Is the travel sector in recovery?

Health & Education

Whether you’re American or British, it’s safe to say we’ve all missed going on holiday. From travel restrictions, to closed airports, and vaccine mandates, the travel sector really took a hit over the past two years.

With the Delta variant now making its way through many countries, is it safe the say travel has started to recover? Even here at Polestar we’ve all started going on our holidays, with Charlie heading off to Portugal and me visiting the US in July.

Let’s look at what the data says. For the US, Investment Weekly states major milestone was reached over the July 4th holiday as passengers screened at US airports exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the same week in 2019. Hotel bookings confirm the US recovery as higher prices at US hotels have helped offset volumes that remain slightly below 2019 levels. 

However, it could be said differently for the rest of the world. Europe and Asia are still suffering from depressed levels of activity and the travel and leisure industry may be facing another ‘lost summer’. RevPAR statistics for Europe and Asia are still down from 2019 levels.

What about the UK specifically? A Reuters article states passenger numbers surged in July as the government eased travel restrictions and a recovery was underway, but overall numbers were still down 80% on pre-pandemic levels as many barriers remain. 

In July, over 1.5 million travellers passed through Heathrow airport, making it the busiest month since March 2020, just before COVID-19 lockdowns began in Europe and travel was essentially stopped. Although busy, the UK still has a long way to go before it reaches pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

As more countries increase vaccination rates and apply covid measures to ensure safety, we can definitely see the travel sector starting to recover. However, with the flu and cold season among us, and Delta gaining strength in many countries, this winter may be another one where the healthcare sector is overwhelmed.

The path to recovery for travel will be a slow and painful one, but let’s hope we can see the sector coming back stronger than before. If you want to see more details and analysis, be sure to check out our Food and Leisure Valuation coming next month!

Britain has since early August opened its borders to fully-vaccinated people from the U.S. and European Union.

By Anusheh Khan on 07/09/2021