SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 27 May 2024, Monday |

Holiday costs to jump in summer, warns travel boss

Booking.com’s chief executive Glenn Fogel said on Friday that prices for international travel are set to rise this year due to pent-up demand and fewer aeroplanes in service,

Many airlines have significantly reduced the number of flights they operate due to travel restrictions.

Despite huge demand, uncertainty makes it hard for airlines to plan bringing more planes back into service, he said.

“There’s so much pent-up demand,” said Fogel. “Everybody wants to go travelling, but we all want to do it safely.”

John Grant, an aviation analyst with global travel data provider OAG agrees that this will have a knock-on impact on air fares as travel restrictions are eased.

“That will, in the short term, create a rush of pent-up demand and revenge spending,” he said.

“In turn, the airline algorithms will detect an uptick in demand and move prices up accordingly”.

A lack of clarity about how governments will go about recognizing vaccine and testing statuses from other countries is troubling the travel industry, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Confusing systems

Fogel believes a single system would be helpful: “So many different people in so many different governments are talking about different programs, but right now, there is nothing out there that is unified, so it’s very confusing.

“I listened to the prime minister of Italy saying how they want to let people into Italy soon and you just have to prove that you have a vaccine and it’d be great.

“And my thinking is, well, I have my vaccine myself, but how do I prove it? Do I just bring my little white card that I got in the US that said I got it, is that going to be good enough? We need some clarifications.”

Several systems are being explored, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s travel pass, which is being trialled by a number of airlines.

Meanwhile, the European Union is working on having a digital pass ready in time for the summer holidays.

Split society?

The idea of a scheme that allows passengers who have had the vaccine to travel has proved divisive.

The UK equality watchdog recently warned it could create a “two tier society, whereby only certain groups are able to fully enjoy their rights”.

That’s a view supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) but Fogel disagrees.

“It’s true that if you’re not vaccinated, you may not be able to enter a country under this type of a system,” he said.

“But I’m okay with that. Because the alternative is what – nobody gets to go in? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

He added that there are countries that people cannot go into if they don’t have proof of vaccination against yellow fever, for example.

“There’s nothing wrong with using technology to prove you are a safe traveler that can help get the industry up faster,” said Fogel.

    Source:
  • BBC NEWS