Capacity Grows At One Of The Fastest Rates Ever – May 18, 2020
This week capacity has increased globally by some 6%. Meanwhile, USA TSA Checkpoint data reflects a 46% increase in activity in the last two weeks; 250,000 travellers were processed on the 15th May compared to 171,000 on the 1st May. Look hard enough and there are positives in the data and it’s good to see….at last.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte outlined a further loosening of movement restrictions on Saturday, including opening borders to travellers from Europe from next month to unwind one of the world’s most rigid coronavirus lockdowns. With shops as well as bars and restaurants due to reopen from Monday, the government has also announced that people will no longer have to justify travel within their own region and will be able to meet friends as well as family.
Global GDP growth is expected to fall by around 5% this year, before rebounding, and returning to its 2019 level in 2021. To put this decline into context, it is around 4x larger than that of the global financial crisis, where world GDP fell by 1.3% in 2009. In contrast, the expected decline in air passenger volumes (measured by Revenue Passenger Kilometres – RPKs) is much more severe, with a decline of around 50% this year. The recovery is such that a return to the level of 2019 does not occur until 2023, taking around two years longer than global GDP.
In the short term, the industry restart will be directly related to the lifting of travel restrictions. National governments will likely progress gradually from permitting non-essential domestic travel and reviewing advice against international travel towards coordinated reciprocal arrangements to reassure smooth flow of passengers in both directions.
We begin to see early signs of recovery in hotel searches and bookings. The week of April 5th appears to be the bottom of interest, and while we are still nowhere near 2019 levels, there is an increasing desire to travel domestically as shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted.