Bucking the trend, however, is Asia, where travel curbs in China and its COVID-zero strategy continue to hinder recovery in the region. Despite this, Mr Donohue said he sees recovery within the next two to three years.
“The one area that has not fully recovered is Asia but I’m optimistic that as we get into 2024 and 2025, in that period we will see Asia travel recover as well,” he said.
LEISURE TRAVEL ON THE RISE
Mr Donohue noted that travelling for leisure is on the uptick due to an increase in hybrid or flexible working arrangements.
“Leisure travel has actually grown to a level we have never seen before. There’s a blending now of business and leisure travel as more and more people work remotely, they are turning a leisure trip to a business trip, and vice versa,” he said.
Airports and airlines seem to have also fixed crew shortages that saw the industry scrambling with flight cancellations and airport mayhem in summer, said Mr Donohue.
The US just capped its busiest travel period of the year – the Thanksgiving season – with very few cancellations or delays, he said.
Despite recessionary data reported across the world, which would typically put pressure on travel, Mr Donohue said that industry players at the WTTC summit are upbeat on demand and prices next year.
“As I talk to the airlines CEOs and they look into 2023, they are very bullish on their pricing power and their pricing results. So I would say that 2023 is going to be another very strong year for the airline industry, and therefore for the airports as well,” he said.
“The good news overall is that customers are willing to spend and invest on the experience of travel and the spirit of travel. In that perspective, I’m very optimistic.”