Mastercard CEO Bullish on Travel Trends as Borders Open: ‘Tourists Are Arriving, and They're Spending'

Scott Mlyn | CNBC
  • Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach on Wednesday expressed optimism about global travel recovery.
  • "The trends are super encouraging" in a way that benefits the payments processor, he told CNBC's Jim Cramer.
  • "The power of travel is coming back," Miebach said.

Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach on Wednesday expressed optimism about global travel recovery, telling CNBC's Jim Cramer that the payments processor is benefiting already from a rise in cross-border volumes and sees more room to run.

In an interview on "Mad Money," Miebach noted it's only been two days since the U.S. lifted its strict coronavirus-related restrictions on international travelers, but already "tourists are arriving, and they're spending."

"The power of travel is coming back. It's coming back to our P&L," he said, referring to the company's profit-and-loss statement. "The trends are super encouraging."

The executive sees plenty of room for recovery in both leisure and business travel.

"I'll just give you one stat: 20% of the top markets around the world, from a cross-border perspective, are currently at 70% pre-pandemic volume. That's 30% upside," said Miebach, who took over as Mastercard CEO last year. "Then you take the U.S., U.K., and Canada, which are the largest markets where the borders only just opened this week, they're at 50%. That's all upside, because people will go out and travel."

A return to overseas spending — and fees related to those transactions — is important for Mastercard's business fully moving past the coronavirus pandemic's economic effects, even as Miebach stressed the strength of domestic purchases.

In addition to the U.S. recently rolling back entry restrictions, Miebach said it's still in the "very early days" for the travel recovery across Asia, as well.

Mastercard shares rose 3.87% Wednesday. The company held an investor day earlier Wednesday, where it unveiled performance objectives for 2022 through 2024 that contained faster earnings and revenue growth.

Shares of Mastercard are basically flat year to date.


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