Global market research company Euromonitor International, is predicting travel spend will return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024 at the earliest, and warned recovery could take even longer in the Middle East and Africa region.
Highlighting that there was a global drop of 75% in travel spend last year, Euromonitor Head of Travel Research, Caroline Bremner, said the best-case scenario was that travel spend would recover to pre-crisis levels by 2024, but warned: “It will be a long hard recovery.”
She added: “In the worst case, we could be looking at a delay to 2026 in return to pre-crisis spending levels. If we have new variants that are more resilient to the vaccination programme, that will further delay the situation.”
Furthermore, Bremner highlighted that, in emerging and low-income regions, fewer than 4% of people have been vaccinated.
“Once we have a greater flow of vaccines around the world, and a global pass, we will see the situation improve.
Africa and Middle East recovery slower
According to Bremner, the Middle East and Africa’s travel spend would be “slightly slower” to recover than other regions, partly because of the rise of new Covid variants, and also because of conflict in parts of the region.
“It’s going to be a hard slog in recovery for travel and tourism. The best case is it’s going to take five years but it could take several more years,” she said.
Online travel spend recovering faster
Euromonitor stats show online travel spend jumped by 5% last year and online sales account for 54% globally.
The Africa and Middle East region was also ramping up its online travel product offering, with 30-50% of travel booked online and over one-quarter booked via mobile phone.