Vacationers are returning to the roads and sky in the U.S. after an earlier pullback caused by the Delta variant, setting expectations for a busy holiday travel season.
After nearly two years of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and leisure companies are reporting strong sales gains and interest from tourists. Bookings are rising. Rooms are filling up. Shows are being added.
Uncertainties still remain. Business travel is returning more slowly, recovery in some parts of the world is choppy and another rise in Covid-19 cases is a threat. But executives say the disruption from the Delta variant in late summer has mostly passed.
“The travel rebound is here despite the continued pandemic,” Airbnb Inc. Chief Executive Brian Chesky said Thursday. Shares of Airbnb rose 13% Friday following the home-sharing company’s earnings update.
The Delta wave of the Covid-19 pandemic appears past its peak, with new cases, hospitalizations and deaths declining in most U.S. states. Public-health experts say factors driving the decline likely include an incremental uptake in vaccines and the return of precautions like mask-wearing in certain areas.
Investors picked up on the recent optimism expressed by travel and leisure companies and the prospects of a reopening economy. Shares of many airliners, cruise operators, casino operators and travel companies rose more than 5%. Overall, the Dow Jones U.S. Travel & Leisure Index jumped 4.6% Friday and is up 17% so far this year.
The U.S. is set to lift border restrictions on Monday, adding to the travel demand. “When the U.S. announced that international visitors could come starting Nov. 8 if they’re vaccinated, that increased our bookings immediately,” Glenn Fogel, chief executive of online travel agency Booking Holdings Inc., said in an interview this week. Booking shares rose 7.5% Friday.
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Hyatt Hotels Corp. , which turned a profit for the third quarter, expects revenue from short leisure stays at its Americas resorts to track 25% ahead of 2019 levels for the