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Mastercard finds signs of travel recovery in Middle East and Africa

The Mastercard Economics Institute used data from aggregated sales activity to analyse markets

Developed by the Mastercard Economics Institute, the report titled “Recovery Insights: Ready for Takeoff?” used aggregated sales activity across the global Mastercard network to identify the existing challenges and opportunities for recovery. The report also identified the spending categories enjoying an increase and what the results imply for the future of the travel sector in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

Commenting on the findings, Mastercard chief economist, Asia and MEA, David Mann said: “There are indicators of recovery across some markets in the Middle East & Africa. For example, gas spending in Nigeria and Egypt are already above 2019 peaks. Although we still have some way to go amid ongoing uncertainty, there is an appetite among consumers to move and discover. Alongside the safe, systematic opening of markets and continued momentum in vaccine rollouts, countries will start to see more signs of gradual travel recovery.”

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Back on the Road: Travel Trends
Increased gasoline consumption across the region indicated that road trips, one of last year’s travel trends, are here to stay. In addition, although air travel is still a fraction of what it was before the pandemic began, in markets including the UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya, international flight bookings are climbing.

The report also found that though limited border re-openings have proven to be challenging for travellers, select travel corridors are showing partial recovery and flights out of the Middle East and Africa are growing in popularity.

Mastercard president of data and services Raj Seshadri explained: “The past year has only reinforced how important travel is to our connection with friends, family and the broader world; to our business communities; and to our personal fulfilment. The economic implications of tourism are vast, with virtually no industry untouched when travellers stay home. Through Recovery Insights, we’ve helped airlines redesign travel routes, retailers rejig inventory, and cities understand shifts in neighbourhood spending. It’s about enabling smarter decisions for better outcomes today and tomorrow.”

Mastercard launched the report in order to provide data-driven insights and analytics to businesses and governments to help them better understand ever-changing consumer spending trends and how to address them.

To download the full report click here

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