Government AffairsLack of coordination between airlines, destinations and states is hobbling recovery progress of the travel industry

Travel industry in desperate need of collaboration

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Piecemeal approach to opening and closing of borders for travel is hampering large-scale recovery efforts
Piecemeal approach to opening and closing of borders for travel is hampering large-scale recovery efforts Photo Credit: Golffywatt/Getty Images

Coordination between airlines, destinations and states is going to be key in seizing on small pockets of opportunity to get travellers on the move again.

The opening and closing of borders for travel – a process that it is happening in numerous regions as outbreaks of the coronavirus subsides and reignites – is hampering efforts to build on any large-scale momentum as travel brands look to resurrect what remains of their 2020 strategy.

Speaking at the Phocuswright Europe 2020 event last week, Olivier Jager, co-founder and CEO of industry data specialist ForwardKeys, said the traditional cycle of what destinations are being searched for by consumers, what flights are on offer and what tickets are being bought has broken down.

This is leading to a situation, with countries imposing quarantine measures with just days to spare, where airlines cannot schedule flights with any degree of certainty that their planes will be carrying adequate load factors.

Some "smart initiatives" are being created, but not across the board, Jager said.

For example, some Germany-based tour operators have worked with Covid-safe destinations in the Mediterranean to quickly schedule packages between specific destinations – essentially building unofficial "bubbles".

But these types of services are generally few and far between – with little or no serious coordination happening between destinations and airlines at a significant level.

Jager says that there is a lot of demand in the market for trips, when consumers are notified that destination A or B is open for business.

Another example concerns Malta, when it announced in mid-June that it would accept British leisure travellers to visit the island, with flight searches on Skyscanner jumping 307% week-over-week.

Jager argues if there is "complete visibility and clarity on how to travel, when to travel, where to travel and the price to pay," then travellers are likely to be eager to seek out trips and abide by testing regimes on departure and arrival.

The airlines will be in the driving seat in the recovery, Jager believes, with them desperate to seize on the demand from passengers – but they will need a different relationship with destinations that is more flexible and collaborative.

The presentation is available on-demand now.

This story was first published on Phocuswire.

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