Delta variant slows recovery timetable

SINGAPORE, 25 August 2021: Client travel confidence is growing – but the rise of the Delta variant is pushing back restart dates in some regions, American Express Global Business Travel warns in its latest business travel trends insights.

Released last week, American Express GBT says the majority (98%) of GBT clients expect travel to return before the end of 2021.

The ongoing insights are based on GBT’s client research, traveller surveys, and data analysis by experts to assess travel sentiment, new developments, and how organizations are managing their return to travel.

Since mid-July, governments around the world have closely monitored the increasing numbers of confirmed cases of Delta variant.

However, GBT’s assessment suggests that as restrictions on travel reduce and vaccinations continue to roll out, intra-regional and international travel could take off from September.

It based its assertions on recent research that showed a 36% increase in clients planning for the return to travel when compared with last May.

The number of clients ready to travel in the next 30 days is up 47% from where it was in May. North America is in the lead, with 26% of clients ready to get back on the road within a month, thanks to high vaccination rates and relaxing restrictions.

However, in EMEA*, just 10% of clients are prepared for travel in the next 30 days, rising to 14% in APAC and 16% in LAC*. In these regions, increasing case numbers are slowing travel recovery.

Hotels in China are ahead of the curve on return to travel and expecting a 3 to 5% increase in hotel bookings. The US is highly volatile with some cities/regions, seeing bookings fluctuate by as much as 5%.

Bookings in Europe are flat or slightly decreasing, while APAC (excluding China) is showing a flat to a slight increase according to Amex report.

*EMEA — Europe, Middle East and Africa; LAC — Latin America and the Caribbean

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