Travel will be boosted as Omicron eases and consumers open wallets

Now that the Omicron-Covid flavor is waning, consumers are going out and spending, as evidenced by the 3.8% rise in retail sales reported for January this week.

And travel is one area that’s seeing big gains.

“People really want to make sure they’re traveling while they can,” says Mark Matthews, marketing manager at Maui Seasons, a private tour operator in Hawaii. said the Washington Post. “Who knows when the next strain will come and what it will look like?”

Maui Seasons bookings are up 65% year to date.

The World Travel and Tourism Council forecasts that domestic travel spending could reach $1.1 trillion this year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels by 11.3 percent. according to travel pulse.

“Our most recent forecast shows the recovery is accelerating significantly this year as infection rates ease and travelers continue to benefit from the protection provided by the vaccine and boosters,” trade group president Julia Simpson said, according to the publication.

“As travel restrictions ease and consumer confidence returns, we expect a welcome relief from pent-up travel and tourism demand.”

Business up in amusement parks, casinos, airlines

Disney’s (DIS) – Get the Walt Disney Company Report Revenue from its theme parks more than doubled in the quarter ended January 1st.

Casinos are also seeing a growing business. “Premium customers who have been boxed in for 2020 and the first half of 2021 are once again traveling and spending with a vengeance,” said Wynn Resorts (WYNN) – Get Wynn Resorts, Limited Report Chief Executive Craig Billings, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Airlines are also reporting increasing customer demand. “Omicron is expected to temporarily delay demand recovery by 60 days,” Delta Air Lines said (DAL) – Get the Delta Air Lines, Inc. report CEO said Ed Bastian last month.

“But looking past the peak, we’re confident for a strong spring and summer travel season with significant pent-up demand for consumer and business travel.”

Travelers think big

Travelers are thinking big now, experts say. “People still have the means to spend money. All they needed was a catalyst, and now they have one,” Aneta Markowska, chief economist at Jefferies, told The Post.

“They’re sitting on the biggest cash cushion they’ve seen in years. And it’s not just the rich: it’s 80% of the population.” She’s headed to the Turks and Caicos this spring for her first vacation in two years.

Travis Berninger, an Orlando pharmacist, told the Journal that he and his husband, a pet store manager, are on a cruise, their first major trip in six years.

“Being able to work through the pandemic made us feel like we could afford a real vacation,” Berninger said. “We are planning to book the next cruise while we are on this one.”

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