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Although there is an eagerness among Uruguayans to travel abroad during the July holidays, the number of seats available on flights to some Destinationsthey assure from the travel agencies. At the same time, ticket prices are more expensive than they were before the pandemic. In addition, the business sector tells what are the places that Uruguayans are looking to enjoy during the license.
“The number of inquiries is almost at pre-pandemic level, but that doesn’t mean people will or can travel.” There cannot be the same level of concretions as before due to a lower offer of flights, the vice president of the Uruguayan Association of Travel agency (Audavi) and general manager of Hiperviajes, Fernando Riva.
Along these lines, the CEO of knock KnockAndrés Gil explained that “the supply of seats available for sale in Uruguay is 60% of the level in the months prior to the pandemic.” There is “a lot of demand and little supply, and prices go up and those who can or are willing to pay those tickets, which are defined by the airlines, travel.”
The businessman indicated that “there are more people who want to travel than the available seats” and the July vacations are the moment where this problem is most manifested, just as it happened in the Tourism week and will happen in the September vacations.
“The industry is recovering but not much beyond 60% as more seats than available cannot be sold. It is a reality that has its nuances by markets. There are markets that are worse off and others that are better served”. In the first group are the “regional markets such as Brazil, ArgentinaChile and Peru, where the difference between the current available supply and that of the pre-pandemic is greater. In the second, that is, where the gap “is not that big” are the United States, the Caribbean and, to a lesser extent, Europe.
The CEO of TocToc assured that they would be selling “much more” if the airlines had a greater number of flights for the July holidays, and “even if they had more planes to make charter flights.” The current situation means “what can be sold is sold, and people travel where they can travel. Going to Europe in July is crazy. The flights are directly full or the prices are opera because it is already sold. Now there is something left from the United States, something from the Caribbean, something from Argentina, but there are really few places.”
Jetmar’s commercial manager, Camilo Papa, said that for these July holidays what is moving the most is Europe, the Caribbean, the United States and Brazil. For Europe, flights are “particularly expensive” due to the lower supply and “very high occupancy.” However, it is the “month par excellence” for this continent.
In the case of the Caribbean, Cancun and Punta Cana are in the lead. They have a “lot of queries and destinations that are sold.” Towards the north, within the United States, for what they receive the most inquiries are Florida with Miami and Orlando and New York. Regarding Brazil, he said that a “highly requested” destination for which they have a charter is El Salvador.
For his part, Gil affirmed that “there are no radical changes” in the preferences of destinations for these dates, and explained: “In July people basically choose two paths: they go in search of heat and there the options are the Caribbean, the United States , Europe, and the northeast of Brazil. Or choose the cold and snow, and there are the traditional ones like Bariloche, the south of Argentina like Calafate” and, in that country, also Buenos Aires.
At the same time, he indicated that “in regional traffic is where the difficulty of lack of supply is most noticeable.” In “some cases the available offer, for example, in the northeast of Brazil, is very little” because the airlines did not recover their offer. For its part, in Argentina, before there were six weekly frequencies between Montevideo and Buenos Aires and now there are two flights. And those trips are used to connect with internal travel within the country, he noted.
Riva said that in the consultations of the Uruguayans, destinations such as the Caribbean and the United States are maintained, and “Brazil has been reactivated quite a bit, especially what has to do with the northeast. Europe, although it is expensive, the Uruguayan is always looking at it. Another that has been reactivated is Argentina due to the exchange rate. For the winter holidays, what is snow: Bariloche, Calafate and Ushuaia; and Buenos Aires is always a destination that is in demand and has increased”.
Traveling is between 20% and 30% more expensive compared to the pre-pandemic, Riva said, and indicated that “fundamentally what has increased the most is the United States in terms of services, hotels, among others, and flights to Europe.”
In general terms, the tickets are more expensive. Audavi’s vice president indicated that there are two phenomena that explain the situation. One is the lack of supply of tickets and the other is the increase in the price of oil at the international level.
On the other hand, Gil said that there was an effort by the travel agencies to “generate charter flights because the offer of regular flights was limited” and they could not “get many planes”, and explained: “Airlines do not have planes to earmark for charter operations. In this modality, the one that assumes the risk is the agency, unlike the regular operation. Here you pay for a plane and you run the risk of it being sold or not. Even with that willingness to do it, it is very difficult for airlines to get planes because they have their fleets and crews reduced.
The CEO of TocToc referred to the difference between the speed of reactivation of the number of flights by airlines and the demand for tickets. He explained that the “reconstitution of supply is measured in quarters” and is a “process that takes time” while the willingness to travel in seconds is a “spark”.
“We are at a time of mismatch between supply and demand in which the market is creaking. Obviously this is going to take a while and it will recover, and probably in Uruguay it will recover a little slower than other markets simply because it is not of the first order for the airlines, ”he added.