Welshman behind £ 21bn travel agency says global travel won’t recover until 2024

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The Welshman behind a £ 21 billion travel agency has warned that global travel will not recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic until 2024.

Born and raised in Aberbargoed, entrepreneur Mike Batt is the founder and chairman of Internova Travel Group, a company with more than 6,000 travel agencies around the world, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom. and Mexico.

Speaking at a Cardiff Business Club event earlier this month, Mr Batt described the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the travel industry.

“At the height of the pandemic, international and domestic air travel was down more than 80%, hotel volumes were halved and cruises fell 60% for all of 2020,” website d ‘business News from Wales reports Mr. Batt recounting the event.

“[Management consultant firm] McKinsey predicts that global travel will not return to 2019 levels until at least 2024, with business travel particularly slow to recover.

“Moving forward after Covid, Internova has restructured the business and streamlined its footprint to continuously reduce costs.”



Batt said air travel fell 80% at the height of the pandemic

Son of a miner, Mr. Batt attended Swansea University and first began his career on Mars, before being recruited by British Airways, where he eventually became Marketing Director. He then moved to the United States to fill a number of senior management positions, before leading a management buyout of what is today one of the largest travel companies in the world. You can read more about its history here.

Today, his £ 21 billion New York-headquartered company has 4,000 employees and represents 65,000 travel counselors in 6,000 locations through its owned, franchised and affiliated travel agencies.

Formerly known as Travel Leaders Group, the company became Internova Travel Group in 2020.

According to McKinsey & Company, the airline industry’s revenues in 2020 totaled $ 328 billion, or about 40% of the previous year or the same level as in 2000. They predict that traffic is only likely to return. ” to 80% of pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

They described a number of changes in the aviation industry in the wake of the pandemic. You can read more here. They said:

Ticket prices could increase

According to McKinsey & Company, many airlines have had to borrow large sums of money to continue to weather the pandemic. The International Air Transport Association says the industry collectively racked up more than $ 180 billion in debt in 2020, the equivalent of more than half of total annual revenues that year.

As a result, we will likely see an increase in airline tickets as airlines try to recoup these costs. McKinsey predicts that this could lead to an increase in ticket prices of around 3%.

In addition, demand for tickets is expected to exceed the available supply due to reduced aircraft capacity, delays in returning aircraft to service and retraining of crews. It could also cause prices to rise in the short term.



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Leisure Travel Rather Than Business Will Pick Up First

Indeed, remote working and flexible working arrangements mean that people will make fewer business trips.

They added that after events like September 11 and the 2008 global financial crash, it was leisure travel to see friends and relatives that first recovered in the UK. It took four years for business travel to return to pre-9/11 levels and it had not yet recovered from pre-crisis levels after the 2008 crash when the pandemic began.


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