by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – GLOBAL leisure and business flight bookings have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, while spending on cruise lines, buses and trains have sharply improvement this year.
This is after a turbulent two years triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The current positive trends are according to new research from the Mastercard Economics Institute, whose report, “Travel 2022: Trends and Transitions”, delivers critical insights about the global state of travel in a post-vaccine and less restricted chapter of the pandemic era.
Importantly, if flight booking trends continue at their current pace, an estimated 115 million more passengers in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa will fly in 2022 compared to last year.
By the end of April, global leisure flight bookings surpassed 2019 levels by 25 percent; short- and medium-haul leisure flight bookings were up 25 percent and 27 percent respectively.
Domestic travel choices still lead among consumers in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Domestic bookings surged and doubled pre-pandemic levels at the end of November 2020.
Although it declined in mid-2021, it exceeded pre-pandemic levels from February 2022.
Global business flight bookings exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time in March, with long-haul specifically growing double-digits in April.
Recent spending levels point to greater comfort with group travel. Global spending on cruises gained 62 percentage points from January to the end of April, though remains below 2019 levels.
Buses are back at pre-pandemic levels, while passenger rail spend remains 7 percent below.
“Like any flight, the travel recovery has faced both headwinds and tailwinds,” said Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute.
The official said as the “Great Rebalancing” takes place around the world, this mobility is critical to a return to pre-pandemic life.
“The resilience of the consumer to return to ‘normal’ and make up for lost time gives us optimism that the recovery will continue directionally, even if there are bumps along the way,” Dwyer stated.
Mastercard’s reasearch was across 37 countries.
– CAJ News