The latest update of the Skift Recovery Index shows Mexico being the first country in the index to reach pre-pandemic travel levels, registering a score of 100 in June 2021, indexed against June 2019.
While this is further evidence of the strong recovery made by the country’s tourism sector, a closer look at the different travel sectors shows that particularly its lodging sector is booming, compensating for continued weakness in other sectors.
The country’s wider economy (macroeconomics — taking into account unemployment, industrial production, retail sales, and stock market returns) is also back to pre-pandemic levels, but the flight and drive segments still fall short.
Traveler activity, which refers to travel intent and booking behavior by Mexican residents also remains slightly suppressed, although it did move to over 80 percent of June 2019 levels.
The performance of the travel industry in the U.S. also continued to improve, with the country registering continuous growth for seven months running now. Its recovery score now stands at 93.
We have often used the U.S. vacation rental industry as a way to highlight shifts in consumer behavior and how not all sectors were impacted equally by the pandemic. We often did this in contrast to the U.S. hotel industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic.
However, the hotel industry has been coming back strongly in the past months, and new hotel bookings were above pre-pandemic levels for the first time in May, after declining for 13 months. In June, we saw hotel bookings continue this trend, with new bookings at 112 percent of June 2019 levels. Occupancy levels are also edging towards pre-pandemic levels, at 92 percent of 2019 levels.
Vacation rentals have been hovering around the 100 percent line for all of 2021 both in terms of occupancy rates and new bookings. This is, of course, an average performance score, with especially nature and rural destinations continuing to perform above 2019 levels.
Overall, global recovery is continuing. The global average recovery score now stands at 64 points. This number indicates that the overall travel performance of June 2021 stands at 64 percent of the pre-pandemic performance in June 2019.
Only five countries showed a decline in their scores during June, of the 22 countries that we cover in the Recovery Index. This includes Australia, Singapore, the UAE, South Africa, and China. All these destinations saw increases in new Covid cases and many tightened restrictions in response. In China the province of Guangdong was locked down after a new surge in cases. South Africa found itself in the middle of a third wave amid a slow start of the vaccine rollout.
On the other end of the spectrum, Turkey saw the strongest recovery in June, jumping an impressive 21 percentage points in a single month.