Bet on “luxury travel” turned out to be a winner in the end – so eccentric British millionaire Richard Branson has commented on surviving the Covid and other troubles of his Virgin Group travel empire that seemed close to collapse. He is confident that luxury tourism will also help survive the cost of living crisis caused by inflation.
Coronavirus has stopped almost all the projects of this company: the debut of cruise ship operator Virgin Voyages was suspended, the fast-growing hotel chain Virgin was also forced to close. The launch of Virgin Galactic's space tourism arm was also delayed and Virgin Atlantic Airways' flagship brand suspended. Collapse seemed imminent.
However, the bet on luxury tourism turned out to be a boon. “Spending in this sector continues to rise amid economic turmoil. Those who can afford it stick to their vacation plans. And now that we've been through Covid, we're in a stronger position than perhaps some other companies,” the billionaire said in an interview. It is undeniable, he said, that some people “will face tremendous hardship and will not be able to afford to travel.” But in the luxury segment, there is enough pent-up demand from those who can.
“The strong growth in bookings for flights between the US and Europe, in particular, shows no sign of easing,” Mr Branson said. following the launch of London's Virgin Atlantic's last US route. According to him, the desire to fly after the pandemic is such that “if I were a predictor, I would say that the aviation industry has two or three good years ahead.”
At the same time, Branson added that Virgin Cruises “is in high demand” and the hospitality industry is “great”, with its largest hotel opening in New York in the next few months.
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