Travel not likely to see full recovery until late 2023

The travel sector is unlikely to see a full recovery to pre-Covid levels until late 2023, according to analysis conducted for Google.

The results of an in-depth study of the prospects for travel by Bain & Company were presented this morning at the start of Travel Weekly’s Future of Travel Week, which also included a focus on aviation and featured an interview with easyJet chief Johan Lundgren.

Future of Travel Week partner Google and Bain & Company contributed to a series of webcasts being broadcast this week with an analysis of the impact of Covid and the response of governments on sectors in travel different countries.

Phil Kleweno, Bain & Company partner and global head of leisure and travel, said five scenarios have been developed assuming the emergence of a vaccine some time in 2021.

Of the five scenarios, the most likely predicts “a full recovery to pre-crisis levels but not until late in 2023 with some persistent changes in consumer behaviour driven by a more challenging economic recovery,” said Kleweno.

“It also assume that business travel will resume in 2021 although international travel will remain sluggish until 2022 and that holiday travel at the end of 2020 does provide a boost to travel-related spending at year end.”

Two more positives outlook were suggested; an accelerated vaccine scenario where an “immunity solution” emerges more quickly than expected, and a “positive scenario” in which travellers become reassured by Covid-19 measures and broader travel restrictions are lifted.

In this scenario recovery in demand is driven by low-risk consumers travelling more and a bounce-back in domestic business travel.

However, Bain & Company has also tabled two more pessimistic possible outcomes; a “drifting scenario”, in which old pre-Covid behaviours do not return and a ‘new normal’ sets in, and the “second wave scenario”.

This most downbeat assessment foresees recovery being put back by a year followed by a rapid “snap back” in demand.

It also takes account of the potential for a major recession in the EMEA region and the Americas and widescale shutdowns of countries or regions.

Kleweno said: “Modelling different potential paths of magnitude and timing of impact and shape of demand recovery is the only way to understand what the decisions are that you need to take now to get ahead of the next phase.”

The Future of Travel Week session also looked at the impact of Covid-19 and how governments responded and the implications for travel recovery in the UK, Italy, France, Germany and Sweden.

Data reveals consumers in UK and Italy are the least likely to have carried out travel-related activities during the pandemic, with Germany, Sweden and France more likely.

The webcast also offered advice to travel firms on how to find their new customers, adapt their marketing teams and maximise their profitability.

For the full day’s sessions, including a Focus on Aviation and an interview with easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren, click here.

See the full line-up for the Future of Travel Week and register for early access to each day’s content.


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