Post-Pandemic Travel – An Industry Bounces Back

While Covid-19 has impacted every business across the globe, few sectors have been hit as hard as the travel industry. Due to public health measures, such as lock downs and tourism restrictions, travel around the world nearly came to a standstill. As we enter the summer holiday season, we’re excited to share that travel industry trends indicate the industry is bouncing back. Both the payments and fraud industries have a huge opportunity to protect consumers as this vital industry takes off.

First, let’s look at the data:

  • According to our partners ACI Worldwide’s eCommerce Fraud Index, there has been an explosion of purchasing in both travel and ticketing, increasing by 54% in the second half of 2021 compared to the same time in 2020.
  • Mastercard’s Travel 2022: Trends & Transition Report also shows that both leisure and flight bookings now surpass pre-pandemic levels – a key milestone for the travel industry.
  • People are also starting to travel farther from home, according to Mastercard’s research. Long-haul leisure travel shot up as well, just -7% below pre-pandemic levels by the end of April.

Simply put, consumers across the globe are eager to travel again.


As interest in travel rises, opportunities for fraudsters are sky high. According to ACI’s numbers, compared to the previous year, travel fraud attempt rates were up 3% and ticketing was up 2.1% in the latter half of 2021. With fluctuating restrictions in different regions, many consumers have less lead time to plan. These spur-of-the-moment ticket purchases make it difficult for merchants to identify and prevent fraud before a person transacts.

As ACI warns, customers and merchants without sophisticated protection are increasingly more vulnerable to fraud. Merchant losses to online payments fraud expect to hit $206 billion between 2021 and 2025.  Fraudsters are evolving their tactics. According to the Merchant Risk Council Global Fraud Report, the most prevalent forms of payment fraud shifted significantly since 2019. Card testing and friendly fraud (when the consumer requests a chargeback from their bank after receiving a purchased product) are now the most common fraud tactics impacting merchants.


For industry merchants that weren’t furloughed during the initial stages of the pandemic, the sudden stop in day-to-day activities allowed them the opportunity to “get to work.” Tweaking, rewriting, and rebuilding their rules-based symptoms from scratch,  merchants who evolved their approach to fraud experience lower chargeback rates now than pre-pandemic.

For others, there’s an opportunity now to invest in fraud prevention platforms. Fraud prevention platforms both streamline the consumer experience and reduce risk for the merchant. We’re seeing merchants across the board invest in sophisticated platforms to keep pace with fraud and consumers’ rising expectations.

As travel resumes and merchants adapt, ensuring merchants protect their consumers’ identities while providing seamless experiences is critical. To better understand how Ekata & ACI Worldwide helps transform your risk management program, please contact us today.

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