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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Multiple indicators now show how pent-up travel demand is playing out, as the U.S. exits lockdown mode.

Why it matters: Close to half of all Americans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, enabling a growing economic recovery in the hard-hit travel and leisure sectors.

  • More than half of the 8 million jobs lost in leisure and hospitality in March and April last year have come back, with 331,000 jobs added in April this year alone. 

By the numbers: April bookings were up 11% compared with April 2019, according to data provided exclusively to Axios from American Express Travel.

  • Based on last month's figures, the vast majority of people are staying domestic — 87% — a trend consistent across age groups.
  • But 39% plan to travel internationally within the year. 
  • New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Charlotte, Denver, San Francisco and Phoenix are the top 10 U.S. destinations.
  • Sydney, Melbourne, London, Dubai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Paris top the list of international destinations.

The big picture: Pent-up demand for services is on the rise, and nearing the level of demand for goods.

  • Flight bookings grew 11% in March, inching closer to e-commerce spending, according to Adobe Analytics.
  • Flight bookings for this year's December holiday season were up 17% as of March, versus March 2019. Thanksgiving bookings are 9% higher, per Adobe.
  • But the more lucrative business travel segment may never fully recover, Booking.com CEO Glenn Fogel told Axios earlier this year.

What to watch: As leisure returns, concerns about worker shortages (and the cause) grow.

  • There were a record number of open jobs in the U.S. in March — with the highest postings for restaurant, bar, hotel, manufacturing, construction and retail positions.

Go deeper

Aug 3, 2021 - Health

Israel reinstates COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge

Elderly residents wait to receive their third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a medical center in Tel Aviv on Aug. 2. Photo: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Israel announced Tuesday it will tighten public health measures due to surging in COVID-19 case numbers.

Driving the news: The latest restrictions come as Israel saw nearly 4,000 new daily cases reported on Tuesday, the highest count so far since the country began experiencing an uptick last month, the AP reports.

20 hours ago - Health

America's pandemic pessimism returns

Data: Harris Poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

A majority of Americans now, once again, say the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, per new Harris polling provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: We took a brief hiatus from worrying about the pandemic, but the Delta variant and the response to it appear to have sent us back to a dark place.

24 hours ago - Sports

Greece's artistic swimming team to miss Olympics after COVID outbreak

Greece's Maria Alzigkouzi Kominea and Evangelia Papazogloun the Artistic Swimming Duet Free Routine Preliminary of the Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Aug. 2, 2021 in Japan. Photo" Clive Rose/Getty Images

Greece's entire 12-woman artistic swimming team is out of the Tokyo Olympic Games due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among the group.

Driving the news: Tokyo Games organizers confirmed Wednesday that five members of the Greek team had tested positive for the virus and that their teammates were considered close contacts.