As the team of data scientists and analysts at ForwardKeys keep a vigilant eye on travel recovery around the world, an unexpected twist keeps on appearing: the creation of quarantine travel hubs. We don’t wish to call it a trend, rather, it’s more of an example of the lengths people are willing to take to get to certain long-haul destinations – even with tricky travel restrictions in place. And it has continued to play a role in travel and tourism since the onslaught of the pandemic.

Use Case 1: Brazil

In August, ForwardKeys shared this observation regarding quarantine travel from Brazil to the US, Peru, and Panama via quarantine in Mexico. We’ve also seen a case of history repeating itself in the Middle East as well as from India to Canada via Serbia.

Use Case 2: Egypt

Travellers from Egypt throughout summer spent their quarantine in Albania, UAE, Jordan, and Bahrain to get to the UK and Saudi Arabia.

“There was an overall increase in tickets issued from Egypt to Albania, especially one-way,” says Olivier Ponti, VP of Insights at ForwardKeys.

“Looking at the air ticketing data we could also see an increase in travel from Egypt to Jordan from June. In pre-pandemic times Jordan was mostly used as a transferring point. Overall, the arrivals (all transits and longer stays) were behind by 35% of 2019 levels, but the stays of 14 – 21 nights have increased significantly in this period (+35 percentage points) and looking at further destinations for this length of stay, it is mostly to Saudi Arabia.”

Use Case 3: India

Here’s an interesting one to finish this trend report, the case of Indian travellers. Outbound India is a relevant market to capture, with destinations such as the UAE already looking at ways to re-engage with this source market.

Looking at April – August departures from India (the period when India had a new wave of cases and most countries banned flights from India) we can see an increase in departures to Serbia and Mexico as these two countries were still allowing entry for travellers from India.

The final destinations for those travellers from India were mostly Canada and U.S.A. 77% of the Indian arrivals into Serbia was only to fly onwards to Canada.

Mexico was the 2nd best route undertaken to get into either the US or Canada, just like Brazilian’s quarantining in Mexico before entering North America.

And for Canada, non-essential travel is not allowed. Flights from India are banned, and Indians cannot even fly directly for “essential travel” – hence the necessity for the crucial stop in Serbia.

“A new rule that has since come into effect is that vaccinated travellers from India can enter Canada, but they have to transit via another country and get tested there,” adds Ponti.

Things could change at any minute as new cases are reported or travel restrictions are changed, however, it’s a story worth sharing. One of determination to travel despite the obstacles or challenges. And pent-up travel being converted into tickets issued going from A to C to get to B.


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