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Monday, 12 July 2021

Regional travel to Egypt could see a boost in the near future – Mastercard

Travel between MEA countries and Egypt is set to grow in the coming period, with the route identified as one of the top 10 travel corridors to watch as travel restrictions ease, according to a recently released Mastercard Economics Institute report on global travel, which can be accessed here. Intra-regional travel to Egypt and the UAE grew in 2021, the report found, without giving concrete figures, though international flight bookings are still a fraction of their pre-covid rates.

Flight bookings to Egypt remained more than 50% beneath 4Q2019 levels in May, according to the report’s Flight Booking Tracker, which measures travel bookings in relation to pre-pandemic levels.

Bookings gradually recovered in 3Q2020 after plummeting to near-zero in March and April last year. Since then, figures have been inconsistent, dipping through the second wave of the virus during the winter before recovering again in April and May.

International travel bookings are on the up worldwide: Global international leisure flight bookings grew 4.5 times faster than in previous months in May 2021, and recorded nearly double what they were in January, the report found.

And domestic flight activity is also seeing a surge: Local travel is returning to its pre-pandemic levels, with around 20% of countries reaching almost 90% of their pre-covid domestic flight booking levels.

But some travellers are favouring the old fashioned road trip over flights: Global gas spending is 13% higher than its 2019 peak, with gas spending in Egypt and Nigeria exceeding 2019 levels. In the US, more than 25% of vehicle rentals were used for interstate travel.

And all of this staying put has been good for our savings: Globally, people have saved an extra USD 5 tn during the pandemic, which is now fueling travel demand, Mastercard says.

But the global recovery of travel is set to be imbalanced: New strains of covid-19, supply constraints in the airline industry, changing rules for international travel, and a host of other uncertainties mean the trajectory of recovery remains uncertain.

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