While vacationers in Europe and the United States are itching to return to the skies, the surge in coronavirus cases linked to the Delta variant has prompted many governments to keep travel restrictions and testing requirements in place. That’s keeping many would-be travelers at home and heaping more pain on an industry that’s crucial to the pandemic recovery.
Remember: Before the pandemic, travel and tourism accounted for 10% of global GDP and a similar share of jobs. The industry’s economic contribution was cut in half last year, with 62 million jobs lost, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
How it fares in 2021 will matter a great deal to the global economy, particularly countries in poorer parts of the world that are highly dependent on overseas visitors.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said last month that the collapse in international tourism could cost the global economy as much as $2.4 trillion this year.
Between 100 million and 120 million direct tourism jobs are at stake, many of them belonging to young people, women and informal workers.
Silver lining: Despite weak bookings, EasyJet struck a positive note on Tuesday. “We remain confident about demand for travel this summer and into autumn, due to the bookings surges experienced following selective easing of travel restrictions,” the company said.
Investor insight: Given the uncertainty clouding the outlook for travel this year, analysts are already looking ahead for clues on which airlines are likely to emerge strongest from the wreckage of the pandemic.
“This summer is an important milestone in getting back to the skies, but 2022, when travel has resumed in earnest, will reveal the pandemic’s long-term winners and losers,” Laura Hoy, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said in a research note on Tuesday. “We’ve yet to see if