Travel Industry Shows Early Signs of Rebounding

Marriott International's new CEO says the company is seeing "green shoots" of recovery as travelers rebook trips they called off.

Video Transcript

TONY CAPUANO: We are, as you rightly point out, seeing some green shoots.

JAMES PACKARD: Glimmers of hope in recovery for the travel industry. With domestic air travel still down over 50%, airlines, hotels and cruise lines still eager for a recovery. And as vaccination rates across the US surge, more Americans are planning vacations.

JAN JONES: There are people who have just been rebooking. So those vacations will now, I think, begin to happen. And then I think other people are just, they just really want to get out.

JAMES PACKARD: An AARP survey found more than half of baby boomers are planning travel in 2021. But nearly half of that group still feels it's unsafe. And their plans are tethered to vaccine availability.

JAN JONES: We obviously see a lot of travel in boomers because they have saved up the money to do so. But I really do think that the vaccine is giving them some hope in terms of being able to get out there in a safe way.

JAMES PACKARD: It's an indication recovery will be slow.

ALAN JOYCE: Border closures meant we lost virtually 100% of our international flying and 70% of our domestic flying.

JAMES PACKARD: Qantas, the flagship Australian airline, stopped international flying last year and doesn't plan to start it again until this October, consistent with data showing travelers planning more for domestic-only trips. AARP says some boomers are planning cruise vacations.

JAN JONES: People that love cruises really love cruises. And so I definitely think that as soon as those cruises start running, they're going to fill.

JAMES PACKARD: Most of those planned cruises are already booked. But it isn't enough to keep the industry afloat.

JOHN MORGENTHALER: I just waited and hoping that the cruise lines are right, that somehow the CDC would figure out a way that we can get back into business.

JAMES PACKARD: John Morgenthaler made a living booking cruise vacations from his office near West Palm Beach, Florida. Lately business has been so slow, he's had to start a new business as a handyman.

JOHN MORGENTHALER: I already had a base of clients through my clientele [INAUDIBLE].

JAMES PACKARD: A sign of the excruciating pace of travel recovery all hinging on a devastating, deadly crisis. James Packard, Newsy, Chicago.