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John Guscic, CEO of Webjet, supports implementation of enhanced consumer safeguards for the tourism and travel sectors.

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Webjet expects its full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to increase to between $180 million and $190 million, about 15 per cent above 2019.

Guscic said the “stonking result” was driven by a major cost-cutting program the business implemented in COVID-19 to streamline its technology and eliminate inefficiency across its travel booking, hotel and motorhome businesses.

Although Webjet and its hotels division Webbeds performed strongly over the half, motorhomes division GoSee is yet to return to pre-pandemic growth. GoSee’s $11m in revenue over the half was 30 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

Guscic said GoSee’s lagging results were due to the sustained lack of inbound tourists into Australia and New Zealand, a hangover from COVID-19 and reduced airline capacity.

“Inbound tourism is still severely hampered beyond visiting friends and families on short-term trips…the travellers who want to spend three weeks in a motorhome are yet to come back to the market,” Guscic said.

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The booking boss said he expected the travel industry to remain resistant to cost of living pressures over the next couple of years, arguing travel was no longer considered a discretionary item, but an essential service.

“Travel is up in every major market, future bookings by every major player are up. Every hotel chain, airline and global travel agency are all predicting growth in the next six months, so we’re not seeing a slowdown anywhere,” Gusic said.

But he did stress the way people travel has shifted. Customers have tended to book their travel later in the piece, and travel more frequently but for shorter periods.

UBS’ Tim Plumbe told clients the result was solid.

“Earnings beat [consensus forecasts] driven by stronger business to business bookings,” he said and added the cashflow generation over the half was “very strong.”

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