How Do You Feel About Travel This Summer? Demand vital shifts in attitudes and behaviour.

How Do You Feel About Travel This Summer?
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The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought travellers uncertainty and turbulence, masks and restrictions, mental stress and fears, closures and bans, cancelled travel plans, new ways of working and connecting, vaccines and vaccination skeptics. It has hopefully ignited difficult questions and uncomfortable conversations among travellers and demand for a vital shift in attitudes and behaviour towards more rigorous sustainability in travel and tourism with accountability and transparency.

Exploring global sentiments towards travel, a leading data and insights consultancy – Kantar – asked 7,796 people in US, UK, France, Germany, India, Singapore, Mainland China and Brazil about their pre-pandemic, current and future travel plans, as well as feelings towards travel during turbulent times. The online research was published in a Community Report with key findings revealed here.

How frequently were people travelling last year?

Globally, just under half (48%) of people interviewed report to have had a holiday or vacation (that involved travelling) in 2020. Just under 1 in 4 (23%) have had one holiday or vacation. The highest was seen in France (32%) and China (29%). Singaporeans have travelled the least with 4 out of 5 (80%) not having had a holiday or vacation in the past 12 months, followed by the UK (68%) and Germany (61%).

Are people planning to travel for holidays this year?

Globally, 65% of respondents have a holiday or vacation planned in the coming year. Four out of 5 in Mainland China report to have made plans whilst just over half of UK and Singaporean respondents have planned holidays in the next 12 months.

Of those who do have plans in the next 12 months, 64% of these are rescheduled holidays or vacations due to the pandemic causing them to change their original plans. French respondents have the highest number of newly planned holidays at 53%.

Where do people intend on holidaying next?

Three quarters of travel plans for the next year are domestic. This is highest for Mainland China (93%), Brazil (87%) and the US (85%). Whilst borders remained closed in Singapore at the time of interviewing respondents, Singaporeans report the highest intention of overseas travel in the next 12 months at 65%. Air travel is reported to be the most frequented mode of travel transportation in the coming year at 45% globally (24% domestic and 21% internationally). This is closely followed by car at 42%, with 39% being for domestic travel plans.

Do business travellers have travel plans over the next six months?

46% have work travel planned in the coming six months. This is highest for Chinese (68%) and Indian (57%) respondents with French (53%) respondents also predicting a ramp up in their business travel plans. Travel plans for the next six months currently remain lowest in the UK (27%) and Singapore (29%).

Are people supportive of vaccine passports?

Globally, 70% of respondents support a vaccine passport – documentation to prove that a person has received a coronavirus vaccine – for international travel this year. Eight out of 10 respondents in India, China and Brazil are in support and seven out of 10 in Singapore and the UK. Respondents in the US and Germany are most opposed to the Vaccine Passport idea, at almost a third.

What concerns will people have regarding travel post-pandemic?

 Looking ahead to after the pandemic, the greatest concern for people, reported by 36% respondents, is being stranded if further lockdown restrictions are re-introduced whilst they are travelling. These concerns are gravest for Chinese (49%), Singaporean (45%) and French (41%) respondents.

The secondary concern is needing to have had the vaccination and/or be tested for COVID-19 to travel, 36% globally and highest in Brazil and Singapore (41%).

Whilst price inflation is a concern for 28% of those surveyed, the US is the only country to report price inflation as their primary concern. 34% of US respondents have concerns over price-inflation, compared to a low of 16% in Germany and China.

Overall Brazil and Singapore have the highest level of concern, with only 3% of respondents reporting they have no concerns when it comes to travel after restrictions are lifted. The least concern is in the US with 19% of respondents stating they don’t have concerns.

View Kantar’s May 2021 Community Report – Connecting with Travel Enthusiasts HERE.

Several itmustbeNOW features in Our Big Questions during difficult times in the last year called for difficult questions and uncomfortable conversations.

Coronavirus can change the travel industry for the better if it triggers bold change in attitudes and behaviours.

What conscious traveller wanted in 2020 remains the same in 2021 and more.

Regenerative tourism is better and smarter as part of a rigorous sustainability commitment and if we can leave places better than we find them.

Travellers and the tourism industry are looking ahead anxiously at a new normal filled with more uncertainty and global restrictions that yo-yo as Covid-19 mutates rapidly, severely and destructively at a faster pace than countries are able to distribute and vaccinate its residents. 

Covid-19 and climate emergencies have taught us that the long term solution is in respecting, restoring and protecting the natural world, and understanding that people need nature, but nature doesn’t need people.

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