Travel group Webjet is hoping that growing demand in Asia and North America will offset the impact of the fourth wave of COVID-19 crashing into Europe and forcing parts of the continent to lock down.
Chief Executive John Guscic said the global travel industry is now on the “back end” of the pandemic and Webjet is claiming a greater share of business when the world reopens, putting it on track to return to the pre-pandemic booking levels at some point between October 2022 and March 2023.
“While there are still short-term uncertainties, the incredible work being done on vaccinations, boosters and antiviral treatments will stabilize the impact over the next six to 12 months,” he said. he said Wednesday.
“Our geographic diversification has become a strength as these different regions recover at different times. Where the demand returns, it returns quickly and we have seen it at all levels. “
ASX-listed Webjet operates a local direct-to-consumer online travel booking website and a global industry company called WebBeds that wholesalers hotel rooms to travel agents, tour operators and airlines.
Webjet’s bullish outlook on Wednesday came despite the increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe, which prompted Austria this week to re-impose a nationwide lockdown. Some German states are also stranded again, Belgium has ordered citizens to work from home at least four days a week, while the Netherlands has forced shops, bars and restaurants to close early and restrict gatherings social rooms for four people.
Mr Guscic said the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Europe had no impact on group-wide bookings, which continued to increase as new markets opened their borders. “Which isn’t to say it won’t come, but what we’re seeing is … a more than compensating impact of the opening up of transatlantic travel … and Asian markets starting to open up. “, he told investors after delivering the group’s half-year results.
Hundreds of local brick-and-mortar travel agents have closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, speeding up the shift to online booking sites.