Blog - Through the Kaleidoscope
Our latest blog post on expectations for roaming pick up post COVID-19


Kaleido has updated its global outbound and inbound tourism and roaming data hub, following the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first reported in Wuhan, China. Following the spread of the virus worldwide, reaching more than 200 countries and territories around the world as of April 2020 (was previously over 50 countries at the end of February 2019), the tourism industry is witnessing significant impact in terms of inbound and outbound travel.

Access the full report here here
UNWTO: 96% of global travel destinations have imposed restrictions.

COVID-19 Confirmed Countries: April 2020 Status

With hundreds of countries now imposing restrictions on general and ‘non-essential’ travel, as well as many closing borders with other countries, the global travel industry has effectively collapsed, with travel restrictions applied in:

  • 100% of Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East since January 2020;
  • 93% in Europe & Central Asia;
  • 92% in North America and Latin America & the Caribbean


Kaleido expects a global decline in travel numbers in 2020. Our early December 2019 projection for global international travel anticipated a 5% annual rise in border arrivals. Its latest projection, developed in early April 2020 with the assumption that many travel restrictions will be lifted by the end of the northern hemisphere’s summer, estimates a 45% fall in international travel volume, with only 826 million trips anticipated globally for 2020. This will indeed depend on any further travel impact in Q3 and Q4 2020 and also if there will be any further waves of Coronavirus this year.

COVID-19 Impact on Travel Trip Volume in 2020: April 2020 Update

In comparison to previous epidemic outbreaks such as SARS, the current scenario is expected to have a long-lasting impact on the global travel market: the latest forecast for global 2024 trip volume is expected to be 37%-46% below our December 2019 projection, depending on the recovery timescales. Indeed, airlines have stated that it will likely be ‘years’ before volumes return to normal.

Kaleido aims to provide the most realistic scenarios while taking into account government steps such as placing restrictions on inbound arrivals, travel and flight cancellations as reported by airlines and travel agencies, alongside any major event (sporting, conferences etc) cancellations around the world. Kaleido will continue to monitor the various scenarios across key markets around the world and will issue necessary updates over the next quarter.

Our travel recovery scenarios are primarily determined by 4 key factors:

  • Passenger and business traveller mentality to continue flying to global destinations;
  • Government travel legislation and regulation in place in 2021;
  • Level of global recession impacting the tourism sector; and finally,
  • Chance of the Coronavirus becoming seasonal.

Impact on mobile roaming traffic & revenues

Kaleido now expects the number of global mobile roamers to fall by 48% in 2020

This will indeed have a direct impact on global roaming traffic and revenues:

  • Kaleido estimates roaming data traffic to fall by 41% to reach 395 billion MBs in 2020, equivalent to 368 PB (Petabytes). This will translate into wholesale revenues between $2.7-$3 billion from data traffic, compared to nearly $5 billion in 2019.

More details on these estimates are available to Kaleido members.

  • In comparison, voice traffic will fall by 45% in 2020.
  • However, outbound roaming revenues are expected to fall by between 25-30% in 2020, with retail spend per roamer potentially increasing by active roamers in 2020

COVID-19 Impact on Roaming in 2020: April 2020 Update

Read more about the different scenarios and the impact on mobile roaming traffic and revenues and the respective 2024 outlook from our new report.

  • Scenario 1: Significant Fall in Travel Trips in 2020, Decline in 2021, Faster Growth from 2023 Onwards
  • Scenario 2: Significant Fall in Travel Trips in 2020, Slow Growth in 2021, Faster Growth from 2022 Onwards
  • Scenario 3: Significant Fall in Travel Trips in 2020, Full Recovery from 2021 Onwards, 2023 Volume to Reach Pre-COVID-19 Levels
Access the full report here here

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