In the United States, as detailed by Javier Águila, “it was in February when there was a clear change in trend, when the vaccinated began to travel again, a trend also favored by an increase in air connectivity. American Airlines, for example, began using planes that previously served long-haul routes on domestic connections to Miami or short-haul destinations to the Caribbean, until reaching levels similar to those operated in this area in 2019 ”.
But even more important is that, as Águila has highlighted, “the number of people in the United States who feel comfortable and confident to travel again after vaccination has gone from 30% -40% to 80%”
East confidence boost has favored, as explained by the executive of Apple Leisure Group, that “the reserve levels between now and December already exceed those registered on the same dates of 2019, but not for 2022, since They are not so confident six months from now. But for September We hope that Americans will book again with that advance, because in the short term they have already matched 2019 volume and prices. People want to travel again, they need it”.
The same guidelines
However, as Águila has recognized, “that in Europe still does not happen, but we think it is a matter of time. All markets will tend to the same, although each will maintain its destination preferences, that will not change. All we have to do is cconvince them all”.
From ALG they foresee then Europe follow the same steps, albeit a few months apart. At the end of the day, as he has pointed out, “the guidelines for return to 2019 levels they are the same: in vaccination we are on the right track, both in the destinations and in the main issuing markets; the measures adopted must be well communicated and maintained over time so that reservations are not only short-term; and we must continue working to guarantee safety at destinations and increase connectivity, especially on islands, which are more dependent on air transport ”.
“In ALG hotels, both in Europe and America, we have carried out almost 400,000 COVID tests, with a positive rate of 0.16%, which increases the client’s feeling of security and tranquility”, according to Javier Águila
And what is happening in Europe?
José María Dalmau, Vice President of Business Development at Meliá Hotels International, also underlined that “the US market is undoubtedly the one that is reacting the best, especially in destinations such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic, where even the pre-crisis figures are being exceeded, also because right now this client is still unable to travel to Europe or on cruise ships”.
In Europe the situation is completely different, as Dalmau has pointed out: “In general terms, urban tourism continues to be seriously affected; while the vacation is recovering faster but still far from normal, thanks to the proximity tourism, although with last minute bookings and maximum flexibility which is causing high cancellation rates ”.
With these trends, Dalmau has assured that “it will take a couple of years to regain 2019 levels, although for business tourism there is little hope that incentive travel will start to recover in 2022 due to the push of the US market by then “.
The truth is that all the speakers have agreed to affirm, in Dalmau’s words, that “we will quickly forget everything we’ve been through and we will return to normal with the same speed, as is already happening in China ”, so it is expected that the complete recovery of the sector occurs in 2023, “We will have to learn to live with the pandemic for a few more years.”
In fact, some processes will remain, as recognized by the Meliá manager, as “certain hygiene protocols and the weight of the digital field, which will be more present in our way of relating, procedures and processes without friction ”. Proof of this, he added, is that “as the customer in a pandemic has perfected the use of digital media, it has been the online reservation that has grown the most, both on hotel websites and in online distributors. Some and others are those who are winning the game”.
Objective: for the vaccinated to travel again
The objective, as Javier Águila has indicated, is that “once it is confirmed that This fifth wave that we are starting does not lead to a higher hospital incidence and mortality, the vaccinated can little by little travel normally, always maintaining all the security measures ”. (The airline sector asks governments not to panic at the fifth wave, published by HOSTELTUR tourism news).
But taking into account, yes, that “although in the end in the United Kingdom everything is mobilized from the July 19, and in Spain the reservations are retaken, paralyzed after the messages of the fifth wave, we are going to have a very short summer season. The Canary Islands will have a better chance of recovering in their high season, but not the rest of our seasonal vacation destinations”.