A recent IATA poll of travelers revealed growing confidence in a return to air travel, frustration with current travel restrictions, and acceptance of a travel app to manage health credentials for travel.

Travel Restrictions

  • 88% believe that when opening borders, the right balance must be struck between managing COVID-19 risks and getting the economy going again
  • 85% believe that governments should set COVID-19 targets, such as testing capacity or vaccine distribution to re-open borders
  • 84% believe that COVID-19 will not disappear, and we need to manage its risks while living and traveling normally
  • 68% agreed that their quality of life has suffered with travel restrictions
  • 49% believe that air travel restrictions have gone too far

Though there is public support for travel restrictions, it is becoming clear that people are feeling more comfortable with managing the risks of COVID-19. People are also feeling frustrated with the loss of freedom to travel, with 68% of respondents indicating their quality of life is suffering as a result. Travel restrictions come with health, social and economic consequences. Nearly 40% of respondents reported mental stress and missing an important human moment as a result of travel restrictions. And over a third have said that restrictions prevent them from doing business normally.

“The top priority of everybody at the moment is staying safe amid the COVID-19 crisis,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “But it is important that we map a way to being able to re-open borders, manage risks and enable people to get on with their lives. That includes the freedom to travel. It is becoming clear that we will need to learn to live and travel in a world that has COVID-19. Given the health, social and economic costs of travel restrictions, airlines should be ready to re-connect the world as soon as governments are able to re-open borders. That’s why a plan with measurable milestones is so critical. Without one, how can we be prepared for restart without an unnecessary delay?”
 

Future Travel Trends

  • 57% expect to be traveling within two months of the pandemic being contained (improved from 49% in September 2020)
  • 72% want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible (improved from 63% in September 2020)
  • 81% believe that they will be more likely to travel once they are vaccinated
  • 84% said they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at destination (largely unchanged from 83% in September 2020)
  • 56% believe that they will postpone travel until the economy stabilizes (improved from 65% in September 2020)

These survey responses show that people are becoming more confident to travel. There are some headwinds, however. There are indications that the pick-up in business travel will take time, for example, with 62% of respondents saying they are likely to travel less for business even after the virus is contained. That is, however, a significant improvement from the 72% recorded in September 2020. 

“People want to get back to travel, but quarantine is the showstopper,” said de Juniac. “As testing capacity and technology improves and the vaccinated population grows, the conditions for removing quarantine measures are being created. And this points us again towards working with governments for a well-planned re-opening as soon as conditions allow.”

 

Credit | iStock
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