Global leisure and business air travel surpass 2019 levels: report

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Pent-up travel demand combined with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has pushed global leisure and business flight bookings past 2019 levels, new research from the Mastercard Economics Institute finds.

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The report indicates that at the end of April, global leisure flight bookings exceeded 2019 levels by 25% and short and medium-haul leisure flight bookings increased by 25% and 27% , respectively.

The study also indicates that global business flight bookings, driven by a return to the office, exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time in March, with long-haul flights specifically increasing by double digits in April.

In terms of group travel, global spending on cruises increased by 62% from January to the end of April, but still remains below 2019 levels, while bus travel has returned to pre-pandemic levels, but that train travel remains 7% lower.

Car trips also increased, with spending on tolls and car rentals increasing by nearly 19% and 12%, respectively.

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The report says experiential spending in destinations is now 34% higher than 2019 levels, spending in bars and nightclubs increased the most at 72%, and visits to amusement parks, museums, concerts and other recreational activities increased by 35%.

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The United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands, Mexico, Italy, Germany, France and Canada are now the top 10 international destinations for tourists in the world.

According to the Mastercard Economics Institute, if flight booking trends continue at the current rate, around 1.5 billion more passengers worldwide will be flying in 2022 compared to last year.

“As the ‘great rebalancing’ takes place around the world, this mobility is essential for a pre-pandemic return to life,” said Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard’s chief economist and director of the Mastercard Economics Institute, in a statement. .

“Consumer’s resilience to get back to ‘normal’ and make up for lost time gives us optimism that the recovery will continue directionally, even if there are bumps along the way.”

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