Why are ASX 200 travel shares down today?

Travel shares are coming in for descent today.

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Key points

  • Qantas, Webjet and Flight Centre shares are all falling
  • The European Union has taken Australia off its safe travel list
  • COVID-19 Omicron fears continue to impact travel

ASX 200 travel shares are falling today amid more fears about the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak in Australia.

At the time of writing, Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) shares are down 0.83%, Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX: QAN) is 1.95% lower and Webjet Ltd (ASX: WEB) shares have dropped 1.47%.

Let’s take a look at what might be causing ASX 200 travel shares to land in the red today.

Why are travel shares descending?

ASX 200 travel shares are back on the descent despite starting the week on a high. It seems investors could be reacting to news out of the European Union overnight.

Media reports suggested that Australia, Canada, and Argentina have all been removed from a European ‘safe travel’ list.

A release from the EU stated non-essential travel to countries not on its list should be subject to “temporary travel restriction”.

This, however, does not mean travel from Australia is banned. Each EU member state can make its own decision to follow the EU guidelines. The EU also said its list is “without prejudice” for its member countries to lift the restrictions for non-essential travel for people who are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 Omicron fears have been weighing on travel share sentiment for some time.

Today, Australia recorded 74 COVID-19 deaths. Victoria has also declared a “code brown” emergency today for public hospitals feeling the strain of rising COVID admissions coupled with Omicron-related staff shortages.

Today’s fall in ASX 200 travel shares comes after they finished in the green yesterday. Flight Centre gained 3.69%, Webjet climbed 2.65%, while Qantas jumped 2.6%. It seemed investors reacted positively to hope for eased border restrictions.

On Sunday, Flight Centre’s CEO Graham Turner declared Queensland’s international border could be the “beginning of the end” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Share price summary

The Flight Centre share price has performed the best of all the travel shares in the past year, soaring 17.86%. Meanwhile, Webjet has gained 10.66% in the past year while Qantas has climbed 4.37%.

By comparison, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has returned around 11% in the same time period.

In the past month, Flight Centre shares have risen 6.77%, Webjet shares are up 5.84%, while Qantas shares have gained 5.02%.

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The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Flight Centre Travel Group Limited and Webjet Ltd. 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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