Global air travel during the third quarter of the year (July, August and September) is set to reach 65% of levels achieved before the pandemic in 2019.
Produced for the World Travel Market (WTM), the new forecast warns that tourism’s revival is patchy, with some parts of the world doing much better than others and some types of travel, particularly beach holidays, being much more popular than urban city visits and sightseeing.
Core observations suggest Africa & the Middle East will demonstrate the most robust recovery, with arrivals in Q3 expected to reach 83% of 2019 levels. It is followed by the Americas, where summer arrivals are expected to reach 76%, then Europe, 71%, and the Asia Pacific, just 35%.
The current preference for beach holidays is well illustrated by a comparison of the top 10 beach and urban destinations in Europe, ranked by Q3 flight bookings compared to 2019. All those in the beach list, which is led by Antalya, 81% ahead, Tirana, 36% ahead and Mikonos, 29% ahead, are showing extremely healthy demand, whereas, in the urban list, only Naples is ahead. Furthermore, the four leading urban destinations, Naples, 5% ahead, Istanbul, flat, Athens, 5% behind, and Lisbon, 8% behind, are all also gateways to beach resorts too.
A similar trend is exhibited in the Americas, where Q3 bookings for air travel to the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico are 5% ahead of 2019 levels, whereas flight bookings to South America and to the US and Canada are, respectively, 25% and 31% behind. The destinations which are set to perform most strongly are Costa Rica, 24% ahead; Jamaica, 17% ahead and the Dominican Republic, 13% ahead.