TORONTO — Consumer media coverage about ramped-up bookings, tight inventory and rising fuel costs will be either an incentive or disincentive to book – depending on the traveller – but in either case, the message that people are travelling again is getting out there.
A headline on an article from The Globe and Mail over this past weekend reads ‘Surging demand for travel and soaring fuel costs ‘a perfect storm’ for airplane tickets, cruise prices’
Tripcentral.ca’s Richard Vanderlubbe tells the Globe that package prices for sun vacations and other getaways have been on the rise since late January, and really started to climb by mid-February.
Canada’s new eased travel measures, announced Feb. 15 and in effect since Feb. 28, 2022, for fully vaccinated travellers, include: the option of antigen tests instead of PCR tests for the pre-arrival testing requirement; a return to randomized on-arrival PCR testing with no isolation while waiting for test results; no isolation requirement for unvaccinated kids under 12 travelling with fully vaccinated adults; and a downgraded travel advisory, to Level 2.
It’s not only Canadians who are booking more trips and travelling, especially to sun destinations. As the travel industry well knows, but the general public sometimes forgets, Caribbean and Mexico resorts are favourites for many European markets, not to mention droves of U.S. travellers as well.
The Globe also notes that airfares are on the rise, up 36% in early March compared to the same time-frame in 2019, according to stats from metasearch engine Kayak.
Airlines are under added pressure from rising fuel costs, exacerbated by sanctions against Russian oil exports after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The price of jet fuel is up 27% over the past week, notes the Globe, and that could impact a wide range of goods and services, including airfares and cruise fares.
Canada’s Level 4 advisory against cruise travel eased last week.
Air Canada says fuel costs always factor into ticket prices. “We always say that ticket pricing is dynamic and that fares can change frequently, both up and down. However, one cannot assign a particular cause to any price movement that may occur because there are many elements that go into setting fares,” such as competition, demand and airport charges, said Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick in a statement to The Canadian Press.
WestJet Group told the wire service that it has not increased fares in response to soaring oil prices. A spokesperson stressed demand as the key driver of ticket prices.
Meanwhile Transat may consider fuel hedging – where airlines agree to purchase oil in the future at a predetermined price – to buffer against mounting costs, said Transat’s CFO Patrick Bui last week, during Transat’s Q1 conference call.
With file from The Canadian Press