Speaking of the effects of the pandemic and potential recovery for the travel industry in an interview with DW News, CEO of international travel booking platform Trivago, Axel Hefner, predicts predominantly local travel and hardly any intercontinental travel to characterise the sector in the years to come.

“The industry has had hardly any revenue, with the exception of a small summer peak last year,” he stated, commenting on a reported 74 per cent less global travel due to the pandemic registered in the last year.

Axel Hefner / Trivago

Still, he is hopeful that things will begin to shift this summer, citing that particularly in Southern Europe, several regions and economies which rely heavily on tourism will be pushing to get tourists to these destinations in order to keep going.

“Having been in lockdown for a very long time, particularly families do need a break,” he states, predicting that summer travel prospects will be improved by good weather, vaccination programmes gaining traction and by exploiting the benefits of testing. “These three factors will counter the effects of the variants that are more contagious,” he ventures.

Speaking of how COVID-19 has impacted the booking platform, the CEO confirms that business has been “hit hard”, leading them to “face reality that the travel industry would be much smaller for the years to come.” Since then, the team has taken a positive perspective and are shifting their focus to this summer – “we have worked hard on adjusting our products, and I am excited to test those products with travellers”

Meanwhile, he notes the indirect and direct effects of the pandemic on leisure travel in the foreseeable future. “The direct effect in the short term is that local destinations seem to be much more attractive, while remote destinations pose greater risks due to quarantine requirements etc. The indirect effect is more related to the airlines – the amount of business travel is likely to be structurally reduced, which means that economy class tickets are likely to become more expensive,” he says, forecasting an overall a shift from intercontinental to more continental and local travel for the years to come.

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