Could early signs of a revival in tourism rescue the battered airline industry?
That’s just the scenario being pushed by a top Wall Street executive amid signs of renewed interest in global travel by lockdown weary consumers.
Mark Manduca, associate director of EMEA research at Citi, told CNBC’s Capital Connection that he is seeing “green shoots” on the recreation travel side of the battered airline sector, the network reported on Thursday (June 11).
“If you look at the facts, short-term demand is indeed recovering, particularly on the leisure side,” Manduca said.
The rosier outlook couldn’t come a moment too soon for the airline sector, with the industry on track to lose more than $84 billion this year amid a massive collapse in demand following coronavirus travel and business restrictions across the United States and the globe.
Tim Kelly, an executive vice president and managing director of Atlantis The Palm and The Royal Atlantis Resort and Residences in Dubai, offered a similar outlook on the CNBC show.
Kelly expects international travel to ramp up over the summer, with his resorts now fielding calls from tourists interested in booking stays in late 2020. Kelly said it could take a year to 16 months before business returns to normal, though.
“We’re actually starting to see a lot of tourist interest, believe it or not,” Kelly said.
Scrambling to save Europe’s tourism industry, the European Commission last month released a reopening plan aimed at allowing leisure travel to the continent over the summer.
Tourism accounts for 10 percent of the EU’s economy, and has already taken a big hit with the coronavirus, with a 90 percent plunge in air travel.
Some of Canada’s major tourism and business groups are also now pushing to reopen the country this summer for tourism as well.
More than 100 companies have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, arguing 1.8 million Canadian jobs are at stake.
Reports in late May indicated airline cancellations were slowing somewhat.