World tourism hopes that the massive return of Chinese travelers in 2023 will seal the recovery of the sector, after the collapse of activity caused by the pandemic.
During the Qatar Economic Forum, executives from airlines and hospitality giants celebrated the robust recovery of this sector.
The return of Chinese tourists will complete the recovery after Beijing lifted restrictions, several industry players say.
“The desire to travel has never been greater and the industry is struggling to keep up with that demand.”, said the president of Boeing, David Calhoun.
Leisure has surpassed business as the main reason for taking a plane or booking a night in a hotel, he said. sebastien bazindirector of Accorthe largest hotel group in Europe.
In the northern hemisphere summer season, travel is expected to return to the level it was before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in December 2019.
Top executives expect Chinese tourists, with strong purchasing power, to play a key role in the recovery, although they are also projected to put pressure on the industry.
Accor predicts that “millions” of Chinese tourists will boost the industry in the coming months.
akbar al bakerthe CEO of Qatar Airwayspointed out that its planes originating in China leave “absolutely full”.
“Not only are they paying the price that is asked of them due to lack of capacity, but also the amount of money they spend in the duty-free shops at the (Doha) airport is higher than any other nationality.”, he added.
According to the tycoon William Ellwood Heineckeowner of the hotel group Minor Internationalthe rebound in demand from China should be fully felt in the second half.
“A strange position”
The Malaysian businessman tony fernandesowner of several companies, including AirAsiaexpects to have the 250 aircraft in its fleet, which were on the ground due to COVID-19, active by August.
“We are in a strange position, as in one minute we were fighting for survival and then we had to get 200 planes back on track, which is a gigantic job.“, said.
fernandes noted that airline and credit card data indicates that leisure travel is now a key priority for consumers.
For his part, bazin indicated that his group, which owns 5,400 hotels, has registered a “total change” on travel habits.
For decades, the big hotel chains got two-thirds of their business from business travelers and one-third from tourists.
“Now we are probably going to see this combination reversed. We already have 55% leisure and 45% business”, he detailed bazinadding that the “remote work” represents a revolution.
“We spent two years that were hell”, he recalled.
Bazin said that luxury room prices are currently 33-35% higher than in 2019 and economy room rates are 10-12% higher.
The hotel industry has billions in lost revenue to recover, the executive said.
“We are not taking advantage of people”, he assured.
Ricardo is a renowned author and journalist, known for his exceptional writing on top-news stories. He currently works as a writer at the 247 News Agency, where he is known for his ability to deliver breaking news and insightful analysis on the most pressing issues of the day.