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The travel bubble between Russia and Egypt is inflating tourism back to 2019 levels

FOR foreign holidays to go ahead this year much depends on infection rates and vaccination rollouts around the world.

Many holidaymakers are opting for a staycation but for those willing to get on a plane, travel corridors could come to the rescue. Despite the chaos and confusion with air bubbles last year, the data has shown that they are a win win for tourists and the airline industry.

The recently opened corridor between Egypt and Russia has already seen a stunning increase in tickets issued taking tourism back to 2019 figures, according to experts. Another bubble due to open next week between Taiwan and Palau, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, aims to have the same effect.

Speaking at the Visit Abu Dhabi Forum, Olivier Ponti, VP insights for research firm ForwardKeys, said that “each time you open an airport with bilateral collaboration between two countries you see a spike in bookings.”

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Europe, Britons’ preference for summer holidays in France and Italy might be thwarted. Optimism though is spreading following reports of a possible safe corridor between the UK and the US. Already 52 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against covid-19, compared to 30 million Britons, who have received one dose. Around 3.6 million in the UK have received their second. 

This could lead to a trend where similar countries that have low infection rates and a high number of coronavirus jabs in arms partner up to offer quarantine-free travel. When the UK resumes international travel, this could mean possible air corridors between the UK and Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Chile.

Mr Ponti said: “When a travel corridor opens, do we see any impact of this new travel corridor in the data? The answer is yes. That’s great for destinations because it helps them understand what works. What we have learned, is that air corridors work. Each time you open an airport with bilateral collaboration between two countries you see a spike in bookings. We have seen this recently with the air corridor established between Egypt and Russia. We are seeing a sharp increase in the number of bookings and tickets issued for a trip from Russia to Egypt to the point that Egypt is actually growing in this market – not compared to 2020 but compared to 2019. We are talking about proper growth here.”

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