Dubai airport will benefit from the resumption of air traffic in 2022 (Photo: Luc Citrinot)
Many air transport experts are talking about “revenge” tourism in a post-Covid world. While WHO statements are more optimistic about the probable transformation of the pandemic into an endemic, more and more countries are adopting a strategy of cohabitation with the covid virus. And the simplified entry rules are indeed generating an appetite for travel.
This is what IATA has observed. The International Air Transport Association reports a strong increase of 11 percentage points in international ticket sales in recent weeks. This increase in sales is the strongest two weeks since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, for the week of January 25, the number of tickets sold was 38% of that for the same period in 2019. Even better, for the week of February 8, the number of tickets sold was 49% of the same period in 2019.
Open countries now account for 60% of 2019 demand
IATA explains this jump in ticket sales by the context of easing border restrictions in Covid-19. The association thus studied the evolution of travel restrictions in the world’s top 50 air markets (equivalent to 92% of global demand in 2019, measured in revenue passenger kilometers). IATA reports a total of 37 markets
(equivalent to approximately 60% of 2019 demand) now open to vaccinated travelers under varying conditions.
Refining this number, 28 markets are open to vaccinated travelers without quarantine requirements. This is approximately 50% of the 2019 demand. Within those 28 countries, 18 markets (representing about 20% of 2019 demand) are open to vaccinated travelers with no quarantine or pre-departure testing requirements
Momentum towards standardization of transport conditions is building
” The momentum toward standardization of travel conditions is building. Vaccinated travelers have the opportunity to travel much further with fewer worries than they did a few weeks ago,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general. ” This gives more and more travelers the confidence to buy tickets. And that’s good news! Now we need to further accelerate the lifting of travel restrictions. While recent progress is impressive, we are still a long way from 2019 connectivity levels. Thirteen of the top 50 travel markets still do not offer easy access to all vaccinated travelers. This includes major economies such as China, Japan, Russia, Indonesia and Italy
,” adds the IATA director general.
Disconnecting entry requirements from the spread of the virus
IATA has published a catalog of wishes to support the recovery. The association calls for:
- Removal of all barriers to travel (including quarantine and testing) for those fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine.
- Allowing unvaccinated travelers with negative pre-departure antigen tests to travel without quarantine.
- Remove travel bans.
- Accelerate the relaxation of travel restrictions by recognizing that travelers pose no greater risk of spreading the virus than already exists in the general population.
” Travel restrictions have a significant impact on people and economies. But they have not stopped the spread of the virus. It is time to remove them. We are learning to live and travel in a world where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 will remain. Therefore, special measures against the traveler population should be discontinued. In most cases, travelers do not bring any more risk to a market than there already is. Many governments have recognized this and removed restrictions. Many others must now follow suit“, argues Willie Walsh.
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!