The latest air ticketing data from ForwardKeys reveals that Russian outbound tourism, already severely handicapped by pandemic travel restrictions, has fallen even further, because of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. But affluent travellers are still flying, just not to Europe. In the week before the outbreak of war (w/c 18th Feb), outbound international air tickets from Russia stood at 42% of pre-pandemic levels; but in the week immediately after the invasion (w/c 25th Feb), issued air tickets fell to just 19%. Since then, flight bookings have sunk deeper still and have been hovering at around 15%.
As there is much talk about travel recovery around the world, first with the Americas leading in 2021 and again in 2022, the travel data experts at ForwardKeys are noticing the first taste of recovery in Africa and the Middle East. International arrivals to Africa and the Middle East in Q2 of 2022 are at -33% compared to 2019 levels, above the total international outbound average of -45% and just behind the leading recovery region, the Americas (-27%). Last year this figure was at -64%, so this is a marked improvement.
Like it or not, China keeps making the headlines since the advent of the pandemic in 2020, and it’s for all sorts of reasons. From Covid containment and the strict zero policy to the closure of outbound tourism to the unstoppable desire to shop and travel – even if it’s just to neighbouring Macau or Hainan. The latest news is the lockdown of one of China’s most important financial centres: Shanghai. And now local authorities are telling Beijing residents to stay put ahead of the famous May holiday. But is it really all doom and gloom for the travel economy?
As a Global Data Partner of the World Travel Market (WTM), the Head of Market Intelligence, Juan Gomez, has been invited to present at WTM LATAM this week in Sao Paulo on April 6 on the Travel Tech stage. Here are a few points the Head of Market Intelligence shall share in his presentation on the LATAM Travel Outlook for 2022 – to catch the whole presentation and live panel discussion with ProColombia and Emprotur Brazil, make sure you register to attend.
Spain is among the most sought-after destinations in the world by tourists for this Easter, as highlighted in the presentation of travel forecasts to Spain made last Friday, 1 April 2022 by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism and ForwardKeys, the leading global travel intelligence and data company. “The year 2022 has started with a sustained recovery in tourism, as shown by the data from the hotel occupancy survey with 24.1 million overnight stays between January and February, 72% of the pre-pandemic level, or the employment data recorded in February.
In its second public analysis since the outbreak of war, ForwardKeys compared flight bookings in the week following the invasion, 24th Feb – 2nd Mar, to the previous seven days. Excluding Ukraine and Moldova, which closed their air space, and Russia and Belarus, which were subjected to flight bans and safety warnings, the destinations worst affected were generally those closest to the conflict. Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia all saw a 30% – 50% collapse in bookings.
The latest data from ForwardKeys reveals that the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted an instant spike in flight cancellations to and from Russia. On 25th February, the day after the start of the invasion, every booking that was made for travel to Russia was outweighed by six cancellations of pre-existing bookings. The source markets exhibiting the highest cancellation rates, in order of volume, were Germany 773%, France 472%, Italy 152%, the UK 254%, India 285% and Turkey 116%.
New research from ForwardKeys reveals that flight bookings to and from the UK have soared following the government’s announcement that COVID-19 testing would no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers entering the UK. The day after the announcement by the UK Transport Secretary was made, combined inbound and outbound flight bookings jumped to 84% of pre-pandemic (2019) levels, outbound to 106% and inbound to 47%.
According to ForwardKeys’ Forecast data, this year, the number of Russian outbound travel is expected to increase by +64% when compared to 2021, and +96% when compared to 2020. Regarding when we can expect it to recover to 2019 levels, Nan Dai, China Market Expert at ForwardKeys says: “Looking at the current pattern and pace for bookings, it is expected to recover to 2019 levels approximately in 2025-2026.”
ForwardKeys’ latest analysis on Q1 inbound air travel in Brazil confirms the relevancy of casting a wider net during the pandemic – in terms of air connectivity and source market promotions. Meanwhile, the domestic travel market could be what keeps the ship afloat as new case numbers increase. When examining the latest ticketing data for confirmed arrivals in Brazil in January – March 2022, the total international arrivals are -54% compared to 2019.
A new report from ForwardKeys reveals the recent lockdowns in China, imposed in response to outbreaks of the Omicron strain of Coronavirus, have cast a long shadow over Chinese New Year travel plans.The latest data, as of 11th January, shows flight bookings for the upcoming holiday period, 24th January – 13th February, were 75.3% behind pre-pandemic levels but still ahead by 5.9% of last year’s dismally low levels.
A new report from ForwardKeys reveals which destinations were the most visited since 1st November by travellers from the eight southern African countries currently designated as most at risk due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 – namely Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The data supports calls from many people objecting to immediate travel restrictions imposed on travel to and from these African countries.
In partnership with European Cities Marketing and their Barometer Report, the analysts at ForwardKeys shone the high beam on the highs and lows of travel within Europe this summer and in the last quarter of a roller-coaster year. And a few nuggets were unearthed, showing the return of business and luxury travel back to Europe. There is increased demand for luxury travel. To illustrate this, we looked at passenger arrivals from Los Angeles to London and we see an increase in the share of passengers travelling in Business, First and Premium Economy classes.
The ForwardKeys team of travel experts have been closely monitoring the winds of change in the travel sector since the pandemic unleased, and up until recently, the air ticketing data was showing the Americas, especially the Caribbean, as the sole game changers when it comes to real-time travel recovery. However, Africa and the Middle East are also proving to be much more resilient. While the total global inbound figure for international arrivals as of October 2021 sits at -77%, for Africa and the Middle East this figure is at – 68%.
‘Tis the time to give thanks in the USA and it appears sunny destinations both domestic and international are set to record growth on pre-pandemic US visitor numbers for the traditional exchange of turkey and well wishes. Travel analytics company ForwardKeys reveal the latest air ticketing data and trends placing Florida and El Salvador high on the travel agenda this Thanksgiving.
New research from ForwardKeys reveals that flight bookings to the USA have soared following two announcements that the destination would reopen to vaccinated foreign travellers in November. By mid-October, weekly bookings exceeded 70% of pre-pandemic levels. The first announcement was made on 20th September, when the White House said that visitors from the United Kingdom, Ireland, the 26 Schengen countries, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil would be allowed to enter the USA, without being subject to quarantine, provided they were fully vaccinated.
Before the pandemic, air travel passenger numbers were on the rise, meaning busier airports and improved sales figures for travel retail companies. Such was the demand for pre-flight shopping that operators were renovating their airports to provide more retail space. However, the onset of the global health crisis left airports and their shops largely empty. Although the travel industry is now slowly recovering, it remains volatile and unpredictable – and companies are having to identify, make sense of, and adapt to new airport retail trends.
During the peak summer months, Spain was one of the destinations in the world to see its domestic tourism sector get close to pre-pandemic levels with the most resilient destinations for both local and international tourists being the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. Tickets confirmed in September for any future travel versus the same period in 2019 show the Canary Islands as the most desired destination for locals and internationals yet again.
As the team of data scientists and analysts at ForwardKeys keep a vigilant eye on travel recovery around the world, an unexpected twist keeps on appearing: the creation of quarantine travel hubs. We don’t wish to call it a trend, rather, it’s more of an example of the lengths people are willing to take to get to certain long-haul destinations – even with tricky travel restrictions in place. And it has continued to play a role in travel and tourism since the onslaught of the pandemic.
Unlike the bumpy Singapore and Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) that was scrapped after two postponements, the newly launched Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Singapore and Germany has been distinctively smooth. For travel-starved residents in Singapore who have been kept at home by the pandemic since March last year, the pilot scheme’s significance lies in Germany being the first quarantine-free, long-haul destination for the fully vaccinated.