The just-posted numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) tell us that close of August marked the worst-ever half-year period for travel from overseas countries to the United States.
As the world’s travel and tourism industry fights to remain a viable force midst the drear and dross of the coronavirus-drive global pandemic that has virtually shut the industry down since the beginning of March 2020, we take solace in surveys that tell us certain sectors of travel and tourism are finding viability with creative selling or that a pent-up demand simply has to translate into travel. But when it comes to the key figures that really matter, the outlook for the near-term is not that encouraging.
Take a look at the new look on the National Travel and Tourism Office arrivals website:
Let’s consider the capacity and capability of several of the airlines that make overseas travel to and from the U.S. possible. A column last week by OAG’s John Grant that focused on the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. He wrote:
“For two of the majors, current bookings for November are running at just 25 percent of those reported at this time last year whilst for Delta Air Lines forward bookings are only at 12 percent of last year’s level for November. Clearly booking data changes every day but two factors also play on this data; quite how many of these bookings are vouchers being redeemed and precisely how much was paid for each booking. A triple whammy of fewer bookings, vouchers being used, and low yields just compound the misery for the carriers.”
For now, the overwhelming consensus of the news that reports on trave trade activity in the key markets and regions that are key to a healthy industry is that we should not expect a magic spike somewhere in Q4, and that we should focus—if we aren’t already doing so—on 2021 and 2022.
And remember: the numbers below will only get better.