Skift: March a ‘Turning Point’ for Recovery

April 21, 2021 | Claire Middleton, Contributing Editor

The latest edition of the Skift Recovery Index has placed the global travel industry at an index score of 53 for March 2021. The global average score, weighted based on tourism output per country, has breached the 50% mark, indicating that this month could prove to be a real turning point for the travel industry. 

Growth for Most Regions

All regions, with the exception of Latin America, reported positive growth during March.

For Europe performance remained muted, although some growth was observed and there’s potential for demand to pick up rapidly, as we saw during summer 2020. The U.S. performed particularly well this month, with North America registering a gain of 10 Index Points. This made it the second best performing country after Mexico, which is also reaping the benefits of the strong travel demand in the U.S.

Tale of Two Sides for LATAM

Latin America was the only region not to report growth this month, as the area tells a tale of two extremes. At the top end, Mexico gained almost 20 percentage points in March alone. Whereas at the other end of the scale Brazil showed the strongest drop in performance as new cases topped 70,000 daily in March, and more than 330,000 total deaths were recorded.

Ups and Downs in Europe

As well as Brazil, there were only two other countries that recorded a drop in performance in March - France and Italy - as they both entered strict, additional lockdowns. 

In contrast, Spain saw the strongest percentage growth of any European country, showing similarities to the strong increase seen in the United Kingdom, thanks to the continuing success of its vaccine rollout and staying on track with its roadmap out of restrictions and the reopening of the economy. 

U.S. Hoteliers Celebrate

In terms of hotel occupancy, the latest report shows how the U.S. accommodation sector is nearing a complete return to pre-pandemic levels, which is certainly cause for celebration. In March, U.S. hotel bookings jumped up to 85% of 2019 levels, and the number of passengers going through U.S. airports increased from 24 million in February to 38 million in March according to TSA numbers. Although it’s worth noting that there is still a way to go, there's clearly room for serious optimism this month. 


The Skift Recovery Index is a real-time measure of where the travel industry stands in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Index is compiled from data provided by industry leaders, including Amadeus, Duetto, OAG and Skyscanner, amongst others. Subscribe here: research.skift.com/recovery

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