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New Forecast Says International Travel Isn’t Likely To Return To Normal Until 2024

It also revealed that Australia's domestic travel market is among the world's worst hit

Sad news for anyone dreaming of an overseas holiday: International travel is not likely to return to a pre-COVID normal until 2024, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA, who first predicted travel would resume regularity in July 2021, when lockdowns first took hold back in March, and then 2023, as things worsened in May, have released their latest forecast based on the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the reopening of borders.

“Latest forecast: The return of global passenger traffic to pre-#COVID19 levels is now delayed by a year, to 2024. As int’l #travel remains limited, the recovery for global passenger traffic has been slower than expected,” they tweeted.

In a second tweet, they outlined the key influencing factors behind the “more pessimistic outlook”, counting the US and developing economies’ slow containment of the virus, reduced corporate travel and weak consumer confidence among them. 

IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac further elaborated on the reasoning behind the extended forecast in a separate statement, saying:

“Passenger traffic hit bottom in April, but the strength of the upturn has been very weak. What improvement we have seen has been domestic flying. International markets remain largely closed.

“Consumer confidence is depressed and not helped by the UK’s weekend decision to impose a blanket quarantine on all travellers returning from Spain. And in many parts of the world infections are still rising. All of this points to a longer recovery period and more pain for the industry and the global economy.

“Domestic traffic improvements notwithstanding, international traffic, which in normal times accounts for close to two-thirds of global air travel, remains virtually non-existent.” 

Data included with de Juniac’s statement also revealed Australia’s own domestic travel sector ranks amongst the world’s most-impacted domestic markets, and is also proving to be one of the slowest to recover.

According to the report, revenue per passenger per kilometre declined 94% compared to where it was in July 2019, making it the country with the biggest drop in the world. 

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