Omicron accelerates tourism’s recovery for summer 2022
Mabrian publishes data comparing vaccination rates with the evolution of air capacity for summer 2022 in Europe’s top outbound source markets.
Air capacity for Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece this summer has returned to 2019 levels – with France the only exception but still at almost double 2021 rates.
As the most recent pandemic wave recedes Mabrian Technologies – the leading provider of data analysis and tourism intelligence globally – has published a study about how Omicron’s pushing up vaccine rates and the number of people who have temporary immunity after infection will positively impact arrivals in the main European holiday destinations this summer.
The Mabrian analysis includes a series of graphs (see attached) that illustrate the relationship between Omicron, vaccination rates and the outbound air capacity of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy towards their most popular international holiday destinations.
Looking at the 1st May to 30th October period for 2022, Portugal and Greece are already at +1% and +2% respectively of their 2019 air capacity. Meanwhile Spain and Italy are only down by 1% and 2% respectively.
France is the only exception at minus 19% compared to 2019, but still reaches an absolute figure almost doubt that of 2021.
Carlos Cendra, Director of Sales & Marketing at Mabrian, comments:
“How could it be possible that something as nasty as Omicron has accelerated the recovery of tourism?
“Essentially Omicron pushed many more people to become fully vaccinated and our research shows that all the main outbound markets for European holidays have seen quite significant jumps in vaccination rates during that time. At the same time, many more people have now been infected than before, or have had their third dose, giving them temporary confidence that they can travel.
“Therefore, it would be quite hard to argue that, right now at least looking forward to the summer season, we’d have been better off without Omicron.
“What’s the evidence for this driving a recovery in tourism though you might ask? After all, at first glance the capacity figures fall sharply around the time of Omicron, despite vaccinations going up?
“Well when you consider that in the winter months capacity always falls substantially for seasonal destinations such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and France, then actually in recent months the capacity evolution hasn’t varied from a ’normal’ years. In other words, Omicron didn’t impact them.
“Perhaps this will be an eternal debate amongst academics as to Omicron’s impact on the tourism economy, and evidently without the vaccines then Omicron would have been a terrible health tragedy for the whole world.
“But one thing is for sure: based on current scheduled capacity, inbound international arrivals the main European destinations are essentially back up to 2019 levels. This is simply fantastic news, unthinkable only a few months ago.
“Better news still is the fact that there is no indication that the demand for domestic travel is falling across Europe, meaning that overall destinations could see themselves entering into overall visitors figures and occupancy rates higher than before the pandemic.”
Mabrian believes that these insights are very important for any destination out there considering where to invest their marketing budgets right now: high vaccination markets should clearly be the priority as the link between vaccines and recovery is undoubtable.
Meanwhile for those in parts of the world where this might be hard to do — ie. where all realistic source markets have low levels of vaccination still — Mabrian believes that destinations can take some comfort from the fact over the longer term increased vaccination rates will drive the recovery for their destination.