The latest: Budget airline EasyJet (ESYJY), which flies between dozens of destinations in Europe, said Tuesday that less than half of its lucrative July to September schedule is booked, compared to 65% at this point in 2019.
“Customers are currently booking much closer to departure due to market conditions,” the company added in a statement, echoing comments made by rival Jet2 earlier this month. Capacity is forecast to reach just 60% of 2019 levels over the summer, EasyJet said.

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.

See here: On Monday — the same day that most of England’s remaining pandemic-related restrictions were lifted — the US State Department raised its travel advisory level for Britain to “Level 4: Do not travel” because of a rise in Covid-19 infections.
Travel and tourism stocks took a dive, as investors continued to reassess the risks posed by the Delta variant to the economy. American Airlines (AAL), United (UAL) and Delta (DAL) were all down around 4% to 5%. Cruise operators Carnival (CCL), Royal Caribbean (RCL) and Norwegian (NCLH) each fell between 4% and 6% amid a broad selloff in global equity markets.

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.

Dow suffers biggest drop of the year as Delta variant fears hit Wall Street hard

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

A passenger arrives from New Zealand after the Trans-Tasman travel bubble opened overnight, following an extended border closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, October 16, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

New Zealand will lift its partial suspension of a “travel bubble” with Australia from midnight on Sunday as fears of a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney eased.

New Zealand had blocked travel to and from New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, on Thursday after a couple in Sydney with no links to high risk professions or people tested positive for COVID-19.

The cases prompted a reinstatement of some social distancing measures around Sydney, and a campaign to get more people tested, as authorities scrambled to determine the source of infection. read more

However, state health officials on Saturday reported a second straight day without a new case, allaying concerns about a wider outbreak in the city.

New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said travel to and from NSW, home to one-third of Australia’s 25 million population, would resume after health officials determined the risk to New Zealand was low.

“New Zealand has consistently taken a precautionary approach to keeping COVID-19 out,” Hipkins said in a statement.

Australia and New Zealand began allowing quarantine-free travel less than a month ago, after a protracted run of zero locally-acquired cases in the neighbouring countries.

“Border controls  are a key tool for stopping the introduction and spread of new cases from overseas and remain central to our elimination strategy,” Hipkins said.

Australia has meanwhile barred travel from India due to high infection rates, but it has said it would begin chartering repatriation flights on May 15. read more

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(Reuters) – New Zealand will lift its partial suspension of a “travel bubble” with Australia from midnight on Sunday as fears of a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney eased.

New Zealand had blocked travel to and from New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, on Thursday after a couple in Sydney with no links to high risk professions or people tested positive for COVID-19.

The cases prompted a reinstatement of some social distancing measures around Sydney, and a campaign to get more people tested, as authorities scrambled to determine the source of infection.

However, state health officials on Saturday reported a second straight day without a new case, allaying concerns about a wider outbreak in the city.

New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said travel to and from NSW, home to one-third of Australia’s 25 million population, would resume after health officials determined the risk to New Zealand was low.

“New Zealand has consistently taken a precautionary approach to keeping COVID-19 out,” Hipkins said in a statement.

Australia and New Zealand began allowing quarantine-free travel less than a month ago, after a protracted run of zero locally-acquired cases in the neighbouring countries.

“Border controls  are a key tool for stopping the introduction and spread of new cases from overseas and remain central to our elimination strategy,” Hipkins said.

Australia has meanwhile barred travel from India due to high infection rates, but it has said it would begin chartering repatriation flights on May 15.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye; editing by Jane Wardell)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.