IHG Hotels & Resorts has reported an operating profit of US$188 million for the first half of the year.

While this is a sharp improvement on the loss of US$233 million reported for the first half of 2020, the figure remains down by more than half when compared to the same period of 2019.

The company said it had seen a “significant improvement” in demand over the course of the first six months of the year, as the recovery from Covid-19 continued.

However, while global RevPAR was up by 20 per cent when compared to last year, levels again remain 43 per cent those seen during the first half of 2019.

Revenue for the first six months of the year stood at US$565 million, up 16 per cent from the US$488 million recorded for the same period last year.

Keith Barr, chief executive of IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “Trading improved significantly during the first half of 2021, with travel demand returning strongly as vaccines roll out, restrictions ease, and economic activity rebuilds.

“It has been great to see our teams welcome more and more guests back into our hotels, with domestic leisure bookings leading the way, particularly in the US and China.

“Essential business travel was a key element of our resilience throughout the pandemic, and we are now seeing more group activity and corporate bookings start to come back.

“These trends and the momentum in the business have continued in recent weeks, including in EMEAA where a lifting of travel restrictions in some markets is also now driving improvements in demand.”

He added: “We opened 132 hotels in the half and signed 203, both sizeable increases on last year.”