Goh says realistically, the woes of the travel and tourism sectors will persist as long as quarantine remains even for the vaccinated.
‘International travel recovery will be muted and restrained when quarantine remains. Ultimately, the need to quarantine should be removed for those who are vaccinated and who test negative prior to departure for Australia. We urge the Australian government to follow guidance from WHO on a risk-based approach. This includes relaxing measures and / or quarantine requirements for travellers who are fully vaccinated and to provide alternatives for unvaccinated individuals through testing.’
A number of major states – the US, Canada, European states – have lifted quarantine requirements for international arrivals.
Domestic drop due to Delta hits airlines
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says the recovery in air travel decelerated in August compared to July, as government actions in response to concerns over the Covid-19 Delta variant cut deeply into domestic travel demand.
Because comparisons between 2021
and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the impact of Covid-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to August 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.
Total demand for air travel in August 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 56% compared to August 2019. This marked
a slowdown from July, when demand was 53% below July 2019 levels.
This was entirely driven by domestic markets, which were down 32.2% compared to August 2019, a major deterioration from July 2021, when traffic was down 16.1% versus two years ago. The worst impact was in China, while India and Russia were the only large markets to show a month-to-month improvement compared to July 2021.
International passenger demand in August was 68.8% below August 2019, which was an improvement compared to the 73.1% decline recorded in July. All regions showed improvement, which was attributable to growing vaccination rates and less stringent international travel restrictions in some regions.
‘August results reflect the impact of concerns over the Delta variant on domestic travel, even as international travel continued on a snail’s pace toward a full recovery that cannot happen until governments restore the freedom to travel.
‘In that regard, the recent US announcement to lift travel restrictions from early November on fully vaccinated travellers is good news and will bring certainty to a key market. But challenges remain, September bookings indicate a deterioration in international recovery. That’s bad news heading into the traditionally slower fourth quarter,’ says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.