The ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry has caused Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) to relook at its global strategies, which are now far more focused on Southern hemisphere markets, including South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Prior to COVID-19, FCTG’s brands were pervasive in a number of markets around the world. While the travel giant reacted swiftly to the impact of the pandemic, closing down more than 50% of its global stores and implementing a 68,5% global cost reduction early on during lockdown, ongoing restrictions prompted a second wave of store closures which started in late 2020.
Travel News understands that this has had a heavier impact on the group’s Northern hemisphere operations, such as the UK, than its Southern hemisphere counterparts.
Confirming this strategy, FCTG outlines its global leisure vision in its latest financial statements as follows.
“Flight Centre in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand will be the most famous travel retail brand, with leading market share and the number-one customer choice for all travellers. Flight Centre in the Americas and UK will be famous as a brand servicing specialist segments of SME business travel, premium, groups and international vacations,” says the group.
FCTG md MEA, Andrew Stark, confirmed to Travel News that the group had pivoted more heavily toward its Southern hemisphere operations.
“We have always been market leaders in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, while in other markets, such as the UK, we were not major players. The shopping centre environments we operate in here and in Australia and New Zealand, work well for our business model. They are also more cost effective than the expensive ‘high street’ shopping environments in Europe. While our presence in South Africa will continue to focus on multiple sectors of the market through our various brands, our presence in markets such as the UK will now focus more specifically on corporate travel management solutions and high-end tailor-made leisure packages,” says Andrew.