Why these ASX 200 travel shares are flying this Monday

Australia may be about to open up, and investors might be sensing an opportunity.

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Brokers favorite ASX share COVID reopening trade buyA woman standing on a tarmac celebrates a plane lifting off, indicating rising share price in ASX travel companies

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ASX 200 travel shares like Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) and Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) are soaring this morning.

At the time of writing, shares in Australia’s national carrier are trading for $5.85 (up 3.72%) and shares in the travel agency are $21.50 (up 8.64%).

The catalyst for today’s rocketing prices in the industry seems to be renewed optimism that Australia is about to open up and come out of this pandemic.

Let’s take a closer look.

‘Learn to live with COVID’

These are the words of Prime Minister Scott Morrison when asked about Australia’s plans to open up at the end of last month. The ASX 200 has taken a hit during this latest delta outbreak but it seems things may be starting to change.

Australians have seemingly heeded the Prime Minister’s words. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia has one of the highest vaccination uptake rates in the world.

This morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian released her plans to open up her state once 80% of its residents are fully vaccinated. Community sport will return, intrastate travel will resume, and outdoor entertainment (such as concerts and sports) will see audiences return to a 75% capacity limit.

Last week, Victoria released its plan to exit lockdown once the state hits 80% of its residents double-dosed. Pubs, restaurants, and hair salons will reopen at that benchmark. Schools will also reopen.

It must be stressed that in Australia’s 2 largest states, these returning freedoms will only be for those who are fully immunised against the virus.

All this is pointing towards a nation that is, seemingly, learning to live with the virus. This optimism may be oozing through to ASX 200 travel shares.

Politicians are strongly indicating international travel will return with hotel quarantine to be significantly scaled back in favour of home quarantine.

As The Motley Fool’s own Scott Phillips says, share prices are more a function of expectations than results. ASX 200 travel shares are still not at their pre-COVID levels.

Qantas, Flight Centre, and Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) shares, despite surging today, are still lower now than they were before the pandemic began. Investors may be expecting this situation to change soon.

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Motley Fool contributor Marc Sidarous owns shares of Qantas Airways Limited. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Webjet Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Flight Centre Travel Group Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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