What will travel’s potential recovery mean for tourist retail?
Travel retailer Hudson announced plans to open six stores in the new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas as domestic air travel has recently been showing signs of making a comeback.
“There is such an immense feeling of honor being the first retailer selected to operate at the stunning new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, and the timing could not be more perfect as we begin to witness the rebound of travel,” said Roger Fordyce, Hudson’s CEO, in a statement.
Air travel has started to recover significantly in recent weeks as vaccination rates climb and states roll back pandemic restrictions.
American Airlines said Monday bookings are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels. Delta said on Wednesday that it would start selling middle seats again on flights starting May 1, making it the last U.S. airline to end the policy restriction.
Expanded vaccine availability factored into Delta’s decision. CEO Ed Bastian said the company’s research shows that 64 percent of its pre-pandemic passenger base anticipate having at least one dose of the vaccine by May 1.
Mr. Bastian in a memo to employees said mask requirements, cleanliness protocols, eliminating change fees and other measures would remain in place. He wrote, “Don’t confuse these actions with a return to ‘normal.'”
Wednesday marked the 21st day that over one million people have been screened at airport checkpoints, according to the Transportation Security Administration. That’s still down 41 percent year over year amid continuing safety concerns.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s is recommending that even vaccinated Americans postpone all travel plans until more is known about how effective vaccines are against new COVID-19 variants and whether vaccinated individuals can spread the disease.
A new analysis of TSA screening data from The New York Times also finds large hub airports have just a fraction of the travelers they did at this time last year, while traffic at smaller airports in such places as Colorado, Montana and Florida’s Key West are running ahead of last year. The best traffic was seen as airports “close to outdoor vacation destinations, and those serving communities whose residents are more willing to travel amid a pandemic.”
- Hudson Wins Big in the Entertainment Capital of the World, Opening Six New Stores at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas – Hudson/Business Wire
- American Airlines Says Travel Bookings Have Recovered to 90 Percent of Pre-Pandemic Levels – People
- CEO Ed Bastian memo: Reclaiming the skies – Delta
- Air Travel Is Already Back to Normal in Some Places. Here’s Where. – The New York Times
- Airport Retail Shops Pin Hopes on Bump in Travel – The Wall Street Journal
- Covid-19 Live Updates: U.S. Air Travel to Vacation Spots Is Returning – The New York Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect a fast or slow recovery for retailers relying on tourist traffic coming out of the pandemic? Which tourist hot spots are most likely to provide a boost to nearby retail? How strong is American’s appetite to travel?