As economies across the world pick up tempo after the COVID-19 pandemic, economic activities in Nigeria and Egypt seem to be taking off at a faster rate as travels and gasoline usage have peaked beyond the 2019 levels.
This is contained in a Post COVID-19 Recovery Insight by Mastercard. A statement issued by chief economist of MasterCard for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), Mr David Mann, noted that a rebound in ground travel and pick-up in domestic flight bookings showing encouraging signs.
“There are indicators of recovery across some markets in the Middle East and Africa, for example gas spending in Nigeria and Egypt are already above 2019 peaks. Global gasoline spending is up by 13 per cent from its previous peak in 2019. In Egypt and Nigeria, spendings at gas stations are already higher than their 2019 peaks, while in the UAE and in Kenya, they have equalised previous levels.
“Air travel remains down significantly globally, although the trajectory is upwards. In markets like the UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya, international flight bookings are climbing, but are still at a fraction of where they were before the pandemic began.”
Mann said that the report, developed by the MasterCard Economics Institute, drew on aggregated and anonymized sales’ activity across the global MasterCard network to better understand the next phase for travel, its drivers and challenges.
“The report includes the balance between leisure and business, local and long-distance, saving and spending. The report also looked at the spending categories seeing an uptick and the signal for travel recovery.
He said that global business travel lagged behind global leisure travel by approximately four months, adding that in the Middle East and Africa though, there was a closer correlation to leisure and business travel growth.
“The limited border reopenings have proven to be challenging for travellers and the travel industry alike. But select open corridors are showing partial recovery.” According to him, flights out of the Middle East and Africa are gradually improving, with intra-regional travel to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates most notable.
President of Data and Services of MasterCard , Mr Raj Seshadri, said the past year had only reinforced how important travel was – to our connection with friends, family and the broader world, to our business communities and for our personal fulfillment.
“The economic implications of tourism are vast, with virtually no industry untouched when travellers stay home. Through Recovery Insights, we have helped airlines redesign travel routes, retailers in rejigging inventory and cities understand shifts in neighborhood spending. It’s about enabling smarter decisions for better outcomes today and tomorrow,” he noted.